Winds of change are blowing in Washington, D.C. The election of Republican Donald J. Trump as president, combined with a Republican-controlled U.S. House and Senate has the potential to usher in widespread change, and much of it could affect the payments industry. As eventful as 2016 was, it might pale in comparison with 2017.

While Congressional Republicans have moved quickly to include amendments that would repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act through budget resolutions—making them filibuster-proof—there's some uncertainty around how fast and how far all of Trump's reforms will go. However, with so many Republicans in Congress and one in the Oval Office, 2017 and beyond could be a good time for business—and the payments industry in particular—especially if it leads to regulatory relief.

Many in the industry feel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) goal is to eliminate arbitration, leaving class action or expensive individual lawsuits as consumers' primary method of recompense. Rumors sprang up that the CFPB would publish a final rule on arbitration before President-elect Trump takes the oath of office on Jan. 20 to make the rule harder to undo, but that seems less likely with each passing day. "It is beginning to look like the CFPB will not finalize the arbitration rule before the inauguration," Alan S. Kaplinsky, partner, Ballard Spahr LLP, tells PayBefore. "We're getting close to Jan. 20 and nothing has happened. And, why would Director Cordray want to pick a fight right now? He wants to hold onto his job. If he were to do something right now, it would be like waving a red cape in front of a bull," Kaplinsky adds. Cape or not, it may be difficult for Cordray to stay at the helm of the CFPB.