The surprise announcement that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will leave his post by the end of the month has clouded the future of the federal consumer finance watchdog and its leadership. Questions about President Donald Trump's power to name an acting director for the bureau rather than simply allowing the bureau's current deputy director to hold the spot have already reared their head.

That has led some to speculate that the CFPB could face the kinds of questions of legitimacy that existed when Cordray was serving in an acting director capacity prior to his Senate confirmation in 2013. "I think it casts a cloud over any actions that are taken by whoever the acting director is," said Alan Kaplinsky, the co-leader of Ballard Spahr LLP's consumer financial services group. "It will be similar to the situation we faced when Obama appointed Cordray during a recess appointment until the Senate actually confirmed Cordray. It's déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say."

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