Richard Cordray, one of the few remaining Obama-era banking regulators, said Wednesday that he plans to step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the end of the month, clearing the way for President Trump to remake a watchdog agency loathed by Republicans and Wall Street.

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Cordray

Cordray’s decision comes just a month after the CFPB suffered a major rebuke from Republicans in Congress, who took the unusual step of blocking an agency rule that would have allowed consumers to sue their banks for the first time. Cordray appealed to Trump directly not to sign the legislation, but was rebuffed.

“As I have said many times, but feel just as much today as I ever have, it has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the consumer bureau by working alongside all of you here,” Cordray said in a message to employees. “I trust that new leadership will see that value also and work to preserve it – perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country.”

Republicans had become increasingly exasperated that Cordray, whose term does not end until next summer, had not stepped down and that the agency continued to issue aggressive rules disliked by the business community. Trump has on at least two occasions griped about Cordray in private and wondered what to do about his tenure, according to two financial industry executives who attended the meetings.

With Cordray’s departure, the aggressive regulatory structure put in place by the Obama administration in the wake of the global financial crisis has been nearly entirely replaced. The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been replaced by a former Wall Street lawyer, and the Senate is moving to approve Trump’s pick to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, another important banking regulator. The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Martin Gruenberg, has said he will step down at the end of the month.

Rolling back regulations has been a cornerstone of the Trump administration, which says excessive rulemaking strangles economic growth. Congress has struggled to deliver sweeping regulatory relief to the industry, although this week, Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced a bipartisan deal to free dozens of large financial institutions from some of the most rigorous regulations put in place after the global financial crisis.

Still, industry experts say, the most efficient way to remake the rules is through appointing new regulators who can change an agency’s focus, tone and priorities. Cordray’s departure “will complete the Team Trump takeover of the regulatory agencies. It should mean by summer there are Republicans running all of the banking agencies,” said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Cowen and Co.’s Washington Research Group.

The transformation coming for the CFPB could be significant. The agency was one of the central achievements of the Obama administration after the 2008 financial crisis. Created under 2010’s financial reform bill, known as Dodd Frank, it regulates the way banks and other financial companies interact with consumers, policing everything from payday loans to mortgages. It has extracted billions in fines from big banks, including $100 million from Wells Fargo last year for opening millions of sham accounts that customers didn’t ask for.

The agency has been controversial among Republicans since its inception. Critics complain that CFPB has made it more difficult for people to get a mortgage loan and has overstepped its power to regulate some industries, including auto loans.

Within minutes of Cordray’s public announcement, one of the CFPB’s staunchest critics, Republicans were particularly frustrated that the CFPB continued to issue new rules over the last year despite the Trump administration’s focus on loosening regulations to spur economic growth. Last month, for example, the agency finalized wide-ranging rules targeting the billions of dollars in fees collected by payday lenders offering high-cost, short-term loans. The rules would radically reshape the industry and even “restrict” the industry’s revenue by two-thirds, according to the CFPB.

The industry and Republicans in Congress called the rules excessive. “We didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Director Cordray, and in particular with his actions, which turned the bureau into a highly partisan agency,” said Dennis Shaul, chief executive of the Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents payday lenders.

The group hopes Trump will appoint a replacement who “will listen to customers rather than special interests,” he said.

Under new Republican leadership, the agency is likely to focus less on writing new rules for the financial industry or extracting big fines, industry experts say. Instead, it may work more closely with the banking industry, they said. The CFPB has been working on rules concerning debt collectors and bank overdraft fees, which are likely to stall, said industry officials.

Cordray “held big banks accountable. He is a dedicated public servant and a tireless watchdog for American consumers, and he will be missed,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who helped established the bureau. “The new director of the CFPB must be someone with a track record of protecting consumers and holding financial firms responsible when they cheat people. This is no place for another Trump-appointed industry hack.”