Advocates for more regulation by federal agencies over the auto finance industry and other financial services providers might describe the latest executive order by President Trump as “one step forward and two steps back.”

The White House released the latest order involving regulations on Monday, saying that whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes a new regulation, that department also must identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.

“It is the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources,” the executive order said beneath the purpose heading. “In addition to the management of the direct expenditure of taxpayer dollars through the budgeting process, it is essential to manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with federal regulations. 

“Toward that end, it is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process,” the order continued.

The order, which is available here, also said that for fiscal year 2017 that’s currently ongoing that the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year should be no greater than zero, unless otherwise required by law or consistent with advice provided in writing by the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Regulatory moves like this one by Trump were predicted at least to a degree during last week’s Vehicle Finance Conference hosted by the American Financial Services Association. During a nearly hour-long panel discussion, two experts faced the difficult challenge of trying to project what this administration might do in terms of how finance companies to navigate regulatory oversight and potential changes.

“Watch the media because we know this administration is all about the media,” said Frank Salinger, who now operates his own firm, Public Policy Law Practice, but also served with AFSA during the 1980s.

Moments later, Mark Calabria, who is director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, added his thoughts. Before joining Cato in 2009, he spent six years as a member of the senior professional staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“We just don’t know yet with this administration whether it’s going to be populist, open market and pro-business. How it’s going to balance out is not clear,” Calabria said. “He’s a Republican, some might say not much of one, but he’s a Republican. What you see is not necessarily what you’re going to get out of the White House.

“Just as Trump has gone on Twitter and beat up on companies, I would see no reason to think any industry or agency would be exempt from that,” Calabria added.

The regulatory moves coming out of the White House on Monday arrived a little more than a week after Trump took his first action soon after being inaugurated. Reince Priebus, who is assistant to Trump and his chief of staff, released a memorandum that contained the subject line “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” to outline six specific steps the heads of executive departments and agencies are to follow, including the halt of new regulatory actions for at least 60 days.

Two members of the legal team at Mayer Brown took a deeper look at what Priebus outlined and partner Laurence Platt associate Joy Tsai explained their findings through this blog post.

Platt and Tsai said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Securities and Exchange Commission are classified as “independent regulatory agencies” and may be excluded from that moratorium.

“Financial services companies that hoped for immediate regulatory relief when the Trump administration assumed control may have to wait a bit longer, because the newly announced freeze on federal regulations does not appear to apply across the board,” Platt and Tsai said.

“Although the memorandum appears sweeping in scope, banks and other financial service providers are not necessarily relieved from new regulations, as the regulatory freeze does not appear to apply to independent agencies,” they continued.

“However, the CFPB and other independent agencies remain subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, which provides that an agency must not conduct information collection activities without the prior approval of the Office of Management and Budget director. This means that while the Office of Management and Budget may not be able to prevent an independent agency from issuing a new rule, it can stop the agency from requiring the public to submit filings to comply with the rule,” they went on to say.

“It is too soon to tell if any particular ‘independent regulatory agency’ believes that it is exempt from the freeze or, even if it is, it nevertheless will honor the memorandum’s spirit,” Platt and Tsai added.

Meanwhile back at the Vehicle Finance Conference, AFSA executive vice president Bill Himpler recapped a published report by The Wall Street Journal that quoted CFPB director Richard Cordray. Himpler noted the Cordray reportedly said when discussing the order associated with the 60-day moratorium that, “We believe the congressional mandate to protect consumers outweighs the executive order by president.”

Himpler asked the gathering in New Orleans, “How many of you think that got the attention of the president? I think it will be very interesting to see how that plays out.”

Editor’s note: More of the dialogue from the regulatory panel discussion during the Vehicle Finance Conference will be included in future reports from SubPrime Auto Finance News.