When the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins operations on July 21 it will be a headless wonder, albeit one with lots of clout. At press time, President Obama hadn't named a permanent director for the CFPB. However, that won't prevent the bureau from issuing regulations and examining certain large financial institutions.

The bureau, an independent agency housed inside the Federal Reserve, has already begun laying the groundwork for how it plans to exercise its responsibilities. It will be enforcing rules currently enforced by seven federal agencies, including the NCUA.

There are, however, limits.

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