Cordray resignation prompts wide-ranging reactions

 In News

After 70 contentious months as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray announced on Wednesday that he will step down from the post at the end of November.

Cordray was appointed head of the bureau by President Obama and took office in January 2012, following passage in 2010 of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the administration’s response to the 2007–2008 financial crisis.

The appointment was met with strong opposition by members of Congress who objected to the unfettered power the CFPB, which does not operate within a budget and whose director does not answer to any government branch.

Unsurprisingly, reaction to Cordray’s resignation was mixed.

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement saying that:

For some time, the CFPB has been a problem. Therefore, it’s high time that changes be made. With a leadership structure of dubious constitutionality, jurisdiction ill-defined but expansively seized, and a policy orientation that sews [sic] more chaos than settles expectations, it’s fitting that Mr. Cordray has decided to step down. We thank him for his service, but look confidently to the President to make the right choice in a replacement. I stand at the ready to assist in the legislative efforts which may well accompany new leadership at the Agency.

Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, issued a more laudatory statement:

Under Rich Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB returned $12 billion in relief to more than 29 million Americans who were victims of predatory financial schemes. All Americans owe him a debt of gratitude. The White House has said it wants to stand up for the middle class. If that’s true, the President must nominate a successor who will put working people ahead of Wall Street.

Rob Nichols, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, issued a measured statement:

While we haven’t always agreed with Director Corday [sic] on issues, we have always shared his goal of wanting to help consumers and appreciated his willingness to engage with us. Consumers are our customers, and nothing is more important to America’s banks than maintaining their trust and confidence. We will continue to work with the CFPB under its new leadership to ensure consumers have access to the increasing variety of credit and financial tools they demand, with the full protections they deserve.

It is widely expected that President Trump will a more business- and financial institution-friendly successor to Cordray.

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