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On Tuesday, Sept. 6 the US Senate is set to begin hearings on the confirmation of President Obama’s choice of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and The Washington Public Interest Research Group (WashPIRG) is calling on Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for their support of this outstanding nominee. Until the Senate acts or the President makes a recess appointment, the new CFPB does not gain its full authority to protect consumers, service-members and seniors from unfair practices by banks, payday lenders and other financial firms.
As Attorney General of Ohio, Richard Cordray was known as a strong, but fair, enforcer who worked on a non-partisan basis to protect the people of Ohio. His nomination has been praised by former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, who defeated him in 2010. In a recent floor speech, Senator Sherrod Brown noted that Cordray also “worked closely with Ohio banks, which are supporting his nomination to advocate the Consumer Protection Bureau because he played it straight and fair.”
Deceptive and abusive mortgage lending – allowed to continue by the existing regulators – was a fundamental cause of the financial crisis, and of the worst recession since the Great Depression. In response, Congress created the CFPB so we American consumers will have a cop on the beat with fair play and the public interest as its first priority.
The CFPB is intended to be independent enough to be effective while at the same time being accountable to the American people, to Congress, the judiciary, and the President. Unfortunately, it is currently more constrained – by oversight from other regulators and by special review by small business representatives – than any other financial agency.
For the CFPB to gain its full authority to protect consumers, it needs a Director to be confirmed by the US Senate. General Cordray has been fair to banks and other firms that play fair, but a tough enforcer to those that do not. It is time for the Senate to set politics aside and put consumers, service-members, students and seniors first. We urge our senators to vote to confirm Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as soon as possible.
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