President Obama announced today he will nominate Richard Cordray as the first director of the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that officially opens for business this Thursday.
“American families and consumers bore the brunt of the financial crisis and are still struggling in its aftermath to find jobs, stay in their homes, and make ends meet. That is why I fought so hard to pass reforms to fix the financial system and put in place the strongest consumer protections in our nation’s history. Richard Cordray has spent his career advocating for middle class families, from his tenure as Ohio’s Attorney General, to his most recent role as heading up the enforcement division at the CFPB and looking out for ordinary people in our financial system.”
The CFPB was created last year with the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of the 2008 recession. The CFPB will be an independent agency tasked with being a watchdog for American consumers, ensuring they have the best information to make financial choices that are best for themselves and prevents abuse and deceptive financial practices.
Since being created by law last year, the CFPB has already made progress for consumers in a number of areas, according to a statement released by the White House:
- Credit Cards. CFPB is pushing credit card providers to simplify their forms in order to make sure consumers can better understand the fees and costs associated with credit. Credit cards are the most commonly used form of consumer credit. Almost two out of three families now have at least one credit card, and almost half of all families carry a balance. As of July 21, 2011, CFPB will assume responsibility for enforcing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act), signed by the President in 2009
- Mortgage Disclosures — “Know Before You Owe.” CFPB has launched an effort to simplify the forms that consumers receive when they shop for a mortgage so they have easy-to-understand information that helps them compare different mortgage offers and find the one that’s best for them. It also aims to reduce the regulatory burden by giving mortgage originators a clearer, less complicated form with which to work.
- Protecting Servicemembers. Under the leadership of military families advocate Holly Petraeus, CFPB has started helping service members navigate the unique circumstances that affect their finances. The CFPB has entered into an agreement with the Judge Advocate Generals of all the armed services regarding the protection of service members from financial abuse.
- Leveling the Playing Field to Ensure Payday Lenders, Debt Collectors and Other Non-Banks Comply with Consumer Protection Laws. CFPB has taken initial steps required to protect Americans against abuses by certain parts of the financial industry that we were unable to monitor before the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In addition to strengthening consumer protection, CFPB will level the playing field between banks and non-banks like pay day lenders and debt collectors. The CFPB will supervise both banks and nonbanks to ensure they are in compliance with consumer financial protection laws.
- Streamlining Help for Consumers. As of July 21 2011, CFPB will consolidate the authority of seven other agencies and have clear accountability for policing abuses in consumer financial products like credit cards and mortgages and for making sure people have the information they need to make the decisions that are best for them. On that date, the CFPB will become the dedicated cop on the beat protecting American consumers.
Update: Obama announcing nomination at the White House
Richard Cordray is Chief of Enforcement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Immediately prior, Cordray served as Attorney General of Ohio from January 2009 to January 2011.
As Attorney General, Cordray recovered more than $2 billion for Ohio’s retirees, investors and business owners and took major steps to help protect its consumers from fraudulent foreclosures and financial predators. Prior to his tenure as Ohio’s Attorney General, Cordray spent two years as Ohio’s State Treasurer and four as the Treasurer of Franklin County, Ohio.
In 2008, he received a Financial Services Champion award from the U.S. Small Business Administration and a Government Service Award from NeighborWorks America. In 2005, he was named “County Leader of the Year” by American City & County Magazine.
Earlier in his career, Cordray was an adjunct professor at the Ohio State University College of Law (1989-2002), served as a State Representative for the 33rd Ohio House District (1991-1993), was the first Solicitor General in Ohio’s history (1993-1994), and was a sole practitioner and Of Counsel to Kirkland & Ellis (1995-2007).
Cordray has argued seven cases before the United States Supreme Court, including by special appointment of both the Clinton and Bush Justice Departments. Cordray is a graduate of Michigan State University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago Law School. He was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review and later clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.