CU urges Senate to confirm Cordray for CFPB

December 7, 2011

Consumers Union Urges Senate to Confirm Richard Cordray
as Director of New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Senate Vote on Cordray Nomination Scheduled for December 8

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers Union called on the Senate today to confirm former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Senate is expected to vote on the Cordray nomination as early as this Thursday, December 8.

The effort to confirm Cordray has been held up in Congress by a group of Senators who have pledged to oppose any nominee to head the new consumer watchdog. The Senators opposing the Cordray nomination are seeking changes to the CFPB that would weaken its ability to protect consumers. Opposition to the nomination is preventing the CFPB from exercising its full powers to protect consumers, according to Consumers Union.

“Richard Cordray has a solid record fighting for consumers and tough but fair enforcement of the law,” said Pamela Banks, senior counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “Americans can’t afford the endless stalemate in the Senate over this nomination. It’s time for Congress to set aside politics and confirm Richard Cordray so the CFPB can use all of its tools to protect consumers.”

As Attorney General, Cordray recovered over $2 billion for consumers in Ohio who lost money and their financial security from shady Wall Street investments, deceptive financial products, and wrongful foreclosures. He has a reputation for bi-partisan efforts and his nomination has been endorsed by former Ohio Republican Senator Mike DeWine. In October, more than thirty state attorneys general -- including ten Republicans -- urged the Senate to confirm Cordray.

The CFPB was created by the Wall Street reform law passed by Congress last year and is working to make sure financial companies provide consumers with the information they need to understand the true costs and risks of different financial products. It has been charged with identifying and stopping unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices and keeping the rules governing financial service products up-to-date.

But without a director, the CFPB is not able to exercise its authority to oversee non-bank financial institutions like payday lenders, debt collectors, check cashers and certain mortgage lenders who target vulnerable consumers. In addition, the CFPB cannot exercise its authority to require model disclosure forms that ensure fees for financial services are disclosed fairly and accurately unless it has a director. Likewise, its ability to prohibit unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices is also limited without a director.

“Millions of Americans are struggling to stay afloat because lax federal oversight allowed the financial industry to run amok and ruin the economy,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “Now that consumers finally have a financial watchdog in Washington, some senators are still standing in the way of tough oversight and preventing the CFPB from doing its job. Richard Cordray should be confirmed so that the CFPB can use its full powers to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps.”

Contact: Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-431-6747, ext 126 or David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org or Kara Kelber, kkelber@consumer.org, 202-462-6262