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Obama Renominates Cordray as CFPB DIrector

Sorohan, Mike
Nearly 18 months after his recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama formally renominated Cordray yesterday.

Cordray, who assumed responsibility of the CFPB last year and has aggressively moved forward with an ambitious regulatory agenda that included nearly half-a-dozen major rulemakings over the past two weeks, will now face a formal confirmation hearing in the Senate.

“In just the past year, Richard and the CFPB have made remarkable progress in strengthening consumer protections,” the White House said in a statement.

Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO David Stevens issued a statement in support of Cordray’s nomination.

“As director, Richard Cordray has proven himself to be thoughtful, balanced, open minded, accessible and communicative; attributes which are all critical to effectively leading the CFPB’s mission,” Stevens said. “While we do not, and likely will not, always agree on the best approach to the agency’s rulemakings, the ability to debate and discuss the key elements of proposed and final rules, and to have meaningful dialogue, remains a testament to his leadership.”

Cordray came to prominence in 2009, serving as Ohio attorney general through 2011 and taking an aggressive approach to fraud involving mortgages, which hit the state particularly hard. He previously served as the state’s treasurer and as treasurer of Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus).

Obama nominated Cordray in January 2012, after his previous nominee for CFPB director, Elizabeth Warren, withdrew her nomination when it became clear that she would not have enough Senate votes for confirmation (Warren is now a Democratic senator representing Massachusetts).

While Cordray enjoyed bipartisan support, his nomination faced trouble from Republicans who believed that CFPB authority should be spread over a multi-member commission and not centered in a single director. As a result, Obama installed Cordray as director when Congress was in recess in July 2011; that recess nomination expires at the end of this year.

In the subsequent 18 months, Cordray launched a multi-pronged rulemaking process that culminated this month in a flurry of activity, including an Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage final rule; new servicing final rules that establish national standards for mortgage servicers; new final rules governing mortgage loan officer compensation; and new final rules governing appraisals.
 
“The rules and regulations that the CFPB has released, and those still to come, will forever shape housing finance in this country,” Stevens said. “As the housing market continues to recover, we need a steady, consistent voice at the helm, and Director Cordray has demonstrated a willingness and ability to listen and learn.”

In a press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Obama administration does not anticipate any substantial objections to the Cordray nomination.

“The fact that Richard Cordray has substantial bipartisan support out in the country and at the time…was praised by Republicans and Democrats--former attorneys general, as he was--hopefully it will convince the Senate to move forward and allow the up-or-down vote that he deserves,” Carney said.
 
Carney described Cordray as “absolutely the right person for the job. He has done an excellent job in his position, and the President hopes very much the Senate will confirm him.”