In prepared statements to the Committee, Cordray talks about the progress the CFPB has made in implementing the many complicated facets of the CARD Act, in making sure mortgages are not just handed out with no regard to a borrower’s ability to pay the loans back, and in beginning to make the college financial market more transparent.
“Perhaps the most direct example of addressing problems in the consumer finance markets is our consumer response function,” writes Cordray, referring to the numerous complaint portals now up-and-running on the CFPB website, covering everything from credit cards to car loans, to banking and mortgages. “To date, we have already handled more than 130,000 complaints from people in every state around the country.”
Even before Cordray was appointed by President Obama, the CFPB was a lightning rod for controversy. Some lawmakers threatened to block his original nomination unless there were significant changes made to the agency’s structure (namely, replacing a single director with a multi-member panel) and its authority to regulate certain institutions.
Some in the Senate have once again promised to block Cordray’s re-appointment via filibuster unless these changes are made. Earlier this year, 42 Senate Republicans signed a letter calling for these alterations to the CFPB, along with granting Congress the authority to approve the agency’s budget.
Cordray will certainly have one very friendly face at tomorrow’s hearing, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who helped set up the CFPB and had been championed by many to lead the bureau.
“Three years ago they fought for a weaker agency, and they lost that vote,” Warren said last week of opponents’ attempts to change the CFPB. “Today, they know they still don’t have the votes to weaken the agency, and so they are determined to hold Rich Cordray hostage. Never before in American history has a minority in the Senate blocked a nominee to try to get changes in a law they don’t like and don’t have the votes to change.”
Our cohorts at Consumers Union agree that Cordray is the man for the job at the CFPB, writing a letter to the Senate Banking Committee in support of another term for the director.
“The bureau needs a smart, experienced director who cares about consumers,” writes Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. “Richard Cordray has demonstrated that he is up to the task.. Under Corday’s tenure, the CFPB enforcement actions have resulted in $425 million of refunds to approximately 6 million consumers who were subject to deceptive financial practices. The CFPB has also helped resolve over 133,000 financial services complaints involving a wide variety of financial issues including credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and bank account services.”
Adds Banks, “The CFPB is a transparent, fully accountable bureau that works…We need a proven highly qualified regulator such as Richard Cordray at the helm of the CFPB to make the financial marketplace work for consumers and provide stability to the financial industry.”