CFPB Director Richard Cordray Steps Down

November 16, 2017

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said on Wednesday that he would be leaving his post at the end of the month. Some organizations and lawmakers view this as an opportunity to restructure the financial watchdog agency.  

The CFPB was established about six years ago as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. Its goal has been to investigate financial abuses on accounts such as mortgages, bank accounts, student loans, and credit cards. The CFPB also investigates Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act violations.

Cordray, a Democrat who was appointed by President Barack Obama, says during his tenure nearly $12 billion in refunds were issued and 29 million consumers had their debts canceled. Cordray was also known for tightening mortgage protections for borrowers.

“The agency has gotten a lot done,” Lisa Donner, the executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, a liberal advocacy group, told The New York Times. “The mission of the bureau and the work it has done is incredibly popular, across party lines, with the public.”

Cordray did have plenty of critics. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, called the CFPB a “rogue agency” that is long overdue for new leadership. The CFPB has also been questioned by the Justice Department. In one case, the Justice Department sided with a mortgage lender and questioned the agency’s constitutionality, The New York Times reports.

The National Association of REALTORS® supports the mission of the CFPB, but has advocated for a change in its structure. At its Midyear meetings this year, NAR’s Board of Directors voted in supporting a restructure of the CFPB to a five-person commission, with the agency no longer relying on a single director. Other associations have also advocated for a similar structure, such as the Consumer Bankers Association, American Bankers Association, Consumer Mortgage Coalition, and more.

Cordray’s five-year term was set to end July 2018.

Source: “Richard Cordray’s Exit From the Consumer Bureau Gives Trump an Opening,” The New York Times (Nov. 15, 2017)