Cordray ending tenure at CFPB; White House to appoint ‘acting’

Saying he will step down before the end of the month, and without revealing future plans, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray Wednesday shared with agency staff that his tenure is ending.

Separately Wednesday, the White House is reportedly saying it will appoint an acting director for the consumer bureau. President Donald Trump will, reportedly, nominate a permanent director “at the appropriate time.”

“It has been the joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau by working alongside all of you here,” Cordray stated in his message to staff. He listed a number of actions which he said have made a “real and lasting difference” that have improved people’s lives. Among them:

  • $12 billion in “relief recovered for nearly 30 million consumers;”
  • stronger safeguards against irresponsible mortgage practices that “caused the financial crisis and hurt millions of Americans;”
  • handling more than 1.3 million consumer complaints “that led to problems getting fixed for vast numbers of individuals.”

The CFPB has typified the polarization of Washington views, with Republicans generally scorning the agency and Democrats generally defending it, as reflected in comments reacting to Cordray’s decision to step down.

Saying he held big banks accountable, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass. and who helped established the bureau) called Cordray “a dedicated public servant and a tireless watchdog for American consumers–and he will be missed. She added that his successor “must be someone with a track record of protecting consumers and holding financial firms responsible when they cheat people. This is no place for another Trump-appointed industry hack.”

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a sharp critic of Cordray and the bureau, said the CFPB is a rogue agency that has done more to hurt consumers than help them. “The extreme overregulation it imposes on our economy leads to higher costs and less access to financial products and services, particularly for Americans with lower and middle incomes,” he said.