Richard Cordray, Who 'Held Big Banks Accountable,' Announces Resignation From CFPB

Richard Cordray, Who 'Held Big Banks Accountable,' Announces Resignation From CFPB

Richard Cordray, the current Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has announced his resignation from the agency which he led since its inception in 2011.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau focuses on a variety of financial entities. It is widely reviled by Republicans and the financial services industry.

For months now there have been rumors swirling that Cordray, who was appointed to the CFPB by President Barack Obama, will make a run for OH governor.

The Obama-era appointee, who drew ire from real estate industry leaders after the federal agency fined two brokerages and two mortgage lenders for what it called an "illegal kickback scheme," was considered a target of Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump. In recent years, the CFPB has been at the center of some of the most bitter partisan fights over post-crisis financial rules.

Cordray, who campaigned for Obama in the past, has held a number of public offices in the state of OH, including attorney general, state treasurer, solicitor general, and state representative.

The defeat set a precedent for Congress to curtail other CFPB rules, and lawyers and lobbyists expect a similar attempt to push back a new rule curbing payday lenders.

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Trump has largely appointed bank-friendly figures to head up financial regulators, leaving Cordray as something of a glaring exception to the new, bank-friendly environment in Washington. Cordray used that mandate aggressively as its first director.

"I thoroughly appreciate Director Cordray's willingness to serve as the first director of the CFPB", Richard Hunt, president and chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement.

The CFPB was established under former President Barack Obama's administration to "protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law" - primarily as a response to the financial crisis. None of this could have happened without all of us being dedicated to pull together in supporting and protecting people and making every consumer count.

Cordray responded in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition: "I think that if you're going after large banks and large financial companies to try to make sure people are being treated fairly, you're going to make some enemies, and you're going to make people uncomfortable".

In a memo to employees, Cordray said it has been "a joy of my life" to lead the office and "there is always more work that lies ahead". That would be true at any point, of course, and one thing I have tried to reinforce this year is that the Consumer Bureau is far more than its director. "We are long overdue for new leadership at the CFPB, a rogue agency that has done more to hurt consumers than help them", said Hensarling, who has touted legislation that would strip the agency of many of its powers.

"I trust that new leadership will see that value also and work to preserve it - perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country", Cordray wrote.

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