At last! President Obama on Sunday made his nomination for the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the agency charged with protecting consumers from abuses by the banking and financial industry. He did not nominate controversial consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, who is credited with the original idea for the CFPB and for getting the agency up and running, but some observers say the president's nominee may the next best thing.
The nominee is former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who is apparently a “close Warren ally who has a record of cracking down on the financial industry.” Warren was outspoken in her criticism of Wall Street, and while many hoped the president would nominate her to head the CFPB, she had become a lightning-rod for conservatives and the financial industry, and Republicans had made clear that if she was nominated, her confirmation would be an uphill battle.
Republicans have disparaged the agency and signaled on Sunday they would be reluctant to confirm any new head of the bureau unless their demands for major changes to the bureau’s structure were met. We remain hopeful that the CFPB will not be eviscerated by pro-banking interests in Congress.
The CFPB will officially open its doors on Thursday this week, the one-year anniversary of Obama’s signing of the Dodd-Frank oversight law.