Two years after the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency finally has a permanent Director.
Today, the Senate voted 66-34 to confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB. He has been serving as the acting director since January 2012 after being installed by President Obama as a recess appointment. That move angered Republicans and his nomination has been stalled ever since.
Cordray is likely to remain in the post through the completion of Obama’s second term in 2016.
Republicans had been demanding structural changes to the CFPB for the past two years before they would agree to a vote. Those changes included subjecting the agency to congressional budget appropriations. They also wanted the Bureau to be run by a five-person commission rather than one director. The bureau will continue to be run by a single director and will be financed through the Federal Reserve but Cordray has agreed to testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In March, Cordray’s nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee by a 12-10 vote that was split down party lines. Every Democrat on the Committee approved Cordray, every Republican opposed him. Approval by the full Senate still looked stalled due to the deadlock preventing his vote.
Despite the political protests, Cordray has created a list of accomplishments with new regulations and penalties on the financial industry. His success may have eased the way for acceptance and confirmation. Under his direction, the CFPB has created complaint databases, curbed deceptive telemarketing practices, cracked down on debt collectors, helped stay-at-home spouses get credit in their name and is currently investigating overdraft fees.
The CFPB was created in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act after the financial crisis.
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