NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Richard Cordray will be appointed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday, nearly six months after his nomination by President Obama.
The New York Timesand other media outlets are reporting that senior administration officials expect the appointment to be announced this afternoon as Obama speaks at a school in a Cleveland suburb.
Much has been made about the fight to confirm a director for the CFPB, with the GOP blocking Cordray’s appointment in early December despite the fact that he had overarching approval from both sides of the aisle.
"The majority of attorney generals Republican and Democrat have said ... Cordray is ready to go," Obama said in a press conference following the December block. "There is no reason Mr. Cordray should not be nominated. ... We are not giving up on this, we are going to keep going at it."
And that is exactly what the Obama administration has done today, finally giving Cordray the directorship in a recess appointment, which requires no Senate confirmation.
But why the big fight over naming a director? Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, says the major change that will occur with Cordray’s appointment is a broadening of oversight powers for the agency that was provided for in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Rheingold says the CFPB now has the power to implement its rule-making and oversight on non-mortgage bank lenders (i.e. payday lenders, check cashers, etc.) in addition to financial institutions it was already allowed to regulate.
Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of more than 250 state and local advocacy organizations, released a statement today in support of the president’s actions.
“Now that the CFPB has a director, it finally has its full authority to protect consumers everywhere in the financial marketplace, from a Wall Street bank to a payday lender or from a mortgage company to a credit bureau or anywhere else,” the statement said.
When it comes to day-to-day operations, however, Rheingold says that most of the work the agency is already conducting won’t change.
“It won’t have an enormous impact because they already have a lot of paths they’re going down,” he says.
Instead, Rheingold says the appointment of a director could mean a larger psychological change for the agency, he says.
“In many ways, they were sitting there with their heads down,” he says. “They may feel now like they have the ability to put their heads up and have a leader who will protect them.”