After the banking and mortgage collapse in 2008, it became brutally clear that this country needed a watchdog to look out for consumers and go after financial abuses. That’s why Congress passed a law in 2010 to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is there to make sure that loans, credit cards, mortgages, and other financial products and services work better for you.
To head the bureau, the White House tapped Richard Cordray, who had earned a stellar reputation for fighting for consumers as Ohio attorney general. However, with a political stalemate in Congress delaying Cordray’s confirmation indefinitely, he became CFPB director through a recess appointment by President Obama in 2012.
Under Cordray’s watch, the CFPB has returned $425 million in refunds to some 6 million consumers hit by deceptive financial practices such as false and misleading credit-card offers. The bureau has also helped to resolve more than 133,000 financial-services complaints.
With that track record, we were pleased when Cordray was renominated for the position earlier this year. But unfortunately, it’s déjà vu all over again in Congress. Cordray's confirmation faces political opposition in the Senate, thanks to a group of lawmakers who refuse to confirm any director until changes are made to the CFPB, alterations that would weaken its ability to protect consumers.
With Cordray’s original appointment expiring at the end of this year, the clock is now ticking.