Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

U.S. consumer agency head Cordray to leave by end of month

U.S. consumer agency head Cordray to leave by end of month

Richard Cordray, a target of the banking industry and Republicans in Congress, announced on Wednesday that he planned to step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the end of the month.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray speaks in Washington, October 17, 2014.

"Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people's lives", he said.

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 agency, known as the CFPB, has been controversial since its inception as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled how the federal government regulated and oversaw the financial industry. The agency was given a broad mandate to be a watchdog for consumers when they deal with banks, credit card, student loan and mortgage companies, as well as debt collectors and payday lenders. I am confident that you will continue to move forward, nurture this institution we have built together, and maintain its essential value to the American public.

"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 added.

Consumer advocates say it plays a critical role in protecting Americans against financial abuse. "He held big banks accountable". President Donald Trump's election was also expected to be "bad news" for the agency. "This is no place for another Trump-appointed industry hack".

An appointee of former President Barack Obama, Cordray is expected to return to his home state of OH to run for governor.

The bureau said it is not issuing further comment at this time. It comes less than a month after the agency suffered a stunning defeat when Congress voted to block one of its most aggressive regulations allowing consumers to sue their banks. That person was now Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who had proposed the agency in her previous job at Harvard Law School.

Other initiatives during Mr. Cordray's tenure include a high-profile enforcement action against Wells Fargo & Co. for setting up fake customer accounts and rules that require banks to make a good-faith effort to ensure mortgage borrowers can repay their loans.

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