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Sen. Brown (D-OH) Supports Nomination of Richard Cordray to head CFPB

Submitted by on July 26, 2011 – 9:29 am
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Senator Brown’s remarks are below:

 

Mr. BROWN of Ohio: Madam President, as we debate the best way to get our fiscal house in order, we must avoid, first of all, defaulting on our obligations while also working to make our economy stronger.

 

While our debt has been rising for several decades–and there is enough blame to go around–it has been exacerbated by the economic crisis that has all too often turned workers and taxpayers into collectors of unemployment insurance, housing assistance, and health care assistance.

 

We must not forget that the economic crisis was brought on by a financial crisis that pulled our economy into a deep recession.

 

Some people in this Chamber–conservative politicians in Washington–like to forget this financial crisis ever happened. But throughout the United States–in places such as Cleveland, Dayton, Chillicothe, and Zanesville–fast-talking mortgage brokers in America steered Americans into unfair loans that helped put our economy on the brink of collapse, costing millions of Americans their homes and jobs.

 

While Wall Street has regained its footing, millions of Americans are still struggling to finds jobs, stay in their homes, and afford health care coverage. Businesses are struggling to access credit so they can hire new workers.

 

Thankfully, 1 year ago, we passed Wall Street reform. The President signed the landmark legislation that was aimed at providing consumers with protection from abusive rates, fees, penalties in mortgages and credit cards.

 

The centerpiece of the bill–one of the centerpieces of the bill is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is aimed at giving consumers a voice as loud and powerful as Wall Street; frankly, something this city is not used to.

 

Richard Cordray will be that voice. He is one of Ohio’s most talented public servants, who is strongly committed to protecting Ohio consumers and investors.

 

As Ohio’s attorney general, he was a strong voice for Ohioans who struggled during these tough times to stay in their homes, consumers who faced unfair practices by big Wall Street banks who had deceived consumers.

 

He has targeted institutions–including Fannie Mae–that hid material information from investors, in the process undermining pension funds that provide retirement security for teachers, secretaries, police officers, and janitors.

 

Coming from Ohio, he has seen firsthand how unscrupulous actors steered Americans into unfair subprime loans that helped push the economy to the brink of collapse, costing millions of Americans their homes and jobs.

 

Rich took the unscrupulous actors, but he also worked closely with Ohio banks, which are supporting his nomination to advocate the Consumer Protection Bureau because he played it straight and fair. He worked closely with them to promote financial literacy and craft effective, targeted legislation distinguishing traditional banks–those that lend and are the lifeblood of any economy–from those banks engaged or those companies or Wall Street institutions that are engaged in predatory lending.

 

As he has been throughout his career, Rich will be a strong voice for consumers as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau carries out his mission. It is a mission of bringing oversight and transparency to checking accounts, credit cards, mortgages and student loans and ensuring that our financial system continues to support job creation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is already starting to make a difference. It is working to make sure credit card terms and loan contracts are written in ways that regular people can understand–in plain English. It has earned rave reviews from industry and consumer groups alike for the substance and process involved in creating a new model mortgage loan disclosure form.

 

The Consumer Product Financial Protection Bureau is helping our men and women in uniform, preventing them from being targeted by bad actors committing fraud and engaging in deceptive financial practices.

You can see them like vultures surrounding military bases as they do it–at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton and other places.

 

When Rich was attorney general of Ohio, he was the first State attorney general in Ohio to take on unscrupulous bankers and sue a mortgage lender over foreclosure fraud. He recovered billions of dollars for Ohio.

 

I am proud to have worked with him to identify financial predators that prey on homeowners facing foreclosure. When he was Ohio treasurer, he worked across party lines to strengthen Ohio’s finances.

 

Besides being a five-time Jeopardy winner, Rich is a great human being and a devoted family man. The challenges he will face in his new position are great, but I know he will be strengthened by the support of his wife Peggy and twins Holly and Danny.

 

I urge my colleagues to support Richard Cordray to be head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It will help consumers, banks, and our economy.

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