Fact Sheet and Talking Points: The Fight for a Strong CFPB and Director

Read our fact sheet, “The Fight for a Strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Director” here

Read our talking points on Richard Cordray’s Nomination to Lead the CFPB here


The Fight for a Strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Director

There’s good news and bad news for American consumers. The good news is on July 21st the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – the first ever agency with the sole mission of policing the consumer financial markets and preventing abusive, deceptive and discriminatory lending – opened its doors.

Deceptive and abusive mortgage lending was a fundamental cause of the financial crisis, and of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Year in and year out  tricks and traps on credit cards, student loans, overdraft fees and more cost working families tens of billions of dollars. In response, we fought for and won a new consumer bureau so that consumers can have a cop on the beat with fair play and the public interest as its first priority. The CFPB is fully accountable to the American people, to Congress, the judiciary, and the President. And it has sufficient freedom of action to be effective.

The bad news is that Big Wall Street banks and financial industry special interests, and their friends in Congress, are still fighting the Bureau. They are blocking the appointment of a Director for the Bureau, to keep it from being able to do its job. Without a Director, the Bureau will not have its full authority to protect consumers in the financial marketplace including oversight of payday lenders, mortgage companies, and credit bureaus. Nor will it have all the political clout it needs to stand up for Main Street and win regulatory battles with Congress, other bank regulators and the banks themselves.

President Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the CFPB’s first director. Mr. Cordray has been hailed by labor, community organizations, his colleagues in government from both sides of the aisle, and business leaders as a smart, fair, effective leader. As Attorney General, he recovered over $2 billion dollars from Wall Street to repay Ohio’s wrongly-foreclosed consumers, the state’s looted pension funds, and its cities and counties. But, even though they are not arguing with his qualifications or fitness for the job, Republicans in Congress are refusing to even allow a floor vote on his nomination.

According to a recent poll, 77% of all Americans—Republican, Democratic, and Independent—favor tough, sensible oversight of the financial services industry, including a strong and independent CFPB. We need the CFPB up and running to help get our economy back on track, and keep loans like the ones that caused the financial crisis from ever dominating the market again.

Our Senators need to be held accountable: do they support putting a Director in place at the CFPB and moving ahead with fair rules of the road for the financial marketplace, or are they blocking consumer protection and supporting finance industry special interests and the status quo of gouging working families.


Talking points on Richard Cordray Nomination to lead the CFPB

 A. Rich Cordray will make an effective leader for the CFPB. He has an impressive and balanced record of public service.

 As Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray was a leader in standing up for consumers struggling to pay their mortgages and stay in their homes. He was a strong – and early – voice for holding big banks accountable for abusive servicing practices that are leading to unfair and unlawful foreclosures. General Cordray recovered over $2 billion wrongly looted by Wall Street banks and returned it to Ohio homeowners, taxpayers, pension funds and municipalities.

 As AG and as a county and then State Treasurer was known for his reasoned and reasonable approach, for smart work across party lines to get things done, and for his willingness to stand up to powerful special interests when necessary.

 His nomination has been praised by former U.S. Senator and current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R), who defeated him in 2010. In a recent floor speech, Senator Sherrod Brown noted that Cordray 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 was among the first people selected by Professor Elizabeth Warren to help build the CFPB, and currently is its Enforcement chief.

 B. We need the CFPB up and running with an effective leader at its helm to take on the job of making the financial market place safe for consumers, and preventing tricks, traps and deception.

 The failed policies of the past ignored consumer protection. They cost families tens of billions of dollars a year in excess fees and fines and charges, and they were a major cause of the financial crisis and resulting great recession which has cost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in home and retirement savings. We need a CFPB that can do its job to keep this from happening again.

 C. But Senate Republicans say they will not even consider Rich Cordray – or anyone – as Director for the CFPB unless the bureau has its hands tied behind its back.

 They want to give the failed regulators of the past additional veto authority over the CFPB, they want to subject its budget – alone among bank regulators – to political manipulation, and they want to tie it in knots with a bureaucratic commission at its helm, rather than a single Director.

 Refusing to consider a nominee is defending the failed status quo that caused the financial crisis, and the bottom feeders of the financial industry who profit from rip offs and deception. It is also ignoring a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, and enjoying strong support from the American public across party lines.

 D. There are only two choices here for Senators – either they support a simple up or down vote on Rich Cordray’s nomination, and support him for the job of CFPB Director because he is eminently qualified for it. Or, they oppose fair rules of the road – effectively enforced – in the consumer financial marketplace.

 Key quotes:

 From Senator Sherrod Brown:

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.

 From Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) (quoted in the Columbus Dispatch):

“Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who defeated Cordray last November, said Cordray “is very well-qualified for this job. He’ll do a good job. I wish him well.‘”

 From an editorial in the Columbus Post Dispatch:

“Making the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a success will require the skills of a fair-minded pragmatist who commands wide respect, and that makes former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray an excellent pick to run it.”

 From Professor Elizabeth Warren:

“Rich has always had my strong support because he is tough and he is smart — and that’s exactly the combination this new agency needs. His work and commitment have made it clear that he will make a stellar director.”

 From the New York Times:

“It is important to recall why the bureau is so necessary. The financial crisis had its roots in dangerous, unregulated loans that inflated a credit bubble. When that burst, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings and home equity; millions lost their homes; and everyone lost trust in financial and government institutions.

 The new bureau concentrates consumer protection in one agency, with the sole purpose of shielding Americans, and the financial system, from abusive and deceptive lending in mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing.

 The banks — big campaign contributors — don’t want robust consumer protection because complex and obscure products are lucrative. House Republicans have begun to pass bills that would severely constrain the bureau’s power to write and enforce rules and reduce and imperil its budget. Mr. Obama has pledged to veto the bills if they reach his desk, but that won’t stop the assaults. Under the law, the bureau cannot exercise its full regulatory powers without a director. In May, 44 Republican senators vowed to block any nominee unless Democrats agreed to weaken the agency as called for in the House bills.”

 From the Dallas Morning News:

“Consumers have gotten short shrift from financial regulation and deserve a watchdog with more than a hoarse bark. Overly cozy ties between the financial industry and regulators are partly to blame for rampant abuses that erupted in the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression. Now, in Cordray, consumers get a smart regulator with an impressive history of challenging financial industry abuses.”

 From Sign-On Letter by 37 State Attorneys General supporting Richard Cordray to lead the CFPB:

“We are Attorneys General from across the country who represent a wide range of political interests. Some of us may disagree with aspects of the Dodd-Frank legislation. But we are united in our belief that Mr. Cordray is very well qualified to carry out the responsibilities of this position.”

 From Sign-On Letter of OH Business Leaders supporting Richard Cordray to lead CFPB:

“We write as business leaders from Ohio to express our high regard and strongest

support for Richard Cordray. . . We have all worked with Mr. Cordray during his career here in Ohio, and have the highest regard for his ability to partner and collaborate on the most important issues facing our community.  As a County Treasurer, State Treasurer and State Attorney General, he has been the epitome of the judicious and fair-minded public servant.   He has impressed us with his intelligence, pragmatism, integrity, and service-oriented mindset.”

 From the Hill (Home state sheriffs back Cordray for Consumer Bureau):

“‘Rich led numerous efforts to combat consumer fraud … and has earned the respect of Ohio’s law enforcement community,’ they continued. ‘We believe he will be an effective cop-on-the-beat for consumer financial products. We support his nomination without reservation, and urge you to confirm him as the first director of the CFPB.’”