AFR Letter: More Than 200 Organizations Urge Senate to Confirm Cordray

December 7, 2011

RE: Nomination of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB

Dear Senator,

We are writing on behalf of the members of Americans for Financial Reform and the other organizations listed, representing a wide variety of Americans from all walks of life, to urge that you support the nomination of Richard Cordray, the highly-regarded and well-qualified former Ohio Attorney General, to be the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

We are pleased that Attorney General Cordray’s qualifications for the position have been recognized by all; he is an outstanding nominee and we believe his confirmation is necessary to make the agency’s promise that it will “make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans” a reality.

On the other hand, we have been extremely troubled by some Senators’ positions that regardless of his qualifications they will oppose General Cordray’s nomination, and even oppose a vote on that nomination, until and unless the legislation establishing the new CFPB is first drastically modified.

Reasonable minds can differ about new agencies, but this is too important a time to allow efforts to manipulate the process for purposes apart from the confirmation to disrupt the Consumer Bureau’s ability to do its job. In fact, in the absence of a director, the CFPB’s powers over banks remain broad, but its authority over their non-bank competitors is limited. This unlevel playing field serves payday lenders, debt collectors, unaccountable credit reporting agencies, mortgage companies and other non-banks well, making it too easy for them to continue to engage in deceptive and abusive practices. And it stands in the way of establishing fair rules of the road that apply to all players in the marketplace, which undermines good practices at community banks and larger depository institutions as well.

The absence of a director also deprives the CFPB of leadership, further limiting its authority. While agencies may sometimes be led by interim directors, it is critical that Congress give a new agency its best chance to succeed, not hamper or hobble it by depriving it of a full leadership team.

Worse, as the recession exacerbated by the unfair bank practices that led to establishment of this landmark agency continues, consumers continue to be harmed by unfair financial practices that the CFPB cannot yet reach. These practices include unfair payday lender terms that trap consumers in a cycle of debt, deceptive private student lending by schools that make promises of jobs that they do not keep but saddle students with mountains of debt anyway, and debt buyers that use robo-calling to collect debts that are no longer owed or were never owed.

We call on all Senators to review the nomination of Richard Corday on the merits and swiftly move it to a vote.

Failing to confirm a nominee so broadly agreed to be qualified and able for the job needlessly puts consumers, and the economy as a whole, at risk.  Leaving the CFPB without a director is unconscionable; it puts consumers who are already suffering through an economic recession caused by a lack of financial regulations in danger of further harm. Leaving the agency without all the tools it needs to not only protect consumers, but to protect companies that compete fairly, leaves both at the mercy of unregulated, predatory firms. And it leaves our whole economy in danger of further problems caused by abusive lending at a particularly vulnerable time. That is the wrong way to go.

We urge you to prioritize effective action to protect consumers and the economy, and to vote to confirm Richard Cordray to direct the CFPB. It is the right thing to do.


Accountable America            
Alliance for a Just Society            
America Votes              
American Federation of Government Employees Women and Fair Practices  
American Sustainable Business Council          
Americans for Financial Reform          
Asian American Justice Center, member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian Community Development Corporation        
Asian Economic Development Association        
Asian Law Alliance              
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance & APALA Education Fund    
Asian Services in Action            
Black Youth Vote!              
Business for Shared Prosperity          
Campaign for America’s Future          
Center for Media and Democracy          
Consumer Action              
Consumer Watchdog            
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety        
Consumers Union              
Cuban American National Council, Inc.          
Greenlining Institute              
Hmong American Partnership            
Hmong National Development            
HomeFree USA              
Japanese American Citizens League          
Korean Resource Center            
Main Street Alliance              
MoveOn Political Action            
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.         
National Association of Consumer Advocates        
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD)
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation        
National Community Reinvestment Coalition        
National Consumers League            
National Council of Jewish Women          
National Council of La Raza            
National Education Association          
National Fair Housing Alliance            
National Hispanic Council on Aging          
National People’s Action            
New Bottom Line              
PICO National Network            
SAFER: The Economists’ Committee for Stable, Accountable, Fair and Efficient Financial Reform
The Institute for College Access & Success and its Project on Student Debt  
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters        
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights      
U.S. PIRG              
United Auto Workers (UAW)            
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries      
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)        
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment    
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development        


State and Local Organizations:


Advocates for Basic Legal Equality        
Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice      
Alaska PIRG            
Albany County Rural Housing Alliance, Inc.      
Alliance to Develop Power Massachusetts      
ANHD Inc. (New York City)          
Arizona Fair Housing Center          
Arizona PIRG            
Austin Tenants Council          
Better Neighborhoods, Inc.          
Beyond Housing            
BWICA Educational Fund, Inc.        
California Reinvestment Coalition        
Center for Fair Housing          
Central Alabama Fair Housing Center        
Chhaya Community Development Corporation      
Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance        
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.    
Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.          
Chinese Community Center          
Citizen Action of New York          
Citizen Action of Wisconsin          
Citizen Action/Illinois          
Civic Center Barrio Housing Corporation        
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.        
Communities United for Action          
Community Housing Resources of Arizona      
Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina    
Connecticut Citizen Action Group        
Connecticut Fair Housing Center        
Connecticut PIRG            
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement      
Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) Buffalo      
DC 37 AFSCME (New York) Municipal Employees Legal Services  
Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation      
East LA Community Corporation        
Elder Law Clinic, St. John’s University School of Law (Queens, NY)  
Empire Justice Center          
Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People      
Fair Housing Advocates Association        
Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston        
Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit      
Fair Housing Center of Nebraska and Iowa      
Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama      
Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches      
Fair Housing Center of Washington        
Fair Housing Center of West Michigan        
Fair Housing Contact Service          
Fair Housing Continuum          
Fair Housing Council of Central New York      
Fair Housing Council of Orange County        
Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley      
Fair Housing of Marin          
Fifth Avenue Committee (Brooklyn, NY)        
Florida Consumer Action Network        
Florida PIRG            
Genesee Co-op FCU          
Georgia PIRG            
Georgia Rural Urban Summit          
Greater Houston Fair Housing Center        
Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center      
Greater Rochester Community Reinvestment Coalition    
Hawaiian Community Assets          
Heights Community Congress          
Homes on the Hill CDC          
HOPE Fair Housing Center          
Housing Action Illinois          
Housing Opportunities Made Equal        
Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia      
Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence      
Housing Research & Advocacy Center        
Housing Rights Center          
Illinois People’s Action          
Illinois PIRG            
Iowa Citizen Action Network          
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement      
Iowa PIRG            
Law Foundation of Silicon Valley        
Lawrence CommunityWorks, Inc.        
Long Island Housing Services          
Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union      
Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative      
Maine People’s Alliance          
Margert Community Corporation (Far Rockaway, NY)    
Maryland PIRG            
Massachusetts Communities Action Network      
Massachusetts Fair Housing Center        
Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc.        
Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council      
MFY Legal Services, Inc.          
Miami Valley Fair Housing Center        
Michigan Citizen Action          
Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition        
Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Ohio    
Neighbors Helping Neighbors          
New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action      
New Jersey Citizen Action          
New York StateWide Senior Action Council      
New Yorkers for Responsible Lending        
North Texas Fair Housing Center        
Northside P.O.W.E.R          
Northwest Fair Housing Alliance        
Northwest Ohio Development          
Oak Park Regional Housing Center        
Ocean State Action            
Office of Fair Housing & Consumer Affairs      
Ohio PIRG            
Orange County Community Housing Corporation      
Oregon Action            
Oregon PIRG (OSPIRG)          
Parodneck Foundation (New York City)        
Penn Action            
PIRGIM (PIRG in Michigan)          
Pratt Area Community Council (Brooklyn, NY)      
Progressive Maryland          
Public Citizen            
PUSH Buffalo (NY)          
Retail Action Project (New York City)        
Sacramento Housing Alliance          
Sacramento Mutual Housing Association        
Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council      
South Suburban Housing Center        
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center        
Syracuse United Neighbors          
Tennessee Citizen Action          
Tennessee Fair Housing Council        
The Fair Housing Council of San Diego        
The Financial Clinic of New York City        
Toledo Fair Housing Center          
United Action for Idaho          
Virginia Organizing            
Washington Community Action Network        
West Virginia Citizen Action Group        
Western New York Law Center        
Woodstock Institute            
Working in Neighborhoods          
Yolo Mutual Housing Association        
Young Invincibles