Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who has been nominated to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is scheduled for a confirmation hearing next Thursday.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said the hearing, which is scheduled to be held at 2 p.m., will “begin the process of moving Mr. Cordray’s nomination forward to confirmation.”
The CFPB opened its doors as an independent agency on July 21. However, until it has a director, the agency said, it will “not be able to use its full powers to protect consumers and level the playing field for community banks and credit unions.”
Cordray, who lost his bid for another term as Ohio attorney general last November, has been head of the CFPB’s enforcement efforts since January.
Senate Republicans have vowed to block confirmation of any nominee for the position until the Obama administration agrees to make structural changes in the bureau, including replacing the director with a five-member board, whose members are divided between parties and are nominated by the president.
The House passed legislation last week that would accomplish that but Senate Democrats and the Obama administration oppose it.
Although much of the financial services industry opposed the creation of the CFPB, Cordray has been praised by the heads of the state trade associations of the credit unions and bankers in Ohio.
Ohio Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Mercer wrote Cordray, with copies to the Ohio congressional delegation, that “I am confident that, given the opportunity, you will diligently represent the mission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mission and purpose as its director."
Mercer also wrote that “your willingness to reach out to credit unions over the years is abundant evidence of your interest in the movement.”
Ohio Bankers League President/CEO Michael Van Buskirk wrote the Senate Banking Committee that while “he [Cordray] and I have differed on specific policy decisions, you should know the consistency in his process to reach those decisions. He has welcomed competing ideas. Moreover, he has systematically reached out to encourage a steady flow of information that might bring him better insight.”
However, Van Buskirk also said he had “reservations about the lack of checks and balances in the bureau’s structure to protect the public’s interests.”