Bypassing initial favorite Elizabeth Warren, President Obama plans to nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the White House announced Sunday.
Obama said in a statement that he was picking Cordray because he has “spent his career advocating for middle class families, from his tenure as Ohio’s Attorney General, to his most recent role as heading up the enforcement division at the CFPB and looking out for ordinary people in our financial system.”
Obama plans to make a formal announcement on Monday. The CFPB, which was established by last year’s financial overhaul bill, is scheduled to begin operating on Thursday.
Before serving one term as Ohio attorney general (he was defeated for re-election in 2010), Cordray had been a state and county treasurer and a state representative.
Cordray had been selected to run the CFPB’s enforcement division by Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who devised the idea of the bureau and had been coordinating its set up.
There had been pressure from consumer and liberal groups to nominate Warren to run the bureau but some congressional leaders expressed concern that she might have trouble being confirmed.
While some Senate Republicans have criticized Warren specifically, they also have said they wouldn’t confirm anyone to run the CFPB unless the Obama administration agrees to make certain changes in how the bureau is run. Republicans are pushing to have it run by a five-person board, whose members are nominated by the president, rather than have all powers vested in the director, as is currently the case.
The CFPB, an independent agency housed in the Federal Reserve, will only have direct supervisory authority over financial institutions of $10 billion or more in assets but all financial institutions must comply with its regulations,. Only Navy FCU, Pentagon FCU and State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina will be subject to direct examination.