Richard Cordray Steps Down as CFPB Director

Richard Cordray, the first and so far only director in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s history, announced his intention to resign Wednesday morning.

“I am confident that you will continue to move forward, nurture this institution we have built together, and maintain its essential value to the American public,” the now-outgoing director wrote in an e-mail to CFPB staffers, according to NPR.

“It has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau by working alongside all of you here,” Cordray wrote, according to Politico. “Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people’s lives.”

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Cordray will step aside by the end of this month.

Rumors had been swirling about Cordray’s potential departure from the agency in order to pursue the Democratic nomination for the Ohio governorship next year. Though he didn’t announce his future plans, candidates have until February to formally file their paperwork.

During his leadership, which began in 2013, the CFPB issued multiple reports and directives aimed at the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage industry, including a report earlier this year warning about potential pitfalls of using reverse mortgages to delay receipt of Social Security benefits. Last year, the CFPB took enforcement action against three reverse mortgage companies for misleading advertising, and compiled an in-depth report on the subject in 2015.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, applauded the news in a release; Hensarling has been a vocal critic of Cordray and the CFPB.

“We are long overdue for new leadership at the CFPB, a rogue agency that has done more to hurt consumers than help them,” he said. “The CFPB tramples on the fundamental economic rights of American citizens, taking away their choices and opportunities.”

“The resignation of the Bureau’s director is an excellent opportunity to enact desperately needed reforms,” Hensarling continued. “The Bureau has an important mission. Properly designed and led, it can truly protect consumers by ensuring they have access to competitive markets that are vigorously policed for fraud.”

Hensarling’s counterpart on the other side of the aisle, ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters, used her comments to thank Cordray for his service.

“Richard Cordray is a true champion for American consumers,” Waters, a California Democrat, said. “Under his outstanding leadership, the Consumer Bureau has made the financial marketplace stronger and fairer for hardworking Americans across the country.”

“During his time leading this important agency, he has made a tremendous, positive impact that cannot be overstated,” she said. “I thank Mr. Cordray for always standing up for all Americans and standing up to abusive financial institutions.”

A White House press secretary told Politico that President Trump plans to nominate an acting director “at the appropriate time.” Reports emerged earlier in the month that the president resisted calls to fire Cordray, fearful that doing so would make him a “martyr.”

Written by Alex Spanko