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Obama Nominates Former Ohio AG to Lead New Bureau

July 19, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Obama has named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as his nomination for director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by the passage of the Dodd Frank Act last year. The nomination will require Senate confirmation, which, by all account, will be a problem.

Cordray previously served as Ohio’s treasurer and as head of the CFPB’s enforcement division for the last six months under current interim director and agency architect Elizabeth Warren.

During the announcement, President Obama discussed Dodd-Frank’s provisions, which included making taxpayer-funded bailouts illegal, Wall Street reforms and stronger consumer protection rules.

“Already, the agency is starting to do a whole bunch of things that are going to be important for consumers — making sure loan contracts and credit card terms are simpler and written in plain English,” the president said. “Already, thanks to the leadership of the bureau, we’re seeing men and women in uniform who are getting more protections against fraud and deception when it comes to financial practices.”

In her White House blog post announcing the nomination, Warren described Cordray as someone that would be a “strong leader” for the CFPB. She added that he is someone with “a proven track record of fighting for families during his time as head of the CFPB enforcement division, as attorney general of Ohio and throughout his career.”

“He was one of the first senior executives I recruited for the agency, and his hard work and deep commitment make it clear he can make many important contributions in leading it,” Warren continued in her blog post. “Rich is smart, he is tough and he will make a stellar director. I am very pleased for him and very pleased for the CFPB.”

In this month’s Legal column, Tom Hudson, partner at the law firm of Hudson Cook LLP, talked about the many challenges the CFPB is facing as it gets set to assume regulatory authority on July 21. The Republican-controlled Senate has already said it will block President Obama’s nomination. Republican lawmakers also have introduced several proposals to reduce the bureau’s power and independence.

Because of efforts put forth by the National Automobile Dealers Association, dealers were largely excluded from the CFPB’s oversight. However, the Dodd-Frank Act granted the FTC new rulemaking powers as it pertains to dealers. The agency is now hosting a series of roundtables to determine where it should focus its attention when it assumes its new powers. The next roundtable is scheduled for Aug. 2-3 at St. Mary’s University School of Law.

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