President Joe Biden is reportedly weighing the appointment of Richard Cordray as the Federal Reserve’s head banking regulator, the Wall Street Journal revealed Tuesday.
If Cordray accepts the nomination and is confirmed by the Senate, Cordray would be a powerful overseer of big banks and financial institutions. Cordray would replace at the end of this year Randal Quarles, the vice chair of the Federal Reserve for supervision since 2017.
Cordray was the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) between 2012 and 2017, the first director of the agency created after the 2008 great recession. In 2013, Cordray was confirmed as the director of the CFPB by 12 Republican senators by a vote of 66-34
During Cordray’s tenure, the CFPB tightened consumer finance by clamping down on mortgage lenders’ underwriting standards, along with instituting transparency among credit card companies and hard lenders.
Cordray’s directorship ended at the CFPB in 2017. He then ran for governor of Ohio and lost to Gov. Mike DeWine (R). Before his CFPB appointment, he ran for the House in 1992 and the Senate in 2020 and lost both times. After defeat, Cordray served as Ohio’s treasurer and solicitor general.
Biden’s nomination of Cordray would likely please Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Warren told the WSJ the position should belong to someone who “has the insight to recognize how important regulation is to the effective functioning of the financial markets and has the courage to follow through on that insight.”
Warren is known as a big bank critic and an advocate for increasing oversight on multinational corporations that pay a small effective tax U.S. rate while middle class Americans pay a larger percentage.
Warren, however, supports Biden’s nominee for the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova, who proved too far left to be confirmed and is opposed by five Senate Democrats and all Republicans, dooming her nomination in an evenly divided Senate.
Biden has had trouble filling several top financial posts. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is currently run by an Acting Director while other nominations remain pending.
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