Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray announced on Wednesday that he will resign at the end of November. Republicans frequently chastised Cordray, alleging that he abused his power as director of the agency.
Cordray wrote in an email to agency staff that he expects to “step down from his position here before the end of the month.”
“As I have said many times, but feel just as much today as I ever have, 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 added.
Cordray led the CFPB since the agency was created in 2011 through the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. Republicans frequently criticized Cordray for his aggressive actions against the financial industry. Republicans, including House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), argued that he abused his power as director of the CFPB.
In Cordray’s memo to his staffers, he touted the roughly $12 billion that the agency returned to consumers through agency lawsuits and enforcement.
Cordray said, “Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people’s lives.”
Cordray’s exit from the CFPB does not surprise pundits. Cordray, a Democrat, served as Ohio’s attorney general and treasurer and reportedly has been mulling a run for Ohio governor. Hensarling asked the Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether Cordray violated the Hatch Act over reports that he was running for governor of Ohio.
The House passed the Financial CHOICE Act, which would repeal sections of Dodd-Frank and would allow the president to remove the CFPB director without cause, compared to current law which prevents the president to remove the head of the agency at will. Democrats have opposed any reform to the CFPB, although they may remain more willing to compromise with Republicans now that President Donald Trump can appoint a Republican director of the CFPB who will wield large power over the financial oversight agency.
Financial Services Chairman Hensarling said in a statement:
The resignation of the Bureau’s director is an excellent opportunity to enact desperately needed reforms. 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. That’s the best way to provide consumers with more affordable choices for the financial products and services they want and need. Americans deserve the opportunity to choose the checking account they want, the mortgage they want and the credit card they want. I look forward to working with President Trump’s choice for CFPB director to protect consumers.
Ken Blackwell, former domestic policy adviser to the Trump transition team, said in a statement:
Today is welcome news for all consumers as Richard Cordray will no longer be able to misuse the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) unchecked power and resources to reward his liberal donors and friends. Under his direction, the CFPB has issued thousands of pages of crushing regulations, some of which have irreparably harmed consumers, and crippled American businesses. If Director Cordray decides to run for Governor, which is highly anticipated, the people of Ohio should be wary of his crony behavior and reject his candidacy outright.
Congressman French Hill (R-AZ) said in a statement, “The CFPB has been arguably the least accountable independent government agency. I’m pleased to hear that Director Cordray will be stepping down. We need new leadership that brings accountability to this rogue agency and respects our laws while implementing much-needed reforms.”