Obama Gives Consumers Gift, Installs New CFPB Director

There’s a new RESPA sheriff in town, and not a moment too soon for the real estate industry.

Last month, RE-Insider wrote about how important it was for Obama to act and give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) a director. Today, President Obama finally gave consumers what they were promised almost a year and a half ago – somebody to head up the CFPB.

Just this morning, President Obama installed Richard Cordray as head of the CFPB with a recess appointment, testing the limits of his executive authority to fill the post without Senate approval.

“I am now the director and my work will be to protect American consumers,” Cordray said at an airport in Ohio, where he was accompanying the president to a speech on the economy. “I’m going to be 100 percent focused on that.”
Without a director in place, the consumer bureau couldn’t supervise and regulate non-bank financial firms, such as mortgage lenders
Obama nominated Cordray to be the bureau’s first director in July, almost one year after enactment of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law creating the agency. Republicans blocked Cordray’s confirmation by the Senate last month. Putting him in the job today may set up an election-year court fight between the White House and Congress.

Cordray is the former Attorney General of Ohio and was Elizabeth Warren’s choice to head up the enforcement arm of the CFPB when she was the de facto leader of the agency.

Not surprisingly, Republicans were not pleased. House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, called the appointment an “extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab” by the president.

Whatever the politics of the how the appointment was made, someone is finally in charge of the formerly leaderless bureau that plays a critical role in enforcing ethics in the real estate industry. RE-Insider welcomes your thoughts.