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Obama Sidesteps Senate Blockade With Recess Appointment of Cordray

President Obama on Wednesday exercised his executive power by using Congress' recess to appoint Richard Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), devoid of a Senate confirmation vote.
[IMAGE] Without a confirmed director, the CFPB's reach was limited. Now that Obama has single-handedly positioned Cordray at the helm, the bureau has the authority to extend its regulatory powers to non-bank entities such as mortgage brokers and non-depository lenders.

Obama made the announcement at a high school assembly in the Shaker Heights suburb of Cordray's hometown Cleveland, Ohio.

""Today I'm appointing Richard as America's consumer watchdog,"" the president said to the local crowd. ""His job will be to protect families like yours from the abuses of the financial industry. His job will be to make sure you've got all the information you need to make important financial decisions.

""Right away, he'll start working to make sure millions of Americans are treated fairly by mortgage brokers, payday lenders, and debt collectors. In fact, just this week, his agency is opening up a simple, 1-800 number you can call to make sure you're getting a fair deal on your mortgage, and hold banks and brokers accountable if you're not,"" Obama said.

Market analysts anticipate Cordray's appointment will allow the CFPB to immediately address several mortgage-

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related tasks at hand, such as simplifying borrower disclosures and shaping the definition of Dodd-Frank's ""qualified mortgage.""

With his background as the former attorney general of Ohio, it's also expected that Cordray could help to move negotiations along between major mortgage servicers and state attorneys general to arrive at a robo-signing settlement.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement Wednesday following the president’s announcement saying, “American families finally have the consumer advocate we've needed for so long….I applaud the President's decisive action in appointing Richard to this important position.”

Harris went on to say, “We're at a critical moment for the middle-class in America, and we urgently need strong oversight of our financial institutions and accountability for wrongdoing. Richard Cordray is the right person at the right time to get this job done and be a strong partner with state attorneys general.""

As the state of Ohio’s attorney general, Cordray made headlines for his investigations of servicers’ foreclosure practices and the many actions he took against fraudulent foreclosure rescue companies.

He stepped down from the attorney general role in December of 2010 when he was tapped to build out the CFPB’s enforcement team and has led the bureau’s enforcement division ever since then.

President Obama nominated Cordray to the director’s post back in July. Senate Republicans, though, vowed to block his confirmation from the onset. They said it wasn’t Cordray’s qualifications they objected to, but that he’d be sitting atop the CFPB all alone. Republicans have been pushing for the role of bureau chief to be replaced by a five-member committee.

There are murmurings that Republican lawmakers may challenge President Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray in court.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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