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Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

updated 07/16/13 10:28 AM
Part of Broader Senate Deal
The U.S. Senate voted 66-34 on Tuesday to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Although his official nomination was pending since late 2011, he has already been working in the capacity of "director" and leading the bureau.

Financial institutions under $10 billion in assets aren’t directly supervised by the CFPB, but this fact hasn't cured the uneasiness rippling throughout some credit union CEO circles, especially since the industry still shoulders the added workload from disclosure and other compliance requirements.

However, Cordray has said the credit union industry's lending model "is a responsible model, and it deserves to be treated differently under our rules than other types of lending."

His “recess appointment” would have expired at the end of 2013, although the intent behind this appointment was for him to continue his original five-year term. After being nominated by President Barack Obama, but not confirmed by the Senate, Cordray was installed through this controversial recess appointment by Obama in January 2012, and was re-nominated by the president in January 2013.

In that same month, a federal appeals court invalidated Obama’s other recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (Noel Canning v. NLRB) that were made during the same period Cordray was originally appointed, a move that had some constitutional experts calling into question whether the CFPB director’s appointment will remain valid.

Also, another suit in federal court challenged the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (State National Bank of big Spring Texas, et al. v. Geithner et al.), claiming the bureau was unconstitutional because it is politically insulated from the congressional budgetary appropriations process, and thus skirts congressional oversight.

Many Senate Republicans had vowed they would oppose any nominee unless the CFPB's funding and leadership structure were changed. However, the vote went forward Tuesday after the GOP agreed to allow a vote as part of a broader Senate deal on other pending nominations.

In a letter to Cordray, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President and CEO Bill Cheney congratulated Cordray on his confirmation and noted that CUNA and credit unions look forward to continue working with him and his senior staff to protect consumers while minimizing credit unions' regulatory burdens.

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