The head of the beleaguered Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stepping down.
Richard Cordray, who has headed the financial watchdog agency since 2012, announced Wednesday he’ll be leaving in November.
What’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?
The CFBP was created after the financial crisis of 2008 to protect consumers from deception, fraud and abuse by banks and other financial services companies.
The bureau is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The CFPB first launched in 2011, and Cordray was its first director.
CFPB and controversy
While the CFPB has been popular with consumers, it has been unpopular with banks and many Republicans who dislike its regulatory and enforcement capabilities, and who say Congress overstepped its bounds by giving the agency and its director too much independence.
Since its founding, opponents have angled to close down the agency.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis of 2008
Cordray in particular was a lightning rod following enforcement actions against deceptive debt collection tactics, a restriction on arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from banding together for class actions against financial companies, and several enforcement actions against high-interest lenders known as payday lenders. (The arbitration clause restriction was recently overturned by the Trump administration.)
Under Cordray, one of CFPB’s biggest achievements was a consent decree with Wells Fargo in 2016 forcing it to pay $185 million in fines for opening over 2 million fraudulent credit card and deposit accounts in customers’ names. Under Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has helped 29 million consumers win back $12 billion in canceled debts and refunds, according to the New York Times.
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Cordray, a Democrat, was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1990 for one term. He was also that state’s Attorney General. There is some speculation that Cordray may run for the Ohio governorship.