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The CFPB Gets a Director

posted by Adam Levitin

The CFPB is finally getting a Director, which enables it to exercise its full range of powers. It's good to see this Administration show some backbone. Better late than never, I guess, and Rich Cordray is a great pick.

While this is a step forward, I worry that the CFPB and Director Cordray will feel that they have to walk on eggshells so as not to rile Congressional Republicans and draw continued scrutiny. There's a fine line that the CFPB will have to navigate in terms of what fights to pick--there are some fights it needs to have and some that are better to avoid to live to fight another day, but I'm happy to see this as the new problem for the CFPB.        


One point about Rich Cordray's recess appointment that hasn't been discussed is that it will expire in time for him to return to Ohio to run for the Democratic nomination for governor and then, assuming he wins, to oppose Gov. John Kasich in 2014. At this time, Kasich is quite vulnerable, as the law restricting Ohio public employees' collective bargaining rights that he championed was overturned decisively in a referendum this past November. A lot can change between now and November 2014, but if Rich does seek and win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, he will be sure to have very strong union support against Kasich.

Rich also will be able to run as an advocate for consumers, although Kasich surely will claim that Rich has been a "job-killer" by overregulating the consumer financial services marketplace. This may prove to be true; time will tell. One thing is certain: the CFPB (and the Dodd-Frank Act in general) has created lots of jobs for CFS (and other) lawyers and consultants. (This may (read: will) not be the type of job creation that Pres. Obama will want to tout during the 2012 campaign.)

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