Kirk should put Illinois consumers before politics

Written by Tom Feltner on December 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act– opened its doors on July 21.  It’s the nation’s first ever agency with the sole mission of preventing abusive, deceptive and discriminatory consumer products and practices.

 

But without a permanent Director in place, the CFPB is limited in its authority to protect consumers and consumers remain at risk.

And why hasn’t a director been confirmed?  Richard Cordray has been nominated to fill the job, and his nomination has passed the Senate banking committee.  Cordray is a former Ohio Attorney General who led efforts to hold banks accountable for abusive lending and servicing.  And he has received support from a broad range of individuals and groups, including community and consumer organizations, businesses large and small, bankers, and virtually every editorial board in his home State.

In October, 37 state Attorneys General–from both parties–sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging confirmation of Richard Cordray. They call Mr. Cordray “an honest broker and strong advocate for business and consumers that are committed to following the rules.”

But despite strong support, most Republicans Senators, including Senator Mark Kirk, continue to block Richard Cordray’s nomination. They are insisting that the Bureau first be stripped of its independence and be subject to an annual budget process that is sure to slash its ability to field examiners dedicated to protecting consumers from unsafe products and practices.

As the Senate prepares to vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination, the choice for Senator Mark Kirk is clear. Confirm Richard Cordray, a well-qualified nominee, to head the new CFPB. Otherwise, the CFPB cannot do its job. That would leave all consumers at the mercy of unscrupulous lenders, whether banks, for-profit schools, mortgage companies or payday lenders.