Richard Cordray new pick for consumer bureau head

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

UPDATED REPORT

STACEY VANEK SMITH: Today President Obama will announce his nomination for head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is getting the nod, which means Obama is passing over Elizabeth Warren -- the favorite of many consumer groups.

Our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale has more.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Cordray is praised as an aggressive consumer advocate who went after big banks during his two years as attorney general. He's already on the staff of the Financial Protection Bureau, which officially opens its doors this Thursday.

Ed Mills with FBR Capital Markets says Cordray is a good second choice for those who like Elizabeth Warren.

ED MILLS: He's someone who's made a national reputation for going after Wall Street firms. He has had strong anti-Wall Street rhetoric in his campaign for re-election as state attorney general. I think up on Capitol Hill there's going to be a lot of concern especially among congressional Republicans about his record.

Senate republicans say they have no intention to vote for any White House nominee until the Obama administration accepts changes in the Financial Protection Bureau to make it more accountable for its $500 million budget. Until the bureau has a congressionally approved director, it cannot write or enforce new banking rules.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.



ORIGINAL INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: Later this morning President Obama will announce his nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It's not Elizabeth Warren. It's a guy named Richard Cordray. He's the former attorney general of Ohio.

Marketplace's Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale joins us live with the details. Good morning, John.

JOHN DIMSDALE: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: Well, who is this guy -- Richard Cordray?

DIMSDALE: Well, like you say, first of all he's not Elizabeth Warren. She came up with the whole idea of a Consumer Protection Bureau. But she's been such an outspoken critic of banks that she made enemies in the industry and among republicans. So Cordray is the fallback candidate. He's praised by consumer groups. He went after big banks when he was Ohio attorney general. He's already on the consumer protection bureau's staff as chief of enforcement. But it's not clear that he could be approved by the Senate because Republicans have been pushing form reforms that would make the bureau more accountable for its $500 million budget. He must be pretty smart, though. He was a Jeopardy champion for five days back in the 80s.

HOBSON: Really? Well, the bureau, John, is going to open up later this week. Are they ready?

DIMSDALE: Elizabeth Warren, as a special adviser to the President, has been setting up the bureau. She's hired 400 employees. One of them, associate director Raj Date says that the bureau plans major changes in banking rules.

RAJ DATE: It's very difficult to find anybody, frankly, around the business or in regulatory bodies who looks at consumer finance regulation as it has been done for the past ten years and says, "Yeah that seemed to work, let's do more of that."

But, until the bureau gets a Congressionally approved director, it can't write or enforce new rules and regulations that banks have to follow.

HOBSON: Marketplace's John Dimsdale in Washington. John, thanks.

DIMSDALE: Thanks Jeremy.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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