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Obama Nominates White to SEC, Cordray to CFPB

He was installed in a controversial recess appointment in January 2012, after Senate Republicans promised to block his permanent confirmation absent major changes to the bureau. Under the recess appointment, Cordray would have to step down at the end of this year. Obama is hoping to give him a full five-year term.

“Director Cordray has done a great job, and he still has work to do,” said Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D. “It is time to stop playing politics and confirm Director Cordray.”

The liberal Americans for Financial Reform said Cordray has made a difference in his tenure so far. “Consumers are already better off because of the bureau’s enforcement and rulemaking actions in the markets for credit cards, mortgages and student loans, among other financial products,” they said.

In the last Congress, Senate Republicans called for changing the director-led bureau into a five-person agency. They also wanted to make the bureau’s appropriations subject to Congress, rather than have it come from the Federal Reserve.

Republicans will likely renew this demand, and Democrats will reject it — which would slow Cordray’s nomination.

Still, Cordray may ultimately overcome the threat of a GOP-led filibuster against his confirmation. Having recently been re-elected, Obama may be given wider latitude to pick the members of his team. And the financial industry may quietly encourage Republicans to confirm Cordray, who has developed a good working relationship with industry over the last year.

“He’s done a good job navigating the difficult regulatory environment,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of public policy for the Financial Services Roundtable.

“As director, Richard Cordray has proven himself to be thoughtful, balanced, open minded, accessible and communicative; attributes which are all critical to effectively leading the CFPB’s mission,” said Mortgage Bankers Association CEO David H. Stevens. “As the housing market continues to recover, we need a steady, consistent voice at the helm, and Director Cordray has demonstrated a willingness and ability to listen and learn.”

Cordray’s confirmation will go to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, whose members include Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who helped create the CFPB. She ran for the Senate in 2012 after Republicans said they would block her confirmation if she were nominated to head the bureau.

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