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CFPB lead enforcer hits accelerator on federal regulations

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The lead enforcer of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spoke of his agency's federal enforcement initiatives to a gathering of state attorneys general Tuesday. Former Ohio attorney general, now CFPB top cop, Richard Cordray, gave a five-point outline on the direction the agency plans to go, once it finally gets moving July 1. The agency is created under Dodd-Frank regulatory reform. Its charge is to essentially protect the American consumer from unfair business practices, including predatory mortgage lending. Cordray himself, as Ohio AG, set out to dismantle any such mortgage servicer during his tenure, going after big names such as GMAC. On Tuesday, he focused little time on the mortgage morass. Media outlets on Monday wrote about a proposed major plan of attack against mortgage servicers, that is set out in proposed term sheet that was leaked to the media. Last year, in an exclusive interview with HousingWire, Cordray said that he felt mortgage lenders do not do enough for consumers. What's more, they do not take their social responsibility seriously. Cordray may be satisfied that a statewide initiative is enough, considering his remarks Tuesday focused more on payday lending, removing unnecessary regulations and enforcing the CARD Act. "I know that you are continuing to try to clean up the mess in each of your own states," he said, in reference to foreclosure issues. His attack on mortgage originations during the speech, on the other hand, dealt more with prior underwriting practices. His other comments about mortgage financing concerned the impact of too much paper work in regulation, and how one umbrella agency will help streamline enforcement. "Here is an outstanding example: Two distinct federal agencies are responsible for administering the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act," Cordray said. "These two agencies have had discussions, going back for 15 years, about harmonization and simplification of the mortgage disclosure forms mandated under each law – which you no doubt have noticed kills whole forests to provide the paper for ordinary real estate closings." "Now, the consumer bureau is aiming to accomplish within one year what has been contemplated but not achieved for a decade and a half – and we think we have made real progress even before that one-year clock has started ticking," he added. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @JacobGaffney.

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