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Attorneys general admit doubts on CFPB

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Uncertainty will loom over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as long as the novice agency sits in the middle of a political debate over funding and structural issues, state attorneys general and government regulators conceded Tuesday. During the Residential Mortgage Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement Conference in Dallas, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller commended Richard Cordray, the former Ohio AG appointed by President Obama to serve as CFPB director. Zoeller supports Cordray as a person and professional: "Richard is an excellent person to run the thing." Yet, Zoeller admitted he personally declined to sign a letter in support of the director's appointment because he believes the legislature should fix the CFPB's structural issues before a leader is declared. Zoeller considers the confirmation hearing dispute to be the Legislature's last ditch effort to fix the consumer agency's systemic issues. "Not having a Chairman confirmed is the only way the legislature can have a rethinking of the entire process, which is needed," Zoeller said. One of the issues troubling Zoeller is the CFPB's apparent lack of appropriate oversight and the fact it receives funding directly from the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said "it's very frustrating to us not to have something in place by now." He also commended Richard Cordray, saying "Rich is very smart and he'll do a good job. It would be great to have leadership in place." King said AGs are in a holding pattern in terms of giving specific direction when it comes to the new regulatory environment. "There is no need to pass state regulation until we know what the regulations will be," King explained. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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