During a discussion about the mortgage market Tuesday morning hosted by the Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray said he still has not been satisfied by the performance of mortgage servicers despite improvement in mortgage servicing.
A year ago, I sat down in an exclusive interview with Cordray discussing the future plans of the CFPB, along with his own story of how he got to be in that position.
During the interview, Cordray made sure to emphasize the importance of applying the new rules to servicers.
“There have been a lot of problems in that industry. I have seen them very close up when I was a public official in Ohio. It is important for them to take this very seriously and improve their performance and come into compliance with these rules,” he said at the time.
His opinions haven’t changed much a year later, or even from his time as the Attorney General of Ohio.
However, Cordray did note that the industry is improving, and the bureau now has real teeth behind the rules it created.
Cordray’s discussion with the Brookings Institution also included two other important talking points.
The Institute made a point to emphasize that the bureau, when compared to other government entities, is a model agency for transparency, saying that advocates and experts in transparency would agree that comparatively, the CFPB was one of the best.
Cordray was quick to say that not everyone agrees with this, and for good reason.
The CFPB was in the limelight toward the beginning of 2014 after the House Financial Services Committee subpoenaed two CFPB officials and a union representative to appear before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB.
The issues with the government bureau reaches past its employees, with the CFPB's $215 million headquarter renovation still under severe scrutiny as of Tuesday morning. A government watchdog last July said the plans did not follow the CFPB's internal guidelines.
Meanwhile, according to the results of the CFPB’s annual employee survey, overall employee satisfaction at the CFPB is in fact considerably higher than the Fiscal Year 2013 government-wide average. In other words, working conditions at the CFPB more than meet federal standards.
The director was asked what has been the biggest surprise so far in office, to which he responded with two answers.
1. “We operate in a space that is fairly crowded with other policy makers as well. They’re number of agencies that have rules, and we have to work together if we are going to operate effectively.”
2. “I came to this job from Ohio AG, which is an enforcement position. I was not familiar with the regulation side as much. It takes longer than what I would have wanted, or expected, to work through these issues. Things move slower than I would like but hopefully they come out better at the other end.“