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Consumer Bankers Association to Cordray: ItÕ time to put up or shut up about Ohio

CBA wants answers on whether CFPB director plans to run for governor in Ohio

Despite seemingly overwhelming rumors about Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray’s supposed intention to step down and run for governor of Ohio, thus far, Cordray has done nothing one way or the other to stamp out the rumors about his future.

All the while, the noise surrounding Cordray’s future keeps getting louder and louder.

And according to the Consumer Bankers Association, the cloud of uncertainty hovering around Cordray is now negatively affecting the CFPB’s ability to function and the financial services industry’s ability to plan for the future.

“It is well past time Director Richard Cordray clarify his intentions to run for public office as the speculation has become a distraction and now casts a shadow over the impartiality of the CFPB,” CBA President and CEO Richard Hunt said Friday in a note to the group’s members. “We need to have stability at the CFPB.”

According to Hunt, the mounting speculation about Cordray’s future is another sign that the CFPB should not be run by a single director, but rather by a bipartisan commission.

“The current limbo – will he or won't he? – is just the latest reason why a Senate-confirmed, bipartisan commission must be established at the CFPB,” Hunt said. “A diverse group of experts directing and formulating agency policy – not a single director – would ensure consumers receive a balanced, deliberative and thoughtful approach to regulation.”

This isn’t the first time that the CBA has called for a bipartisan commission to run the CFPB.

Back in the June, the CBA joined more than 20 of the housing industry’s largest trade groups to call on Congress to enact legislation that would change the leadership structure of the CFPB from a single director to a bipartisan commission.

There is currently legislation making its way through Congress that would change how the CFPB is structured, but would not replace the bureau’s single director with a commission.

Recently, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Republican-crafted Financial CHOICE Act, which would abolish the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The version of the Financial CHOICE Act that passed the House would change the structure of the CFPB to make the director fireable at will by the president, rather than for cause only, as it stands now.

The original version of the Financial CHOICE Act would have seen the single director replaced by a commission, but that stipulation didn’t make it into the updated Financial CHOICE Act.

As Hunt notes, Corday is rumored to officially declare his intentions next month.

“Currently, Director Cordray is scheduled to speak at the Ohio Land Bank Conference in Cleveland, Ohio on September 12th, 2017,” Hunt writes. “Also, he is rumored to appear at an Ohio AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic. Could these appearances have implications for a potential run for office?”

The Ohio Democratic Party recently announced that its first debate for the party’s nomination for governor would be held on September 7, leading to more speculation that Corday will step down over Labor Day weekend.

“The markets and consumers demand stability, and announcing his intentions is just the right thing to do,” Hunt concludes.

But for now, the industry is left waiting to see what Cordray is going to do next.

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