Acting CFPB Director Uejio Plans for Active Role in Interim Posting

Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) David Uejio does not intend to be a passive functionary as Biden administration nominee Rohit Chopra awaits Senate confirmation, telling staff in an email that he intends to begin focusing on the new administration’s priorities ahead of Chopra’s confirmation. This is according to an internal CFPB staff email obtained by Bloomberg Law.

“I believe the bureau can and must do more to meet the moment to ensure we are taking all available measures to protect consumers, particularly the most vulnerable,” Uejio wrote in the email according to the outlet.

Additionally, Uejio described that he intends not to function merely “as a steward” while Chopra awaits Senate confirmation, indicating that he plans on serving as a very active interim CFPB director as the administration works with Congress to determine a hearing schedule and confirmation timeline for a whole host of cabinet positions and appointees.

In his email to CFPB staff, Uejio said that meeting the needs of consumers created during the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing racial inequities in lending are his top priorities, according to Bloomberg Law.

The choice of Ueijo to serve as acting CFPB director is an “inspired choice” according to Brian Johnson, a former deputy CFPB director under Former Director Kathleen Kraninger.

“Uejio’s work at the CFPB made him a sort of internal consultant that helped its units develop ways to effectively implement strategies,” wrote Bloomberg Law reporter Evan Weinberger based on input from Johnson.

The CFPB maintains regulatory authority over the reverse mortgage industry at the national level. Uejio became the acting head at the Bureau on the same day the last Senate-confirmed director, Kathleen Kraninger, resigned from her position at the request of the Biden administration.

Installation of temporary leadership in lieu of Senate confirmation for permanent appointments is a regular occurrence in any transition, but Kraninger was initially sworn in for a five-year term prior to a U.S. Supreme Court decision which made it possible for a sitting president to dismiss the CFPB director from the position.

Official portrait of FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra

Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra

President Joe Biden named Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as his nominee to lead the CFPB one day prior to his inauguration. In 2011 after the CFPB was established, Chopra joined the agency to expose abuses in the student lending market, serving as assistant director. In a tweet last Monday, CFPB architect Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that the choices of Chopra and
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominee Gary Gensler indicate that the president “couldn’t have made better picks,” she said.

As of Monday, a confirmation hearing for Chopra had not yet been scheduled by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. However, expected incoming committee chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) praised Chopra’s history at the FTC and the CFPB, calling his pick to become CFPB director a “bold choice.”

“I am confident that Mr. Chopra will not only return the CFPB to its central mission – protecting consumers – but also ensure the agency plays a leading role in combating racial inequities in our financial system,” Brown said in a statement.

Read the story on Acting Director Uejio’s notice to CFPB staff at Bloomberg Law.

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