President Barack Obama’s decision to install Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expands the agency’s reach into non-bank firms blamed for helping to spark the 2008 credit crisis.

The consumer bureau, which started work on July 21, needed to have a director to carry out the full authority bestowed by the Dodd-Frank Act. Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, activates responsibilities for supervising and regulating companies such as loan originators and credit bureaus as well as traditional lenders.

“With a director finally in place and no question about its powers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can start scrutinizing unfair practices by debt collectors, mortgage brokers, credit reporting agencies, and predatory payday lenders,” Lauren Saunders, managing attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said in an e-mailed statement.

Obama pushed for creation of the consumer bureau after lawmakers accused existing regulators of doing too little to protect the public before credit markets collapsed in 2008. Congressional Republicans, who opposed Democrats’ plans for the agency in talks leading to passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010, sought to block the seating of a director until changes were made in its funding and structure.

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