In 2007, the American economy was shaken to its core. Trillions of dollars in wealth disappeared. Once vibrant communities became victims of foreclosure and neighborhood blight. Businesses folded and many Americans lost their jobs as a direct consequence of the financial crisis.
Minority communities throughout the nation were especially impacted, with neighborhoods like the African-American suburb of Prince George’s County losing half of all newly built homes to foreclosure. Nationally, the wealth of African-American families dropped a staggering 53 percent. Without question, a large part of that decline was a direct consequence of predatory lending practices by the financial services industry, targeted at communities of color, and the absence of a strong, independent federal regulator with the ability to stop it.
Yet, rather than support those efforts, Congressional Republicans are determined to hamper the success of the CFPB by attacking Director Cordray and trying to convince the Trump administration to remove him from his position. Their attacks are without cause.
Throughout his nearly four-year tenure, Director Cordray has amassed an impressive record of protecting consumers. For minority borrowers, the common targets of financial predation, the impact of his leadership has been especially significant. Under Director Cordray, the CFPB has brought nearly a dozen enforcement actions against financial service providers that overcharged or restricted access for minority borrowers. This led to nearly $30 million in civil monetary penalties and over $400 million in restitution for approximately 1.4 million affected minority consumers.
Despite the millions of minorities who have benefitted directly from the CFPB’s efforts, Republicans are feigning concern for racial minorities as a justification for the removal of Director Cordray. The CFPB, like many federal agencies, has dealt with allegations of racial discrimination. However, Director Cordray has proven his commitment towards eliminating any patterns of discrimination and instituting effective strategies to combat practices that may have disparate effects on employees of color.
When an internal report designed to evaluate the CFPB’s Performance Management Rating system revealed disparate treatment for certain categories of employees several years ago, Director Cordray directed changes to the CFPB’s performance rating system and proactively compensated all past and current employees who may have potentially been harmed. He also empowered a joint labor-management working group within the CFPB to monitor the performance rating system, identify any disparities and their causes, and recommend changes.
We applaud Director Cordray’s recognition that racial discrimination has no place in the federal government. We encourage Congressional Republicans and the incoming administration to adopt that same zero-tolerance policy when considering all candidates for federal office.
Communities of color and, indeed, all consumers in America, will continue to benefit from having Director Cordray remain in his position and implement the mandates imposed upon him by Congress as the Director of the CFPB. Director Cordray has our unyielding support as the leader of America’s most important consumer protection agency.
The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress. This op-ed was endorsed by the following caucus members: Representative Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, Representative Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Alma Adams, Representative Karen BassKaren BassIndependent investigation into Russian interference needed Black Dems tell Trump: ‘We have a lot to lose’ A guide to the committees: House MORE, Representative Joyce BeattyJoyce BeattyTrump should work with Congress to block regulations on prepaid cards A guide to the committees: House CBC to Trump: Keep Richard Cordray, ensure the protection of American consumers MORE, Representative Anthony Brown, Representative G. K. Butterfield, Representative André Carson, Representative Yvette Clarke Representative William Lacy Clay, Jr., Representative Emanuel Cleaver, Representative Jim Clyburn, Representative John Conyers, Jr., Representative Elijah Cummings, Representative Danny K. Davis, Representative Val Demings, Representative Keith Ellison, Representative Dwight Evans, Representative Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeDems announce 'unity commission' members If Democrats want to take back the White House start now A guide to the committees: House MORE, Representative Al GreenAl GreenHouse Dems ask Fed to consider diverse candidates to fill Richmond vacancy GOP makes case for firing consumer bureau chief Dem claims, without evidence, that some Trump dossier allegations are true MORE, Representative Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeeDem wants hearing after United passenger dragged off flight Members jam with Wynonna Judd, Keith Urban at Grammys on the Hill Dem rep: Trump WH, conservatives are attacking black women MORE, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Representative Hank Johnson, Representative Brenda Lawrence, Representative Al Lawson, Representative Barbara Lee, Representative John Lewis, Representative Gregory Meeks, Representative Gwen MooreGwen MooreHouse Dems ask Fed to consider diverse candidates to fill Richmond vacancy Black Dems tell Trump: ‘We have a lot to lose’ Dem rep to introduce bill to block use of federal funds for Trump's border wall MORE, Representative Donald Payne, Jr., Delegate Stacey Plaskett, Representative Bobby Rush, Representative Robert “Bobby” Scott, Representative Terri SewellTerri SewellA guide to the committees: House CBC to Trump: Keep Richard Cordray, ensure the protection of American consumers WHIP LIST: More than 60 Dems boycotting Trump's inauguration MORE, Representative Bennie Thompson, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Representative Frederica WilsonFrederica WilsonA guide to the committees: House CBC to Trump: Keep Richard Cordray, ensure the protection of American consumers On Africa, will isolationist Trump fight an internationalist Congress? MORE.
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