Sen. Scott Brown parts ways with Senate GOP on Consumer Bureau

Cordray was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in October on a party line vote. However, his nomination has stalled in the full Senate, where 44 Republican senators are sticking to their vow to block any nominee to direct the bureau unless changes are made to its structure, which they say will make it more accountable.

Those numbers mean that Brown's endorsement, at least for now, does little to change the status of Cordray's nomination, as a sufficient number of Republicans will still be able to block the nomination from coming forward. Brown was one of three GOP senators to not sign on to the original blockade.

President Obama tapped Cordray to serve as the bureau's first director in July, passing over Warren, who came up with the idea for the agency and was its de facto face as it was being created. Shortly after the selection, Warren stepped down as the president's special advisor for the CFPB, returning to Massachusetts to announce an election bid against Brown. Senate Democrats have made Brown one of their top targets in 2012, after his surprise win of the seat long held by Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The endorsement also does not mark the first time Brown has bucked his party when it comes to regulating Wall Street, as his vote helped push the Dodd-Frank financial reform law — which created the CFPB — over the top.