Cordray vows to soldier on at consumer bureau

The annual conference brings together policymakers, nonprofits, consumer advocates, small businesses and others to talk about fair housing practices, responsible lending and other consumer protection issues.

Since Cordray’s recess appointment as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last January, he has met resistance from Republican lawmakers who want to see the agency created by Dodd-Frank run by a panel rather than a single leader.

“This country has a tremendous need to restore confidence and reliability to the mortgage market, which as you know is the single largest market for consumer finance,” Cordray told the audience at the Capital Hilton Hotel. “So Congress directed us to take action, and we have delivered — on time and under budget, as they might say of the occasional construction project.”

The CFPB released a slew of mortgage and lending regulations in January, as required by the Dodd-Frank legislation. Other financial agencies are struggling to get around the regulatory red tape and are months — and in some cases, years — late in crafting most rules.

The former Ohio state attorney general made several mentions to the powers given to the new bureau by Congress to craft the new regulations, rebutting critics who say the CFPB is overstepping its bounds.

“The kind of extreme disequilibrium that resulted from inadequate oversight in a market that was only partially regulated is nothing to brag about, and it hurt millions of innocent people caught up in a disaster they could not understand or control,” he said. “So we want to be certain that when the mortgage market recovers, as it surely will, we will never see these shoddy practices ever again.”

Although he spoke to a crowd of groups and individuals that support the agency’s efforts, Cordray drove home points of making marketplaces fairer.

“You are our strong allies in [the CFPB’s] efforts. We are grateful that we have colleagues like you who are so deeply dedicated to our shared mission. Keep your hand on our shoulder, and push us to move ahead,” Cordray concluded.