In an email to CFPB staff on Wednesday, Director Richard Cordray announced that he will resign by the end of November. Although it is rumored that Director Cordray will run for governor of Ohio, he did not specify his future plans in the email.
“[I]t has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau by working alongside all of you here. Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people’s lives,” Director Cordray stated in his email to CFPB staff. He continued, “[T]here is always more work that lies ahead. That would be true at any point, of course, and one thing I have tried to reinforce this year is that the Consumer Bureau is far more than its director. I am confident that you will continue to move forward, nurture this institution we have built together, and maintain its essential value to the American public.”
Director Cordray began a five-year term in July 2013 after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. This vote ended a years-long standoff between Republicans and Democrats over not only Director Cordray’s nomination but also the CFPB’s structure. As many will remember, Director Cordray was renominated for the position in January 2013 after President Obama’s January 2012 recess appointment was vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As Director Cordray noted in his email, the CFPB has accomplished a considerable amount under his watch, including “$12 billion in relief recovered for nearly 30 million consumers; stronger safeguards against irresponsible mortgage practices that caused the financial crisis and hurt millions of Americans; giving people a voice by handling over 1.3 million complaints that led to problems getting fixed for vast numbers of individuals[;] and creating new ways to bring financial education to the public so that people can take more control over their economic lives.”
President Trump will now be tasked with appointing a successor to Director Cordray. This will undoubtedly be a significant opportunity for the Trump administration to shape the policies, rules and regulations governing the financial services industry.
It is unclear who will serve as the acting director while President Trump’s choice is nominated and confirmed. Under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB’s acting deputy director – currently David Silberman – may become the acting head in the “absence or unavailability” of the director. However, Dodd-Frank does not prescribe who takes over when, as in this case, the director is resigning. Raj Shah, deputy press secretary for the White House, said Wednesday that “the administration will announce an acting director and the president’s choice to replace Mr. Cordray at the appropriate time.”