Warren Sees ‘A Lot of Work to Be Done’ for Consumer Protection

(Bloomberg) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat credited with conceiving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said confirmation of a director for the agency is both a major step and a call to vigilance.

“This is a monumentally important week for the CFPB,” Warren said in remarks prepared for an event marking the second anniversary of the agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done, and so long as the CFPB sides with American families over large financial institutions, there will be forces looking to undo its work.”

Richard Cordray was confirmed as director yesterday in a 66-34 Senate vote that followed a two-year battle in which Republican lawmakers blocked action on President Barack Obama’s nomination while seeking changes to the bureau’s structure and funding. Obama had given Cordray the job using a recess appointment that drew Republican ire and a legal challenge.

“This is the week when we can say loudly, clearly, and with confidence: The consumer agency is the law of the land, and it is here to stay,” Warren said in the speech for the event sponsored by Democracy Journal and the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general recruited by Warren to be the bureau’s first enforcement chief when she was setting up the agency as an aide to Obama, was nominated twice and waited more than 700 days for a Senate vote. In exchange for proceeding with the confirmation, Obama agreed to nominate two new candidates to the National Labor Relations Board.

Confirmation of Cordray provides certainty over the bureau’s regulations and enforcement authority. With the Senate vote, the agency will be able to exercise its full authority over large banks and non-bank financial firms, including payday lenders and mortgage originators.

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