Richard Cordray stepping down from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Richard Cordray, the first appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will resign by the end of the month, he said in an email to employees at the agency.

Cordray himself has been in the crosshairs of some Republicans, and earlier this month Trump reportedly asked a group of lawmakers and financial services interest groups what to do about him, but apparently expressed the view that ousting him would make him a "martyr". Cordray earned a reputation for aggressively pursuing financial malfeasance by Wall Street, drawing praise from the left and ire from the right, and his vacancy gives the Trump administration a chance to reshape the CFPB by curbing its assault on Wall Street banks. Most recently, Congress killed a rule by the bureau that allowed consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies to resolve financial disputes. President Trump is expected to soon announce a replacement who will likely change the direction of the bureau, which was established in 2009 as an outgrowth of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bureau's chief architect was Elizabeth Warren, now a USA senator, who had also been considered a candidate for the post.

"At the @CFPB, Rich Cordray forced the biggest financial institutions to return $12B directly to the people they cheated", Warren tweeted.

Cordray "held big banks accountable". "We are long overdue for new leadership at the CFPB, a rogue agency that has done more to hurt consumers than help them", said Hensarling, who has touted legislation that would strip the agency of many of its powers. He is expected to return to his home state of OH to run for governor. Though he didn't announce his future plans, candidates have until February to formally file their paperwork.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, applauded the news in a release; Hensarling has been a vocal critic of Cordray and the CFPB.

"For conducting unlawful activities, abusing his authority, denying market participants due process, Richard Cordray should be dismissed by our president".

But efforts to oust Cordray were complicated by the CFPB's structure. "I thank Mr. Cordray for always standing up for all Americans and standing up to abusive financial institutions". "But that's the job we're supposed to do". When Wells Fargo was found to have opened millions of phony accounts for its customers, the CFPB fined the bank $100 million, the agency's largest penalty to date.

FILE - In this November 12, 2013, file photo, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray testifies before a Senate Committee on Banking hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau focuses on a variety of financial entities.

In October, the CFPB finaliazed rules that would severely restrict the short-term and payday loan industries.

  • Eleanor Harrison