On January 4, President Obama, via a recess appointment, installed Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or the Bureau). The appointment was the latest battle in what promises to be a "long war" between the president and Senate Republicans over the future of the CFPB, its structure, and the extent of its powers.
Despite the political issues that continue to surround Director Cordray's appointment, the very fact of that appointment, as well as Cordray's background as the Bureau's Chief of Enforcement and as Ohio Attorney General, signal the Obama administration's commitment to building the CFPB into a vigorous agency. Indeed, just one day into his tenure, Director Cordray told an audience at the Brookings Institution that the Bureau had opened several investigations, some of which may require enforcement action. The following week, PHH Corp., a mortgage lender based in New Jersey, became the first company to publicly disclose a CFPB investigation.
Given these clear indications that the CFPB intends to move quickly to carry out its consumer protection mandate, entities and individuals who are within the Bureau's jurisdiction must become familiar with its powers and practices. This White Paper provides guidance on the CFPB's structure, its supervision and enforcement authority, and what regulated entities and individuals might expect from this new agency.