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Consumer watchdog chief Richard Cordray, who sparred with GOP, plans to resign

Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, he will resign. Credit: AP / Jacquelyn Martin

Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said Wednesday he will leave the position by the end of the month.

Corday was appointed by former President Barack Obama. His early resignation will give President Donald Trump a chance to appoint his own director of the powerful agency established in the wake of the financial crisis. A Trump appointee could roll back the protections Cordray and his staff put into place in the agency’s first years.

Cordray’s resignation is not unexpected. The Ohio native had been widely expected to make a run for governor of his home state in 2018, and he could not hold his position as director of the CFPB and run at the same time.

“It has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau,” Cordray said in a memo addressed to agency employees. He did not give a reason for his resignation.

The CFPB was created as part of the laws passed following the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The agency was given a broad mandate to be a watchdog for consumers when they deal with banks, credit card, student loan and mortgage companies, as well as debt collectors and payday lenders.

Cordray took the agency’s mandate aggressively. The bureau implemented or proposed a myriad new regulations for the banking industry, which oftentimes made him a target for the industry’s Washington lobbyists and Congressional Republicans who believed Cordray was overreaching in his role. Some Congressional Republicans had urged Trump to fire Cordray.

Based on Trump’s previous appointments, his choice is likely to be far friendlier to the financial industry than Cordray.

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