News Releases

CONSUMER PROTECTION: Murray Calls On Colleagues to Support Nominee for Critical Consumer Financial Protection Post

Dec 08 2011

CFPB protects families and consumers against financial scams and fraud; Bureau has hands tied until director is confirmed by the Senate

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) submitted the following statement into the record in support of the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A vote is expected later this morning.

Key excerpts:

“.. .for far too long, the financial rules of the road had not favored the American people. They were tilted toward big banks, credit card companies, and Wall Street—and they were twisted and abused to make sure no matter what happened, the financial industry would come out ahead.”

“The mission of this new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is clear. To make sure that consumers come first—that the financial industry can no longer pull fast-ones on their customers—and fundamentally, that the markets for consumer financial products and services actually work for all Americans.”

“…without a confirmed director, they are simply unable to do everything possible to stand up for middle class families. Their hands are tied. Without a confirmed director, the CFPB doesn’t have the full authority to protect consumers who use non-bank financial institutions such as payday lenders, credit-reporting agencies, and debt collectors—which are services many working families depend on—as well as so many of our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. M. President—this isn’t right.”

“Richard Cordray has been serving as the Chief of Enforcement at the CFPB—so he understands the mission and the need to fight for the rules that protect consumers…He has received support from Democrats and Republicans—and he is the right man for the job.”

“But…the Republicans who have come out in opposition to this nomination don’t seem to be opposing Richard Cordray.  They seem to be opposed to the very idea that anyone should be in a position to stand up for consumers and families in the financial products market.”

“…once again we have a simple choice before us in the U.S. Senate. Do you stand up for middle class families who deserve to be protected from scams and financial gimmicks? Or do you stand up for the big banks and Wall Street firms that are scared to death that a powerful consumer advocate will cut into their fat profits and big bonuses? I know where the American people stand. I stand with them.  And I truly hope that Republicans have a change of heart and stand with us to confirm this highly capable and effective nominee so the CFPB can do the job the American people expect and deserve.”

The full text of Murray’s statement follows:

“Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak about the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to urge my colleagues to join me in voting in support of his confirmation.

“In July of last year, I was proud to join many of my colleagues in the Senate to pass comprehensive Wall Street Reform legislation that is already working to: protect middle class families, hold Wall Street accountable, and put in place policies to make sure taxpayers will never again be left holding the bag for the big banks’ mistakes.

“I supported this legislation because, for far too long, the financial rules of the road had not favored the American people.

“They were tilted toward big banks, credit card companies, and Wall Street—and they were twisted and abused to make sure no matter what happened, the financial industry would come out ahead.

“When the economy was roaring, the big banks made enormous sums of money and handed out huge bonuses to their employees.

“But when the products they created brought down the banks and pulled Main Street down with them—it was the taxpayers who had to foot the bill to prevent absolute calamity.

“Wall Street had a pretty good system going for a while: Heads they won—tails the taxpayers lost.

“So Mr. President—to correct this, we fought to pass Wall Street Reform last year over Republican objections—and we took a huge step in the right direction.  We strengthened the rules. We increased the oversight. And critically, we created the first-ever agency dedicated to protecting middle class families, seniors, and small business owners from the financial fraud and scams that have devastated so many.

“The mission of this new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is clear. To make sure that consumers come first—that the financial industry can no longer pull fast-ones on their customers—and fundamentally, that the markets for consumer financial products and services actually work for all Americans.

“The CFPB’s job is to help consumers understand the financial products that are being marketed to them every day—because we know the big banks win when the American people don’t understand the fine print. And it’s to make sure that the financial firms are playing by the rules—and to stand up for the American people and enforce those rules if consumers are being lied to, scammed, or cheated. 

“Over the last year the CFPB has been staffing up and ramping up—and has already started working to protect consumers.

“But M. President, without a confirmed director, they are simply unable to do everything possible to stand up for middle class families. Their hands are tied.

“Without a confirmed director, the CFPB doesn’t have the full authority to protect consumers who use non-bank financial institutions such as payday lenders, credit-reporting agencies, and debt collectors—which are services many working families depend on—as well as so many of our nation’s veterans and servicemembers.

“Mr. President—this isn’t right.

“We created the CFPB to protect all families and consumers—and we need to confirm a director to give them the tools they need to do that.

“I was proud to support President Obama’s appointment of Elizabeth Warren to help set up the new bureau. I think she did a fantastic job.  And I am deeply disappointed that Republicans were so opposed to her work standing up for middle class families against the big banks that they said they would block any attempt to name her as full time director.

“I thought the way Elizabeth Warren was treated by Senate Republicans was truly shameful—but she hasn’t given up, and she is still fighting for the middle class families and consumers she has always been such a passionate advocate for.

“So Mr. President—I am very glad that President Obama nominated another strong advocate for the middle class to fill this role.

“Richard Cordray has been serving as the Chief of Enforcement at the CFPB—so he understands the mission and the need to fight for the rules that protect consumers.

“He previously served as Attorney General and State Treasurer in Ohio, where he amassed a strong record of standing up for seniors, investors, business owners, and consumers.

“He has received support from Democrats and Republicans—and he is the right man for the job.

“But Mr. President—the Republicans who have come out in opposition to this nomination don’t seem to be opposing Richard Cordray.

“They seem to be opposed to the very idea that anyone should be in a position to stand up for consumers and families in the financial products market.

“They want to keep this position open—because they are worried that this agency is going to have too much power.

“Well Mr. President—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was designed to have power.

“It was created to put that power in the hands of middle class families and consumers—and to take some away from the big banks and credit card companies who had it all before.

“So Mr. President—once again we have a simple choice before us in the U.S. Senate. Do you stand up for middle class families who deserve to be protected from scams and financial gimmicks? Or do you stand up for the big banks and Wall Street firms that are scared to death that a powerful consumer advocate will cut into their fat profits and big bonuses?

“I know where the American people stand. I stand with them.  And I truly hope that Republicans have a change of heart and stand with us to confirm this highly capable and effective nominee so the CFPB can do the job the American people expect and deserve.

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”