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Who Should Run the CFPB if Cordray Leaves?

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A recent court ruling has cast some doubt over whether the recently renominated Richard Cordray will continue to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The ruling, filed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, deemed recess appointments unconstitutional and Cordray, you may recall, was confirmed via such an appointment by President Barack Obama back in January 2012 after an attempt at a Senate confirmation was filibustered

The White House is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, meaning an actual ousting from office is not imminent. But, even prior to the decision, Cordray's status at the CFPB remained murky. His recess appointment expires at the end of this year and the road to a second confirmation was expected to be just as contentious as the first.

This is largely due to the fact that Republicans oppose the idea of a director in general, believing the position puts unprecedented power in the hands of a single individual. They also take issue with the fact that the CFPB is, as this letter Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently sent to President Obama notes, "insulated from Congressional oversight of its action and its budget."

There's been some speculation the court ruling will lead Democrats to strike a deal with Republicans, but most compromise scenarios would involve some kind of leadership for the CFPB. The most likely deal, for instance, involves replacing the director with a five-member commission.

Who these members would be is up for debate. Many obvious candidates have effectively taken themselves out of the running. Cordray's second-in-command Raj Date left the bureau last Thursday and CFPB founder Elizabeth Warren is currently serving on the Senate Banking committee. 

If Cordray is, in fact, on his way out, who should take his job?  Or, alternately, if a deal is struck between Democrats and Republicans to create a commission, who should chair it? What makes this person a good candidate? Let us know in the comments below.

Jeanine Skowronski is the deputy editor of BankThink. You can contact her at Jeanine.skowronski@sourcemedia.com or follow her at Twitter @JeanineSko.

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Comments (7)
Here's a novel idea: Pick someone who's not a product of the Wall Street-Washington revolving door. Someone free of the Mary Jo White baggage that will require him/her to recuse him/herself of many matters of great importance.
Posted by Neil Weinberg | Tuesday, February 05 2013 at 4:17PM ET
Here's an even MORE novel idea: Let the free market work, rather than creating another inefficient and unnecessary beauracracy that infringes upon the rights of the people to do business. The CFPB is nothing more than a power grab and should simply be disbanded.
Posted by Johnny Tremaine | Wednesday, February 06 2013 at 8:41AM ET
GTodd is right. The CFPB is a frontal assault on constitutional government and free enterprise. Republicans should not like this agency remain in existence. It's regulatory control will lead to less freedom for consumers and more power for the government and large financial institutions.
Posted by parkerco | Wednesday, February 06 2013 at 9:13AM ET
While I would love to see the CFPB disbanded as suggested earlier, that is highly unlikely. My novel idea would be the selection of a community banker. The novelty would be that common sense could actually emanate out of a Washington bureaucracy.
Posted by @MikeBauer_ | Wednesday, February 06 2013 at 9:26AM ET
This is the most dangerous way to regulate. Every rule they make has consequences. We should have the FDIC and OCC regulate banks. Congress should regulate other financial areas. Congress should not deligate something this important to any group of people who are free to write any rule they please. Just look at the budget. They spent 123 Million in 2011, 356 million in 2012 and are projected to spend $448 million in 2013. You can see the trend. There has been a huge reduction in productivity (the kind that results in closed loans) due to their actions to date. This will continue and we will all be the worse for it.
Posted by JAHCitizens | Wednesday, February 06 2013 at 9:40AM ET
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