Support Surges in Ohio for Cordray as Nation’s Chief Consumer Cop

For immediate release

September 1, 2011

Support Surges in Ohio for Cordray as Nation’s Chief Consumer Cop

Senate Confirmation Hearings for former Ohio AG scheduled to begin Tuesday, Sept. 6

Consumer and housing advocates, big city mayors, public officials, faith-based groups and statewide nonprofits join an A-list of state business and financial industry leaders in urging the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Richard Cordray as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

(CFPB). Confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin September 6.

Complicating the hearing process is a Senate movement to undermine the agency’s autonomy. A camp of Republican senators (including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman) wants, among other things, to set up a council of federal banking and financial regulators that has the ability to overrule CFPB initiatives. The concept riles advocates.

“The CFPB is one of the most important things Congress did to address a run-amuck financial industry. Now some Senate members want to gut its powers before it can begin its job protecting American consumers,” said Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and a strong proponent of Cordray’s director bid.

“44 senators have said they will deny confirmation to any nominee unless the Bureau’s powers are first weakened,” said Faith. “If they stick with that position they will be holding Cordray’s confirmation hostage in order to weaken the agency and conduct business as usual.

“Defending the status quo is what got us into our current mess. We need a strong independent agency whose number one concern is protecting consumers and averting future disasters.”

The CFPB was established last year in the wake of the mortgage meltdown to help protect consumer interests in the financial services industry. It was the failure of the current bank regulators to stop predatory mortgage lending and other reckless Wall Street practices that crippled the U.S. and world economies and brought on the current recession.

Ohio continues to feel the pain brought on by abusive financial products and services, Faith said. There were more than 85,000 new foreclosure filings last year. Hundreds of payday lenders are charging more than 391% APR and still circumventing the 2008 rate cap law; rent-to-own stores are charging three times the value for used goods; and dozens of foreclosure rescue scammers are taking money from struggling homeowners, completely unregulated.

Like COHHIO, Policy Matters Ohio and Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) have worked closely with Richard Cordray and see the benefits his leadership could bring to Ohio and the nation.

“Rich is an innovative and sharp policymaker,” said David Rothstein of Policy Matters Ohio and the New AmericaFoundation. In his role as Ohio Treasurer, he said, Cordray worked with banks to create a 12-month linked-deposit savings program. “He understands that for economic markets to work for everyone, there must be some basic rules around financial products and services.”

While acting as Ohio’s Attorney General, Cordray protected consumers by battling payday lenders, mortgage foreclosure scams, and misclassification of employees. “Ohio’s economy is in disarray in part because of the lack of regulation over financial products - we simply cannot afford petty politics,” Rothstein said.

As Ohio Attorney General, Cordray stood up for homeowners facing foreclosure, battled Wall Street banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, went after loan servicers like GMAC Mortgage and even won over a billion dollars in lawsuits from financial giant AIG, said Mark Seifert, Executive Director of ESOP. 

In his new role Cordray will have greater authority to protect consumers across the country from unfair practices involving mortgages and foreclosures.

“Richard brings the best of both worlds,” said Seifert. “He has been on the ground with this issue but he’s also well-versed in the larger policy implications and takes a pragmatic approach to protecting consumers.

“He gets that this is about protecting a level playing field on both sides,” said Seifert. “Just because you’re a bank doesn’t mean he’s coming after you. He doesn’t have an axe to grind.  He’s not an ideologue.  But if you rip off consumers, he will come after you and he’ll be tough.  Consumer fairness is something that benefits everyone.  It’s good for our communities and it’s good for Wall Street.”

In advance of the hearings on Tuesday, more than 60 Ohio organizations and public officials have signed a letter endorsing Cordray (below). The letter highlights Cordray’s broad experience as an Ohio lawmaker, county and state treasurer, and attorney general; and his reputation as a man of impeccable integrity and fairness.

“He is truly one of the finest public servants and all-around outstanding individuals and leaders I have ever had the privilege to know,” wrote Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice when signing on to the letter.

A joint letter of support for Cordray was also recently sent to the U.S. Senate by Ohio business heavyweights Les Wexner(Chairman and CEO, Limited Brands, Inc.), Al Ratner (board co-chair emeritus, Forest City Enterprises), Michael Morris (Chairman and CEO, American Electric Power), and John Pepper (retired board chair and CEO, Procter and Gamble). The letter characterizes Cordray as, “. . . the epitome of the judicious and fair-minded public servant.  He has impressed us with his intelligence, pragmatism, integrity, and service-oriented mindset.” View business leader letter.

Even Michael Van Buskirk, president of the Ohio Bankers League – an association that would be regulated by the CFPB – wrote in support of Cordray’s nomination. View Van Buskirkletter.

“Those who oppose Richard Cordray as the head of the CFPB oppose protecting the American consumer,” Faith said. “For the sake of our children, we can’t afford to make that mistake again.”

 

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COHHIO Contact: Suzanne G. Acker, 614-280-1984 ext. 11; Bill Faith, 614-579-6108

COHHIO is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to ending homelessness and to promoting decent, safe, fair, affordable housing for all, with a focus on assisting low-income people and those with special needs.Visit COHHIO.

 

ESOP Contact:Deonna Kirkpatrick, 216-361-0718 ext. 1027; Mark Seifert, 216-361-0718

ESOP is a HUD-certified foreclosure prevention counseling agency that has been on the frontlines of the predatory lending and foreclosure epidemic since 1999. Visit ESOP

 

Policy Matters Ohio Contact: David Rothstein, 440-668-7178

Policy Matters Ohio is a non-profit policy research organization founded in January 2000 to broaden the debate about economic policy in Ohio. Visit Policy Matters Ohio.

 


 

Cordray Sign On Letter

U.S. Senate Should Quickly Confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

August, 2011

 

TO: The Honorable Tim Johnson, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 136 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Richard Shelby, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 304 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

On behalf of the undersigned community groups and leaders, as well as consumer, labor, senior, and civic organizations, we urge your swift confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Until a director is confirmed or appointed, the new CFPB cannot fully protect American consumers from unfair practices by banks, payday lenders and other financial institutions.

As Attorney General of Ohio, Richard Cordray was a strong but fair enforcer who worked in a non-partisan manner to protect the people of Ohio. In a recent letter supporting Cordray’s confirmation, a group of Ohio business leaders noted, “As a County Treasurer, State Treasurer and State Attorney General, he has been the epitome of the judicious and fair-minded public servant. He has impressed us with his intelligence, pragmatism, integrity, and service-oriented mindset.” Even Ohio’s current Republican Attorney General, the former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, supports Cordray’s confirmation.

In Ohio’s communities, Cordray saw first-hand the effects of unregulated and reckless subprime mortgage lending in Ohio. He is the right person to protect the nation from the kind of lending practices that helped create the worst recession since the Great Depression. Congress created the CFPB to police Wall Street. We now need Cordray as chief cop.

Under current law, the bureau will be fully accountable to the American people, to Congress, the judiciary, and the President. It will have sufficient freedom of action to be effective, but already it is more constrained than any other financial agency by oversight from other regulators and by special review by small business representatives.

Richard Cordray supports lending institutions that play fair. But he’s a tough enforcer on those that do not. It is time for the Senate to put politics behind and put consumers, service members, and seniors first.

We urge you to vote to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as soon as possible.

cc: Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Rob Portman


Organization

Signature

Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio

Norman Wernet, State Director

Bill Ogg

Scioto County Treasurer

Buckeye Hope Foundation

Roy Lowenstein, Vice President

Capital Success, LLC

Julie Kell, President

Caring Kitchen, Inc.

Cindy Gilbert, Executive Director

Caritas Counseling

Barbara DeLeone, Med, PCC, CRC

Carolyn Rice

Montgomery County Treasurer

City of Zanesville Fair Housing

Connie Quarles,Fair Housing/Contract Compliance Administrator

Coalition on Homelessness & Housing in Ohio

Bill Faith, Executive Director

Columbus Urban League

Loretta King, Director of Housing Services

Communities United for Action

Dave Scharfenberger, Organizer

Community Action Commission of Belmont County

Gary Obloy, Executive Director

Community Action Commission of Fayette County

Bambi Baughn, Executive Director

Community Development for All People

John Edgar, Executive Director

Community Housing Solutions


Andy Nikiforovs, Executive Director

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Sally Luken, Director Ohio Hub

County of Summit Office of Community Affairs

Cynthia Sich, Director

Daniel Troy

Lake County Commissioner

Ed Leonard

Franklin County Treasurer

EDEN, Inc.

Kathryn Kazol, Executive Director

Emmanuel Community Care Center

Sr. Jean Orsuto

Empowering, Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP)

Mark Seifert, Executive Director

Fair Housing Resource Center

Patricia Kidd, Esq   Executive Director

Fentress & Barnes, CPA's

Todd Fentress, Managing Partner

Homeownership Center of Greater Dayton

Beth Deutscher, Executive Director

Homeport

Maude Hill, VP of Community &Government Relations

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)

Bill Hanks, Foreclosure Prevention Specialist

Housing Services Alliance

Bambi Baughn

Interchurch Social Services of Knox County, Inc.

Joy Harris, Executive Director

Jefferson County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness

Lisa Ward, Chairman

Jefferson County Community Action Council

Barbara West, Chief Executive Officer

Jerry Byers

Ross County Treasurer

Kermit Russell

Champaign County Treasurer

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Cleveland

Reverend George Hrbek

Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative

Heather McMahon, Managing Director

Mayor Frank Jackson

City of Cleveland

Mayor Mark Mallory

City of Cincinnati

Mayor Michael Coleman

City of Columbus

Metropolitan Area Church Council/Columbus

The Reverend Deniray Mueller

Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc.

Jim McCarthy, President/CEO

Millennia Housing Development, Ltd.

Christine Robertson

Neighborhood Development Services

Dave Vaughn, Executive Director

Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield

Tina Koumoutsos, Executive Director

Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland

Lou Tisler, Executive Director

NeighborWorks Collaborative of Ohio

Dave Vaughn, Chair

Northeast Ohio Legal Services

Jim Callen, Executive Director

Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies

Phil Cole, Executive Director

Ohio Association of Rehabilitation Facilities

Julie Kell, MPA

Ohio CDC Association

Nate Coffman, Executive Director

Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending

Cathy Johnston, Coordinator

Ohio Organizing Collaborative

Heather McMahon,

Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy

David Rinebolt

Ohio PIRG

Allison Cairo, Policy Advisor

Ohio Poverty Law Center

Linda Cook, Senior Staff Attorney

OUR Family Resource Center

Kathy Mescher, Director

Pathways of Central Ohio

Kristin McCloud, Executive Director

Salvation Army/Newark Corps & Community Center

Diana DeMichael, Corps Commanding Officer NE Ohio Division

Samaritan Center of Guernsey County

Robert Werner/Stevie Fairchild

SC Ministry Foundation

Sally Duffy, President

Schoonover Boyer & Associates CPAs

John Boyer, CPA

SEIU District 1199

Becky Williams, President WV, KY, OH

Toledo Fair Housing Center

Kathy Broka, President/CEO

Wright State Social Work Faculty

Dr. Michel Coconis

YWCA of Elyria and Lorain

Jeanine Donaldson,Executive Director