WASHINGTON – President Obama on Wednesday hailed Richard Cordray’s long-awaited confirmation as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying his installation gives consumers a stronger footing “for years to come” in dealings with banks and credit card companies.

Obama, the beneficiary of a Senate agreement Tuesday that cleared the way for a number of his nominations, said Cordray’s confirmation eliminates any lingering doubts about the authority of the consumer agency, whose creation was one of the key features of a 2010 financial regulation law and has long been a point of contention with Republicans.

Cordray’s confirmation and his swearing in by Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday morning culminate a drawn-out fight between Obama on the one hand and the financial industry and Republican lawmakers on the other over the authority of the agency. Republicans have sought to alter the agency’s structure and the means by which it is financed to give Congress greater control.

“For two years, Republicans in the Senate refused to give Rich a simple yes or no vote, not because they didn’t think he was the right person for the job, but because they didn’t like the law that set up the consumer watchdog in the first place,” Obama said.

Cordray said, “It’s all I ever asked for, all I ever worked for was the chance to have an up or down vote on the merits.”