To the editor:

Kudos to President Obama for standing up for consumers last week and making a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Since July 21, the CFPB — a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — had been up and running, but only with partial powers. It’s the nation’s first federal financial regulator with only one job — protecting consumers — including seniors, students and service members — from unfair financial practices.

The president’s action also gives the CFPB all its powers to protect the public from unfair financial practices, whether by banks or other financial firms, such as payday lenders or credit bureaus.

Wall Street banks had convinced some senators, including Maine’s own Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins, to block any nominee unless the CFPB’s ability to protect consumers was first weakened. Their opposition to consumer protection at the behest of powerful special interests is disappointing.

Fortunately, the president did his job so the CFPB can do its job.

Ilya Slavinski
federal field associate
U.S. Public Interest
Research Group