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'We're Here To Stay' Says Newly Confirmed Consumer Watchdog

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

One day after his two years in limbo ended and he was confirmed by the Senate as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray told NPR that though political bickering held up his nomination he now believes he has bipartisan support for the bureau's work.

"It was a bipartisan vote to confirm me as director — 66 to 34 — and I like to think that reflects the fact that people recognize the work we're doing benefits constituents in every state," Cordray told All Things Considered host Audie Cornish.

Before Cordray could get confirmed, of course, there had to be a "showdown" over filibuster rules that had held up his nomination and those of some others — capped by an extraordinary behind-closed-doors meeting of nearly all 100 senators. And a deal had to be struck that saw President Obama withdraw two nominees for posts on the National Labor Relations Board in order to get Republicans to agree to votes on the nominations of Cordray and a few others.

With all that now behind, Cordray said his bureau is going to focus on exposing "deceptive and misleading marketing" schemes, "debt traps" that such consumers in over their heads financially and on educating consumers so that they aren't "just lambs to slaughter" when it comes to dealing with those looking to manage their investments.

"We're here to stay," he said of the bureau, which was created over the opposition of many Republicans.

We'll add the as-aired interview with Cordray to the top of this post later.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.