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Consumer bureau chief Richard Cordray testifies on Hill: Has he charmed the GOP?

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Cordray’s testimony before an oversight subcommittee was “good, it wasn’t great," said House Government Oversight Committee Chairman and California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa. "I wish he’d come more prepared with the reality that his tenure might be short because he might not be lawfully appointed.”

Even so, Cordray stands in sharp contrast to Elizabeth Warren, who was tapped by President Obama last year to help set up the bureau. 

When Ms. Warren, a Harvard professor now running for Senate in Massachusetts, came before the committee in May, the hearing was often tense, including a testy exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) of South Carolina.

Representative Gowdy wanted to know if consumers had a responsibility to educate themselves on financial topics. Warren refused to give a yes or no answer on the subject. Gowdy, exasperated, closed out his questioning with, “Mr. Chairman, I give up.” 

Gowdy lofted a similar question to Cordray when the new CFPB chief appeared before the same committee last week.

Consumers need to be responsible for their own actions, Cordray said. In fact, he had worked to create mandatory financial literacy education for high school students in Ohio. The role of the CFPB, he concluded, was to make sure consumers understood the costs and the risks more fully up front, not to save them from bad decisions.

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