Richard Cordray Stepping Down As Head Of U.S. Consumer Protection Agency

The embattled director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that he will leave the agency by the end of November.

“I am confident that you will continue to move forward, nurture this institution we have built together, and maintain its essential value to the American public,” Richard Cordray said in an email to the agency’s staff.

Cordray, who has been a tough regulator of banks and other financial institutions, has been a frequent target of Republican lawmakers.

Most recently, Congress killed a rule by the bureau that would have allowed consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies to resolve financial disputes.

Cordray was confirmed as head of the agency in 2013, nearly two years after he was nominated by President Barack Obama.

The bureau’s chief architect was Elizabeth Warren, currently a U.S. senator, who was considered a candidate for the post and has remained critical of members of the Senate Banking Committee, including Democrats, who have loosened regulations on the financial industry.

“Instead of providing any real help to consumers hurt by the Equifax breach or the Wells Fargo fake accounts scam, this bill weakens consumer protections, helps out the country’s biggest banks and encourages them to swallow up even more community banks,” said Warren, after lawmakers struck a deal to free dozens of large banks from rigorous post-crisis rules. “This bill shows once again how Washington values short-term profits for big banks ahead of the interests of consumers or the safety of the financial system.”

Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced a bipartisan deal to free dozens of large financial institutions from some of the most rigorous regulations put in place after the global financial crisis.

Currently, banks with more than $50 billion in assets are considered “too big to fail” and undergo the strictest regulatory scrutiny, including a yearly stress test to prove they could survive another period of economic turmoil.

The proposed legislation would raise that threshold to banks with $250 billion in assets, potentially allowing several high-profile financial institutions, including American Express, Ally Financial and Barclays, to escape the extra scrutiny.

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