Consumer Agency Head: 'We Can Win Our Critics Over'

INDIANAPOLIS (MainStreet) – Among all the goals of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, none seem quite as ambitious as winning over the many Republicans who have fought hard every step of the way to kill the agency or limit its power. But don’t tell that to the consumer watchdog agency’s new leader.

“They represent the same people that we do, they hear from the same people that we do, they hear the same things that we do, and if we are showing progress that improves their lives, then I think we can win our critics over,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray at a conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers on Friday.

Cordray knows better than anyone just how persistent that opposition can be – his initial nomination to head the agency was blocked by the Senate, forcing President Obama to appoint him during a congressional recess. However, when asked if he’s concerned about the agency’s future should Republicans take control of Congress, Cordray sounded confident.

“We have a job to do and the law gives us the ability to do it,” he says.

Cordray admits that the CFPB was “hamstrung” throughout much of its brief history, in part because of the nomination battle and in part because of the time it takes to build up a new government agency. But now those growing pains are over.

This “startup agency” – as Cordray refers to it – currently boasts more than 800 employees and is finally at a point where it can begin to “justify the agency” to supporters and critics alike.

“We are now able to go forward and do the job that we were set up to do,” he said. “And my feeling is that as we do that job… we will prove ourselves not only to the public at large… but to those same people on Capitol Hill.”

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