WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the U.S. financial system is "more fair and much more sound than it was" before he took office.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said "we've come a long way over the past 4 1/2 years."
"Our economy's growing," he said. "Our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs in the past 40 months. We've locked in new safeguards to protect against another crisis and end bailouts for good. And even though more work remains, our financial system is more fair and much more sound than it was."
Obama said he was pleased the U.S. Senate this week confirmed the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on a bipartisan vote.
The bureau was established as part of financial reform legislation enacted in 2010 and Obama nominated Cordray in 2011 to head it.
"But Republicans in the Senate refused to give him a simple up-or-down vote, not because they didn't think he was the right person for the job, but because they didn't like the law that set up the consumer watchdog in the first place," the president said.
Obama appointed Cordray during a congressional recess.
"Because of the work that's been done at the CFPB over the past two years, today, mortgage lenders, student lenders, payday lenders, and credit reporting and debt collection agencies all face greater scrutiny," he said. "And if they don't play by the rules, you now have somewhere to go to get some measure of justice. In fact, the CFPB has already addressed more than 175,000 complaints from every state."
Obama said the country has "a long way to go to restore the sense of security that too many middle-class families are still fighting to rebuild. But if we keep moving forward with our eyes fixed on that North Star of a growing middle class, then I'm confident we'll get to where we need to go."