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First chief of U.S. consumer watchdog agency to resign this month

By Allen Cone
First chief of U.S. consumer watchdog agency to resign this month
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray said Wednesday he plans to leave office at the end of this month. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Richard Cordray, the inaugural director of the independent U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said Wednesday he will resign by the end of the month -- allowing President Donald Trump to shape the agency with a new appointment.

The CFPB was established under former President Barack Obama's administration to "protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law" -- primarily as a response to the financial crisis.

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Cordray's term officially expires next year.

"As I have said many times, but feel just as much today as I ever have, it has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau," he wrote in an email Wednesday. "Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people's lives."

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Cordray, 58, did not reveal further plans, though he is said to be mulling a gubernatorial run in Ohio.

Last month, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel cleared Cordray of accusations that he improperly positioned himself for a gubernatorial run while still serving as the CFPB director.

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Obama nominated Cordray in July 2011 after the Democratic-led Senate approved the agency's creation through the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. In January 2012, Obama installed Cordray as the director as a recess appointment, bypassing Republican opposition in the Senate. He was confirmed the following year.

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Republicans had urged Trump to try to remove Cordray because he had too much regulatory power.

"I trust that new leadership will see that value also and work to preserve it -- perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country," Cordray wrote.

The independent government agency recovered almost $12 billion in refunds, mortgage principal reductions and other relief for nearly 30 million consumers since 2011.

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Cordray also served as Ohio attorney general, treasurer and solicitor general, and as a member of the state's House of Representatives.

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