WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate Banking Committee today approved the nominations of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Calling for greater accountability on Wall Street and stronger consumer protection for Main Street, U.S. Senator Jack Reed voted in favor of both Mr. Cordray and Ms. White.

The Banking Committee advanced Richard Cordray’s nomination to continue as director of the CFPB on a 12-10 party-line vote.  Republican senators voted in lock step against the nomination because they want to limit the effectiveness of the consumer protection agency, which Senator Reed helped create in 2010.  The CFPB helps prevent Americans from getting scammed by overseeing consumer-targeted financial products and services — including credit cards, mortgages, and loans.  Mr. Cordray was first nominated to lead the CFPB in 2011, but Republicans have used procedural tactics and obstruction to prevent the full Senate from taking an up or down confirmation vote.  In 2012, President Obama used a recess appointment to allow Mr. Cordray, who formerly served as Ohio’s Attorney General, to lead the CFPB for a limited term that runs through 2013.  The President also formally re-nominated him earlier this year.

“Americans deserve strong and effective consumer protection.  Every year, hard-working families lose billions of dollars to deceptive financial practices, like hidden fees and predatory lending.  Only with a full-time Director can the CFPB help ensure consumers and taxpayers are protected from abusive financial products.  No one disputes Richard Cordray is highly qualified to lead this agency.  It is time for Republicans to stop holding consumers hostage and allow an up or down vote,” said Reed, who praised the job Mr. Cordray has done in holding financial institutions accountable for mistreating consumers and working in coordination with federal regulators to return roughly $425 million to American consumers last year. 

The committee also voted 21-1 to approve Mary Jo White as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Ms. White, who served as the first female United States Attorney in Manhattan, carried out an aggressive prosecution of terrorism and organized crime in that role.  If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the first former prosecutor to lead the agency responsible for overseeing Wall Street and the second full-time female chairman in the SEC’s history.

“Mary Jo White has a great deal of experience vigorously enforcing the law.  She testified that she will aggressively pursue financial fraud on Wall Street and hold individuals accountable for misconduct.  Once confirmed she will need to meet the goal she has set, and I will work to ensure she has the tools and resources she needs to strengthen accountability, transparency, and investor protections on Wall Street,” said Reed, who is working on several critical pieces of legislation aimed at holding Wall Street predators accountable for financial misdeeds.  Reed wants to give federal regulators, investigators, and prosecutors more time to build complex securities fraud cases and strengthen financial penalties to crack down on those found guilty of wrongdoing.