Richard Cordray worked as the first director for the new federal agency the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, often referred to by its acronym CFPB. Before his appointment he headed the Office of Enforcement. In the years in advance of his coming to work for the bureau, he led the battle lines of consumer protection in his role as Attorney General of Ohio. In that time, Cordray recovered over $2 billion for the investors, retirees, and business owners of Ohio. He also pursued the necessary steps to assist in protecting its consumers from illegal foreclosures and financial predator organizations.
Back in 2010, the office of Richard Cordray reacted to numerous, record-making numbers of complaints from consumers. He took it a step beyond this by starting a new process up to help not for profit and small business groups to aid consumers in protection. The Better Business Bureau was so impressed with Cordray’s work as Ohio Attorney General, they awarded him an Ethical Marketplace Promotion award.
Richard Cordray proved to be a nationally unknown figure before President Obama announced his appointment to the country. In Ohio, he was revered as the people’s champion. He had held the important position of state attorney general from 2009 for two years and had been a critical part of Democratic party politics in the state since the early years of the 1990s.
The economic crisis of 2008 had thrust Ohio into the unenviable position of high foreclosure rates. Out of every 608 homes in the state, one stood in foreclosure. Cleveland was especially hard hit, with foreclosures having fully tripled since the year 1998. The situation became so much worse because of the mass Robo signing scandal the big banks engaged in after the financial crisis collapse. Big banks had begun to regularly foreclose on houses even though they lacked the legally required documentation and necessary paperwork.
Richard Cordray jumped in and became the very first attorney general of any state to actively sue a mortgage lender for foreclosure fraud, setting up a new national precedent and trend by the forceful example of his leadership. He went after Ally Financial and parent company GMAC Mortgage. He also insisted on a meeting with other major lenders throughout Ohio, such as JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank.
The intrepid Richard Cordray also worked as Treasurer of Ohio and Franklin County Treasurer. He was elected to both of these important positions where he oversaw activities in the county and state for investments, banking, financing, and debt. While Ohio Treasurer, he revived a failed state economic development program which offered low interest rate loan offers to small business who were willing to provide new jobs. He also rebranded the former concept as the GrowNOW program, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into credit offers for small businesses. Cordray created at the same time a new Bankers Advisory Council in order to broadcast his own ideas on the program out to the various community bankers found throughout the state of Ohio.
Still earlier in his working life, Richard Cordray worked as an Ohio State University College of Law adjunct professor, became a state representative, served as the first solicitor general in all of Ohio history, and worked as the only counselor and practitioner to Kirkland & Ellis. In this final capacity, Cordray argued seven different court cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as a special appointment to both Bush and Clinton Justice Departments. He graduated from Oxford University, the University of Chicago Law School, and before that Michigan State University. He also clerked for the two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White.