Obama hails early success of consumer watchdog bureau

With Richard Cordray officially confirmed as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), President Obama on on Wednesday hailed the relatively-new agency's early milestones.

"This is not some abstract theoretical exercise," Mr. Obama said from the White House State Dining Room with Cordray at his side. "Families, many of them hard pressed, have money in their pockets... because of the work that Rich and his team are doing."

Mr. Obama nominated Cordray to run the agency -- created in Mr. Obama's Wall Street regulatory overhaul -- two years ago. The CFPB regulates non-bank financial firms, such as mortgage companies and payday lenders. However, Republicans blocked Cordray's confirmation in the Senate and pledged to block any nominee barring a drastic restructuring of the new agency.

Last year, Mr. Obama decided to bypass the Senate and recess-appoint Cordray -- a decision he said Wednesday has paid off. As part of a compromise to avoid changing Senate rules, Senate Republicans on Tuesday finally agreed to confirm Cordray and a handful of other presidential nominees.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama said his decision to recess-appoint Cordray has paid off.

Cordray has "shown through his leadership, and the very hard work everybody at the CFPB has already done, [that] this is making a difference in the lives of the American people," he said. "It's hard to argue with success."

The bureau, Mr. Obama said, has already addressed 175,000 consumer complaints from across the country and has achieved more than $400 million in refunds from companies engaged in unscrupulous practices.

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