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Obama picks ex-Ohio attorney general to lead consumer agency

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama intends to nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead a consumer protection bureau that was a central feature of a law overhauling the rules that govern the financial sector.

Obama plans to announce the nomination formally today, the White House said Sunday. Republicans threatened to block Cordray's Senate confirmation.

In choosing Cordray, Obama bypassed Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of consumer groups, who has been assembling the agency as a special adviser to the White House and to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Cordray, 52, is considered a Warren ally and has been working with her as director of enforcement for the agency. Warren is a Harvard Law School professor.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will officially begin its oversight and regulatory work on July 21. Its role is to be a government watchdog over mortgages, credit cards and other forms of lending.

Warren, who is considered the architect of the consumer bureau, faced stiff Republican opposition in the Senate and would have had a difficult time winning confirmation.

The financial industry lined up against Warren. Bankers said a Warren-run agency would restrict new products just when companies are seeking to replace profits squeezed by the new financial rules.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate banking committee, said Republicans would block Cordray's nomination unless Obama seeks changes in the agency.

Obama picks ex-Ohio attorney general to lead consumer agency 07/17/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 17, 2011 11:06pm]
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