It’s Thanksgiving – a favorite holiday for Americans of every race and political persuasion. The one time of the year that families come together from around the country to celebrate being together and being part of our country. It’s a great holiday – with great food and fun.
We live in a country that provides opportunity and encourages each of us to seek out our dreams – through hard work and initiative. I love our country and I’m thankful each day for the privilege to be an American. I do recognize our shortcomings, and that our system includes inherent bias making it difficult for those coming from disadvantaged economic circumstance to succeed in contrast to those born to a life of privilege.
Last week, Richard Cordray, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tendered his resignation. The CFPB came into existence out of the Financial Crisis. Richard Cordray proved himself as the consummate consumer advocate and reigned in countless abuses by the financial industry during his term. Under his direction, the CFPB initiated enforcement actions totaling over $7.68 billion (that’s $7,688,366,420) in fines – from 2014 to 2017 – imposed against virtually every sizeable financial institution conducting business in the US.
Trust me – if you name a bank, credit card company or lender – their name was among the perpetrators fined. As a consumer – my Thanksgiving Thank You goes to Mr. Cordray for his aggressive and effective service at the CFPB. With him at the Agency helm, the threat of enforcement action garnered the attention of the CEOs of all of these companies and directives were made to clean up problems for fear of enforcement. Unfortunately, along with this came the concerted effort of the financial industry to undermine the agency from a political standpoint. With Cordray gone and President Trump holding the appointment of the next agency head, it’s a certainty that the CFPB will fade to a virtually meaningless agency lead by a new director who is subsilencio a supporter of the financial industry. When that happens – the CFPB will “run afoul” and be headed by “turkeys.”
I am sorry to see Mr. Cordray leave – but at least we can take heart that we had the CFPB fighting for consumers in a manner never seen before. While we will feel the pain when he leaves and the CFPB becomes a nullity – it’s important to remember that we had the ability and did accomplish this objective for a period of time – and, in time, we will have the chance to do so in the future.
We have problems – as do all civilized nations. The commitment we need to make is to seek solutions to not only the problems we face but to find solutions for the problems that we all face. We are not there yet – but we should all remain committed to the concept. One nation – indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Have a happy, healthy and festive Thanksgiving.