A former enforcement attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, speaking at a debt collection conference in Nashville last week, said that CFPB Director Richard Cordray will leave the agency by the end of the summer and that there will not be any significant rulemaking from the bureau until Cordray is replaced.
Ronald Rubin, who was an enforcement attorney at the CFPB for 18 months between 2011 and 2012, spoke at the Debt Collection Forum event in Nashville last week. Rubin, who was interviewed by attorney John Bedard in front of nearly 200 industry professionals, had harsh words for his former employer.
When referring to recent testimony given by Cordray in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Rubin said he was “reasonably sure” that it was the director’s “last semi-annual report to Congress.” Reports surfaced last week that Cordray might leave his post in order to run for governor of Ohio. When asked during his recent testimony about whether he plans to fulfill his term as director of the CFPB, which ends next year, Cordray was decidedly non-committal.
While initially saying that he expects Cordray to leave in the next “30-to-60 days,” Rubin lengthened the remaining tenure of the director to 90 days by the end of his session.
Along with working at the CFPB, Rubin also worked as a partner at the law firm of Hunton & Williams, as a staffer on the House Financial Services Committee, and as a volunteer on Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.
Echoing chants of Republicans in Congress, who have accused the CFPB of ignoring due process during its regulating and enforcement actions, Rubin accused the CFPB of only targeting large companies to make statements, instead of going after companies for more principled reasons.
In the case of an enforcement action against Portfolio Recovery Associations, for example, the CFPB had to “twist themselves in knots to find them guilty of anything,” Rubin accused. “It’s like pulling over someone because of their race. It’s more about who they are and not what they’ve done.”
Rubin also accused the CFPB of looking at a company’s financial statements before finding a company guilty of wrongdoing, as a means of using the statements to determine the size of the fine.
“The fines are always the same,” Rubin said. “As much as you can afford.”
Given the game of political ping pong that has been played with the CFPB since Donald Trump was elected president nearly six months ago, one of the industry’s major questions has been the status of a proposed debt collection rule. Rubin said that there will not be rulemaking of “any consequence” until there is a Republican running the CFPB.