September 30, 2022

Bucks Blog: Keeping a Closer Eye on Student Loan Servicing Firms

Companies that service student loans will get more scrutiny from the federal government under a new rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On Thursday the bureau proposed a rule that would allow it to supervise big student loan servicers, the companies that manage loans on behalf of borrowers and lenders. Servicers send out statements, collect payments, answer questions, track interest and generally provide day-to-day oversight of the loans.

The bureau already regulates big banks that service loans, but the vast majority of student loans are serviced by “nonbank” financial companies, the bureau said. Under the new rule, servicers with a million accounts or more would fall under the agency’s umbrella, whether or not they are considered banks. That would give the agency authority over the seven largest servicers, which handle nearly 50 million loans.

An agency spokeswoman declined to identify the top servicers that would come under the agency’s scrutiny. But data from the Student Loan Servicing Alliance indicate that Sallie Mae is by far the largest nonbank servicer of student loans, with nearly $197 billion in servicing volume at the end of 2011. Other big servicers include American Education Services and ACS Education Services.

“The student loan market has grown rapidly in the last decade, and servicers are now facing the stress of an increasing number of delinquent borrowers,” Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, said in a prepared statement.

The new rule would give the bureau the authority to make sure the servicers comply with federal consumer laws and are all following the same rules. The proposal would give the agency authority to regulate companies that service both federal loans and private loans.

The bureau has been looking into problems with student loan servicing. Complaints received from borrowers include difficulty in getting accurate information from servicers about how much is owed, confusion over fees, delays in having payments credited and difficulty in getting help when borrowers run into financial trouble.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Have you had trouble with a student loan servicer? Tell us about your experience.

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Bucks Blog: Campus Banking Practices Come Under Scrutiny

College students are much sought after as banking customers, since young people are likely to stick with the institutions they choose for their first accounts.

On Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it was opening an inquiry into bank accounts and debit cards marketed to students through colleges and universities to determine if such arrangements are in the best interest of students.

“The bureau wants to find out whether students using college-endorsed banking products are getting a good deal,” Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, said in a prepared statement.

The Credit CARD Act of 2009 barred banks from aggressive marketing of credit cards on campus, and required that agreements between credit card issuers and colleges be made public.

But, the agency said, less is known about deals for other financial products, including college-affiliated bank accounts, and contracts between schools and banks to disburse financial aid to students. Students, including those attending community colleges, often receive financial aid in excess of tuition, and can use the extra money to pay for textbooks and other costs. The banks often provide a debit card, linked to an account, to distribute the funds, and students sometimes think they are required to use the bank promoted by the school to obtain their scholarship or loan money. Some colleges even issue college-branded student identification cards that double as debit cards.

In some cases, companies providing the debit cards for financial aid have come under fire for charging excessive fees. Higher One, a big marketer of student debit cards, last summer settled allegations by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that it had charged excessive fees to students who overdrew their accounts.

Now, the bureau said it is seeking information from students, colleges and banks on what information colleges share with banks when they enter such agreements; how accounts and cards are marketed to students; what fees students are charged; and how students use the cards and accounts in their day-to-day lives.

Comments will be accepted until March 18.

Rohit Chopra, the agency’s student loan ombudsman, said in a telephone interview that students are already under financial pressure from borrowing money to finance their educations. So it’s important, he said, that they aren’t also subject to excessive fees that can chip away at their finances.

Colleges, he said, also need better information, so they can negotiate agreements with banks that contain appropriate protections for students, who often trust that any college-endorsed product must be beneficial to them.

The agency offers a tool on its Web site to help educate students about the best way to select a bank account.

“We want students to know they can, and should, shop around,” he said. The account promoted by their college isn’t necessarily the best deal for them.

Have you used a college-endorsed debit card? How has that worked out for you?

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Some Lenders to Students Face Greater U.S. Scrutiny

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stepping up its scrutiny of nontraditional lenders to students at profit-making colleges and trade schools that have high rates of default, the newly appointed director of the bureau said Thursday.

The director, Richard Cordray, compared the practices of some parts of the student loan business to those of the subprime mortgage lending machine that contributed to the financial crisis.

“We’re seeing some of the schools anticipating as much as a 50 percent default rate on their students, yet they’re making those loans anyway,” Mr. Cordray said at a news briefing.

“We will be looking closely at those loans. We will be looking closely at the tactics by which they are marketed and making sure that the law is being followed,” he said.

Mr. Cordray was appointed the bureau’s director by President Obama last week during a Senate recess, after Republicans resisted bringing his nomination to the floor for a vote.

A memorandum from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released Thursday concluded that Mr. Obama had the authority to make the recess appointment, an assertion that has been disputed by Republicans.

The consumer bureau indicated earlier that it was interested in the subject of predatory student loans. In November, the bureau and the Education Department issued a joint request for information from consumers on the private student loan market, a study that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. The deadline for comments is Tuesday.

Mr. Cordray said Thursday that the bureau had already seen evidence of problems in the market for private student loans.

“One of the things we see and have seen is lenders who market loans for borrowers knowing that those borrowers are unlikely to be able to pay those loans,” Mr. Cordray said. “But they may have other incentives that lead them to make those loans nonetheless. We clearly saw that in the mortgage market in the run-up to the financial crisis, when that market got broken. We also see it, say, in student lending as well.”

Holly Petraeus, the consumer bureau’s assistant director for service member affairs, said in an opinion article in The New York Times in September that private, profit-making colleges often see members of the military “as nothing more than dollar signs in uniform” and use “aggressive marketing to draw them in and take out private loans,” producing higher than average default rates.

In response, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities said on its Web site that Mrs. Petraeus’s claims were “not substantiated” and ignored that two-year profit-making colleges “outperform community colleges in terms of graduation rates three to one” while serving a larger percentage of at-risk students like single mothers, less-affluent students, older workers and military personnel.

Mr. Cordray said that the bureau recognized that many students needed loans and that it would focus on cases where students were being misled. “People who get steered into terrible loans will end up falling behind in life,” he said. “That should be of concern to this country.”

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Economic View: The Art of Bargaining, Lost Upon Washington

The article’s primary theme is that the key to success in many bargaining situations is the ability to commit to a future course of action. In this analysis, the Senate “won” the payroll tax cut showdown late last year by passing a bill and then going home for the holidays. This was a highly credible “take it or leave it” offer.

This ability to commit can help solve games in which the two players must choose between strategies: either they cooperate or they “defect,” as a decision not to cooperate is called in the literature. They are much better off if they both cooperate, but there is always a temptation to defect when the other player cooperates, scoring a big win at the other player’s expense.

When this game is played repeatedly, a natural — and often successful — strategy is called tit for tat. You begin by cooperating, hoping for the best. If the other side cooperates, too, all is good. But if it defects, you retaliate. And once the retaliating starts, it is hard to stop.

When I asked a former Republican senate staff member to explain why so many qualified Obama administration nominees were being denied confirmation hearings, he told me, “We are tatting.”

Last year has to be one of the worst episodes of senatorial tatting in history. Extraordinary nominees like Peter A. Diamond, the Nobel laureate economist who was nominated twice to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a leading authority on evidence-based medicine, nominated to head Medicare and Medicaid, never got an up-or-down vote. (Dr. Berwick served for a while after receiving a recess appointment.)

Turning down such experts’ offers to help is like declining an offer from Phil Jackson to help coach your high school’s basketball team.

Even more worrisome was the failure to confirm Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. In this case, many Senate Republicans did not deny that he was qualified; they said they just didn’t like the agency and refused to confirm anyone to run it. The president has responded by making an unusual type of recess appointment of Mr. Cordray. Republicans are furious because they thought they had blocked such a move by holding “pro forma” sessions, in which the sole business conducted was to adjourn for a few days. Expect each side to argue that the other is behaving unreasonably.

Perhaps the refusal to confirm Mr. Cordray was simply follow-through on the publicly stated goal of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, to assure that President Obama is a one-term president.

But I have a question for Senator McConnell: If you achieve your goal and a Republican is elected president. what will happen then? Won’t Senate Democrats take it up a notch? If they don’t like the new president’s foreign policy, for example, they could refuse to confirm a secretary of defense, citing the Cordray case as a precedent, and leading to either more recess appointments or 24/7 sessions for the Senate.

Clearly, we must find a way to avoid this escalation of retaliation. Professor Schelling’s teachings suggest that to gain a new cooperative equilibrium in the Senate, both sides must be able to make credible commitments to cooperate in the future. And right now is a propitious time to strike a deal, as neither party can be sure who’ll be in charge in 2013. So I urge Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, to seek a Senate rule change so all presidential appointees get an up-or-down vote within 90 days of nomination or gain automatic confirmation.

Yes, the Republicans could block this bill with a filibuster, but if they really think they can win the presidency, shouldn’t they be willing to trade a year of allowing Mr. Obama’s appointees a chance to serve for an assurance that they’d get the same treatment when in power?

After the bill was passed, neither side could change it without overcoming another filibuster, so it would most likely stick; it would be a commitment. Individual senators who can now block any appointment at their whim would lose power, of course, but the country would be a big winner. (The nonpartisan group supports this idea.)

President Obama has some negotiating decisions ahead, too. Regardless of whether the payroll tax cut is extended, the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, and $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts would begin to kick in, hitting military spending especially hard. From a bargaining-theory perspective, it’s important that these are the default options: it will take the agreement of Congress and the president to avoid these changes. And remember that no matter what happens in November, President Obama and the current Congress will still be in power on New Year’s Eve.

This puts the president in a very strong bargaining position. Though he and both parties in Congress would prefer to avoid the consequences of inaction, it’s safe to say that Republicans would especially hate the expiration of the Bush tax cuts because the rich would take the hardest hit. Keep in mind that once the tax cuts expired, it would take a new bill in 2013 to reinstate them, and even if the Republicans won the presidency and both houses of Congress, they would still need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

How should President Obama play this powerful hand? This could be his last chance, at least for this term, to strike the grand bargain he so wants. Again, while the two parties have their differences, there are some zones of agreement. We all know it’s possible to lower tax rates and keep revenue constant by reducing deductions and loopholes. Certainly, no one — aside from some tax accountants — thinks our tax system is close to perfect. An agreement can be reached only as part of a substantial tax reform.

My suggestion would be for the president to first propose his own plan, borrowing some concepts from the Bowles-Simpson commission, and then to challenge members of Congress to come up with something they like better. But he must list conditions that have to be satisfied if he is to sign the bill.

Professor Schelling teaches that the best “lines in the sand” are for principles, not for arbitrary numbers. One such principle might be the so-called “Buffett rule,” that the rich should not pay a lower proportion of income in taxes than their secretaries. But whatever principles the president chooses, he must make everyone believe that he will keep his word and veto any bill that does not include these features.

I think that he can make such a pledge credible. If he loses the election, why not go out in a blaze of principled glory? And if he wins, he will want to begin his second term on a strong and constructive note.

Richard H. Thaler is a professor of economics and behavioral science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He has informally advised the Obama administration.

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The Caucus: Defying Republicans, Obama to Name Cordray as Consumer Agency Chief

President Obama will name Richard Cordray, center, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Doug Mills/The New York TimesPresident Obama will name Richard Cordray, center, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

11:49 a.m. | Updated President Obama will challenge Republican foes of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by naming Richard Cordray as its director while Congress is out of town.

Richard Cordray said that he would make judicious use of lawsuits to enforce financial regulations.Philip Scott Andrews/The New York TimesTestifying on Capital Hill in September, Mr. Cordray sought to reassure lawmakers that the bureau would be accountable to Congress, despite doubts expressed by Republicans that the bureau has too much unfettered power. .

That would allow the agency to establish new regulations over financial institutions, putting into effect elements of the financial regulatory overhaul that was one of the administration’s main achievements in Congress.

Mr. Obama’s exercise of constitutional powers to name top officials without Senate confirmation while Congress is in recess is a stiff challenge to Republicans, who have attempted to block the maneuver by holding “pro forma” sessions over the holidays.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, objected strenuously, saying Mr. Obama was overstepping the bounds of his executive power and leaving the agency open to legal challenges.

“Although the Senate is not in recess, President Obama, in an unprecedented move, has arrogantly circumvented the American people,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Cordray accompanied the president on Wednesday on a trip to Ohio, where the president is expected to deliver remarks on the economy at a high school in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. Cleveland is Mr. Cordray’s hometown.

Mr. Cordray looked a little shell-shocked when he got off Marine One to board Air Force One for the flight to Cleveland, clutching his brown folder to his chest as he walked to the plane.

But he sounded ready for battle once the plane landed in Cleveland and reporters cornered him under the wing, issuing a not-so-veiled warning to Wall Street.

“We’re going to begin working to expand our program to non-banks, which is an area we haven’t been able to touch before now,” he said.

The recess appointment represents a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the president to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer. Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, called the recess appointment a “no-brainer,” and said that Mr. Obama would not be waiting around for Congress to act this year.

“He nominated Richard Cordray six months ago,” Mr. Carney said. “He won a majority of support in the Senate, yet Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote. This is a shame.”

He declined to speak about the legal and constitutional challenge which may be ahead, but said White House lawyers were confident. “When pro forma sessions are simply used as an attempt to stop the president from making an appointment,” then Mr. Obama was within his rights to move ahead.

President Bush, by this point in his tenure, Mr. Carney noted, had made 61 recess appointments, compared to Mr. Obama’s 28.

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat of South Dakota who is chairman of the Banking Committee, praised Mr. Cordray’s appointment.

“Mr. Cordray is eminently qualified for the job, as even my Senate Republican colleagues have acknowledged,” he said. “It’s disappointing that Senate Republicans denied him an up-or-down vote, especially when it’s clear he had the support of a majority of the Senate.”

The move came hours after the conclusion of the Iowa caucuses, and was sure to turn attention away from the Republican Party and back to the president.

In December, Mr. Cordray’s nomination was rejected after Democrats failed to achieve the 60 votes they needed to move his nomination forward.

The power struggle between the financial sector and its check-cashing, card-carrying customers has developed into one of the fault lines along which the political parties are playing out their own rivalries as the election year arrives.

Mr. Cordray is a former attorney general of Ohio noted for his aggressive investigations of mortgage foreclosure practices. Currently in charge of enforcement at the consumer agency, he was nominated in July to lead it.

Previous opposition from Republicans led to the withdrawal of Elizabeth Warren from consideration for the post. She is a Harvard law professor who was the driving force behind the agency’s creation and is now a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.

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Senate Stops Consumer Nominee

The nominee, Richard Cordray, was rejected after Democrats failed to achieve the 60 votes they needed to move his nomination forward. The vote was 53 yes, 45 no.

President Obama left open the option of a recess appointment, although Republicans have thwarted that tactic recently by staying in rump sessions.

“We are not giving up on this,” he said. “We are going to keep on going at it. We are not going to allow politics as usual on Capitol Hill to stand in the way of American consumers’ being protected.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said his party had made clear for months that it would not approve a leader for the watchdog consumer agency until the law that established it was amended.

Until three changes are made, he said, “We won’t support a nominee for this bureau — regardless of who the president is.”

One of those changes would put a board in charge of overseeing the bureau instead of the director, abolishing the post. Others would subject the agency to the Congressional appropriations process, giving lawmakers more sway over its policies, and would give other financial regulatory agencies a check on its rules.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a Democrat, said that the opponents’ “first loyalty is to Wall Street banks.”

The agency can accomplish part of its mission, the protection of consumers from unscrupulous lending practices, without having a director in place. But some of its new powers are vested by law in the director, so it could not expand into realms like the regulation of payday lenders and other nonbank financial businesses.

The power struggle between the financial sector and its check-cashing, card-carrying customers has developed into one of the fault lines along which the political parties are playing out their own rivalries as the election year arrives.

Previous opposition from Republicans led to the withdrawal of Elizabeth Warren from consideration for the post. She is a Harvard law professor who was the driving force behind the agency’s creation and is now a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.

Opposite her, in ideological terms, are those in Congress who say the real problem is not so much the need to regulate the financial world as to rein in the Washington regulators.

“This is not about the nominee, who appears to be a decent person and may very well be qualified,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, according to the Associated Press. “It’s about a process that is running out of control.”

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, called it “the first time in Senate history a party blocked a qualified nominee solely because it disagrees with the existence of an agency that was created by law, through a bipartisan vote.”

Democrats have accused the Republicans of reneging on the painstakingly wrought compromises that brought the consumer board into existence as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010.

Mr. Cordray, a five-time Jeopardy champion, is a former attorney general of Ohio noted for his aggressive investigations of mortgage foreclosure practices. Currently in charge of enforcement at the consumer agency, he was nominated in July to lead it.

In his confirmation hearings in September, he told a Senate committee that he would make it a priority “to streamline and cut back” a mountain of burdensome regulations that discourage banks from lending to consumers. But that stance, intended to reassure Republicans on the committee, did not mollify them. At a time when Congressional Republicans have been opposing most of the administration’s approaches to regulations, the economy and presidential appointments, Mr. Cordray’s prospects were never better than bleak.

President Obama, in a speech in Kansas this week on economic policy that was laden with populist overtones, singled out Thursday’s Senate vote for attention and said he would veto any legislation undoing consumer protections in the world of finance.

“Does anyone here think the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors? Of course not,” he said.

“Financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests,” he said. “Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for them. I intend to make sure they do, and I will veto any effort to delay, defund or dismantle the new rules we put in place.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 8, 2011

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the Senate’s vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination was 55 yes, 45 no. The vote was 53-45.

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Bucks Blog: Consumer Bureau Is Taking Your Mortgage Complaints

Associated Press

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now taking complaints about mortgages on its Web site.

The online form lets consumers choose a category from a drop-down menu, like problems in the application process or encountering difficulty making payments. It asks them to describe their problem in their own words, and to specify what they are seeking as a solution. Borrowers can also upload supporting electronic documents and submit them with the form. Once the complaint is submitted, the agency forwards it to the lender and gives borrowers a tracking number so they can monitor the progress of filing.

If you need help filling out the form, you can get help through an online chat function from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Home loans are likely to provide ample fodder for complaints.  A recent analysis suggested the country is not even halfway through resolving the foreclosure crisis.

The agency is moving ahead with this initiative even as its proposed director, Richard Cordray, a former attorney general of Ohio, is the subject of a contentious confirmation battle in Congress.

Mortgages are the latest category of complaints to be fielded by the agency, which opened for business in July. It first began accepting credit-card related complaints and handled roughly 5,000 submissions in its first three months, according to an update published last week. Companies reported resolving more than 3,100 of the complaints, with about 400 consumers, or 13 percent, disputing the adequacy of the response.

By the end of next year, the agency expects to handle complaints about all financial products and services.

Do you have a complaint about your mortgage? Let us know what you think of the bureau’s online form.

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Looking Ahead: Looking Ahead

ECONOMIC REPORTS Reports will include construction spending and I.S.M. manufacturing (Monday); personal spending, personal income and monthly auto sales (Tuesday); M.B.A. mortgage applications, ADP employment report, I.S.M. nonmanufacturing index and factory orders (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims and ICSC chain store sales (Thursday); and the monthly unemployment rate for July and consumer credit (Friday).

 CORPORATE EARNINGS Companies reporting earnings include Loews, Allstate, Plantronics and Vornado Realty (Monday); BNP Paribas, Toyota, Barclays, BMW, NYSE Euronext, A.D.M., Duke Energy, Tenet Healthcare, Porsche, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, WebMD Health, CBS, Denny’s, Primerica, Hertz, Marathon Oil, Coach and Molson Coors (Tuesday); Time Warner, KKR, RR Donnelley Sons, MasterCard, Owens Corning, Nicor, TRW Automotive, Clear Channel, Avis Budget Group, Chiquita Brands, Zipcar, Clorox and Comcast (Wednesday); ING Groep, Unilever, Deutsche Telekom, Adidas, BlackRock Kelso Capital, World Wrestling Entertainment, Alliant Energy, Dean Foods, CVS Caremark, Visteon, General Motors, Cardinal Health,; Apache and Rio Tinto (Thursday); and Constellation Energy (Friday).

 IN WASHINGTON The Senate Banking Committee will conduct a hearing on housing finance, the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee will conduct a hearing on nuclear reactor safety and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will conduct a hearing on health insurance premiums (Tuesday); the Senate Banking Committee will conduct a hearing on debt financing in the domestic financial sector, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing on cybercrime and the Senate Banking Committee will conduct a hearing on the nomination of Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, to be director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Wednesday); and the House Financial Services Committee will conduct a hearing on the exposure of United States banks to the European Union’s debt crisis (Friday).

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DealBook: Wall Street’s Newest Regulator a Longtime Foe

Richard Cordray, President Obama's choice to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Michael Houghton for The New York TimesRichard Cordray, President Obama’s choice to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Richard Cordray, President Obama’s pick to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is no stranger to Wall Street.

As Ohio’s attorney general during the fallout from the financial crisis, Mr. Cordray undertook a series of prominent lawsuits against big names in the finance world. And in late 2010, after narrowly losing re-election, he came to Washington to spearhead the bureau’s enforcement efforts.

Wall Street was largely silent about the news on Sunday, with few financial trade groups willing to say anything much publicly about the nominee.

“We look forward to a productive opportunity to engage with the new leadership of the C.F.P.B.,” said David H. Stevens, president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

But behind closed doors, some industry officials questioned whether life under Mr. Cordray would be any easier than if Mr. Obama had tapped the consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to lead the bureau. While Ms. Warren conducted a lengthy charm campaign that led her to meet with bankers from every state and subdue some criticism, Mr. Cordray has been deciding which types of enforcement cases to pursue against the industry.

Here is a look at some of the most prominent cases that made Mr. Cordray, as Ohio’s attorney general, the Midwestern sheriff of Wall Street.


While federal officials issued reports chiding the nation’s top credit rating agencies, Mr. Cordray took them to court. He sued the firms, alleging that they not only awarded top grades to troubled mortgage-backed securities but that they also were “intimately involved in structuring” the investments. The products, according to Mr. Cordray, caused retirement funds for police officers and teachers to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The rating agencies’ total disregard for the life’s work of ordinary Ohioans caused the collapse of our housing and credit markets and is at the heart of what’s wrong with Wall Street today,” he said at the time.

Status: Pending


Last fall, Mr. Cordray became one of the first attorneys general to take action in the nationwide investigation of wrongful foreclosures. His target: GMAC Mortgage, the home lending unit of General Motors, a unit of the renamed Ally Financial.

“It’s now becoming clear that fraud, deception and an utter disregard for accuracy are in part to blame for the national foreclosure disaster,” Mr. Cordray said at the time.

Status: Pending


One of Mr. Cordray’s biggest wins came against the American International Group and its former top executives, whom he accused of accounting fraud. He secured a settlement of about $700 million from the giant insurer and a $115 million deal with its former chief executive, Maurice R. Greenberg.

Status: Settled


in 2009, Mr. Cordray led a multistate lawsuit against Bank of America concerning its takeover of Merrill Lynch. Mr. Cordray accused the bank of fraudulently concealing Merrill Lynch’s huge losses around the time of the takeover.

“The amount of shareholder value affected here, negatively, is about as great as has been alleged in any case, ever,” Mr. Cordray said at the time.

Status: Pending

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