Fannie Mae exec on shortlist to replace Cordray

by Ryan Smith13 Feb 2017
The White House is considering a Fannie Mae exec to take over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a CNBC report.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, CNBC reported that the Trump Administration is considering Brian Brooks – currently general counsel for Fannie Mae – to head the CFPB if and when President Donald Trump fires current CFPB Director Richard Cordray. 

Brooks has close ties to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, according to the report, having represented several investors in Mnuchin’s purchase of failed subprime lender IndyMac in 2009. After the purchase, Brooks joined the bank – renamed OneWest – as vice chairman. He left OneWest for Fannie Mae in 2014.

The White House has also spoken with former Rep. Randy Neugebauer about the job, according to CNBC. Also being considered is George Mason University economist Todd Zywicki.

Congressional Republicans have long been pushing for Cordray’s removal and a reorganization of the CFPB’s structure – a structure, they say, which makes Cordray practically unaccountable. But under the current rules, the president can only remove the CFPB director for cause. 

A recent court ruling found that the CFPB’s structure was unconstitutional precisely because of those rules. However, the CFPB is appealing that decision – and congressional Democrats have already promised that Trump would have a fight on his hands if he attempts to remove Cordray before the director’s term expires.

If Brooks does get the nod, Democrats are likely to balk at his OneWest connection. The bank has drawn ire on the left for the rate at which it foreclosed on troubled homeowners.

“Foreclosures happen in an economic crisis,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “But OneWest was different. It quickly gained a reputation as a foreclosure machine. … OneWest was notorious for its belligerence and its cruelty.”


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