Cordray makes final plea to Trump about arbitration rule

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray sent a letter to President Trump asking him not to stop the bureau's arbitration rule. (Photo courtesy of the CFPB)

To use sports analogies, the letter might be a Hail Mary on the last play of a football game or swinging for the fences with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a baseball game.

On Monday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray penned a one-page, five-paragraph letter to President Trump, imploring him not to squash the bureau’s proposed rule that would prohibit the use of class action waivers in arbitration clauses.

According to the document shared with BHPH Report on Tuesday, Cordray delivered a straightforward message to Trump less than a week after Vice President Pence broke a tie in the U.S. Senate on a vote for a Congressional Review Act resolution to stop the CFPB’s arbitration rule from going into effect.

“The resolution is now before you to decide whether it will stand or fall,” Cordray wrote to the President. “This letter is not about charts or graphs or studies. Instead, it is simply a personal appeal to you, asking you to uphold this rule.

“Many have told me I am wasting my time writing this letter — that your mind is made up and that your advisors have already made their intentions clear,” Cordray continued. “But this rule is all about protecting people who simply want to be able to take action together to right the wrongs done to them. When people are wronged or cheated, they deserve the chance to pursue their legal rights.”

Cordray then divulged a situation perhaps some industry supporters might not find surprising; that the CFPB’s top boss and Trump “have never met or spoken.” President Obama tapped Cordray, who at the time was Ohio’s attorney general, to lead the CFPB beginning back in 2013.

“But I am aware that over the course of your long career in business you often found it necessary to go to court when you thought you were treated unfairly,” Cordray continued in his message to Trump. “Of course, most Americans cannot afford to do this on their own, so they have to band together to be able to fight companies like Wells Fargo that opened millions of fake accounts or Equifax when it allowed sensitive personal data to be breached for more than 145 million Americans.”

Cordray closed his message this way.

“I think you really don’t like to see American families, including veterans and service members, get cheated out of their hard-earned money and be left helpless to fight back. I know that some have made elaborate arguments to pretend like that is not what is happening. But you are a smart man, and I think we both know what is really happening here,” Cordray wrote.

When Congressional Review Act resolutions made their way through both the Senate and the House, industry groups including the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the American Financial Services all cheered the development.

While the President hasn’t taken action yet, the immediate reaction from the White House seemed clear. The administration mentioned a recent report by the Department of the Treasury.

“The evidence is clear that the CFPB’s rule would neither protect consumers nor serve the public interest. Rather, under the rule, consumers would have fewer options for quickly and efficiently resolving financial disputes,” a White House statement said.

“Further, the rule would harm our community banks and credit unions by opening the door to frivolous lawsuits by special interest trial lawyers,” that statement continued. “By repealing this rule, Congress is standing up for everyday consumers and community banks and credit unions, instead of the trial lawyers, who would have benefited the most from the CFPB’s uninformed and ineffective policy.”

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