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Consumer Protection Bureau Working With Banks: Cordray

The new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said he is working with bankers — including critic Jamie Dimon — to level the playing field between the banks and the unregulated brokers in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.

President Obama and Richard Cordray
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Obama and Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray, whose recess appointment by President Barack Obama sparked outrage from Republican congressional leaders, told CNBC Friday he spoke to the JP Morgan Chase CEO and "we talked about how we can work together" and about "the importance of the job that we do."

Dimon has criticized the bureau's formation, calling the legislation that created it "Dodd-Frankenstein."

Cordray said Dimon and the other bankers with whom he spoke are "interested in our effort to level the playing field between banks and nonbanks" as many feel that it was nonbank firms in the mortgage markets that eroded standards and contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis. A "race to the bottom" as he described it.

"You can’t have a market that works when part of it is regulated and part of it is not regulated," Cordray said. "The lessons we learned from this crisis will lead our work going forward."

Cordray said he won't be distracted by the political sniping by Republicans over whether or not Congress was in recess when Obama made the appointment.

"The important thing was the consumer bureau needed a director in order to be able to protect people in the marketplace," he said. "That’s our role, that’s our job, and I'm going to focus 100 percent of my energy on it."

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