January 28, 2021

Richard Cordray, first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spoke with students in Shawnee State’s Cyber Policy, Law and Risk Management class Jan. 26.

Cordray, who has also served the Ohio Attorney General, Solicitor General and Treasurer and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2018, was the guest of instructor Michael McPhillips.

Cordray discussed trends in financial security and the importance of government’s role in protecting private citizens’ financial information.

“Initially (the CFPB) was the idea of then-law professor Elizabeth Warren,” Cordray explained. “We had government resources to protect consumers [from hazards with consumer products] but not financial protection.”

The concept grew from an idea to an actual federal agency in the aftermath of the financial challenges of 2008, and President Obama appointed Cordray as the first director. The results of the agency’s efforts have saved the financial future for many Americans, Cordray said.

“$12 billion for 30 million Americans, for those who were financially cheated or mistreated,” he said. “Many were surprised to learn we were trying to get them [reparation] and got results.”

Cordray served in the agency from its inception in 2010 until 2017. He is optimistic that President Biden’s nominee for the position, Rohit Chopra, will be confirmed by the Senate and lead the agency with strong focus. Chopra is known as an expert on student loans, among other areas.

Screenshot of virtual conference call featuring Richard Cordray
Richard Cordray (right) talks with instructor Michael McPhillips and students in a virtual session of Shawnee State’s Cyber Policy, Law and Risk Management class Jan. 26.

Cordray answered students' questions and discussed the hurdles of building a systematic protection for American citizens’ financial well-being, with everything from their savings to basic payment mechanisms such as cash, debit and credit cards and more evolving systems such as cryptocurrency.

Cordray noted that the use of cash is both riskier and falling out of favor in some countries. He said Swedish businesses have been at the forefront of adopting no-cash policies, while U.S. businesses and government are somewhat at odds over the approach. He said California’s recent moves to protect private information may serve as an influential benchmark for other states looking to strengthen private citizens’ financial data protection.

Shawnee State recently launched a new bachelor’s degree in information security, responding to the growing demand for experts in the field in nearly every business and industry.