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CFPB’s New Temporary Director Pressing Forward With Biden Agenda

Jan. 22, 2021, 2:30 PM

CFPB acting Director David Uejio doesn’t plan to wait for the Senate before getting to work on Biden administration priorities in areas such as racial justice and the Covid-19 response.

President Biden on Jan. 20 tapped Uejio, previously the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s chief strategy officer, to run the agency until his nominee for permanent director, Rohit Chopra, is confirmed. Chopra is currently a member of the Federal Trade Commission.

While Uejio wasn’t one of the CFPB’s public faces, his former role was to coordinate all of the bureau’s initiatives, giving him insight into a wide range of functions including rulemaking, compliance, and enforcement. That experience will enable Uejio to lay solid groundwork for Chopra, said Richard Cordray, the bureau’s first director.

Uejio has been with the CFPB since 2011 and worked with Chopra, who served as the bureau’s student loan ombudsman during the Obama administration. The two share many of the same priorities, Cordray said.

Any changes Uejio installs will be in “directions that Rohit would want to take the bureau,” he said.

“We’re all birds of a feather,” Cordray said.

‘All Available Measures’

Uejio took over as acting director after former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, a Trump appointee, resigned at Biden’s request. In a staff email obtained by Bloomberg Law, Uejio said he won’t function merely “as a steward” during his tenure as the CFPB’s acting leader.

“I believe the bureau can and must do more to meet the moment to ensure we are taking all available measures to protect consumers, particularly the most vulnerable,” Uejio wrote.

Uejio’s email listed meeting the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and addressing racial inequities in lending as among his top priorities.

The CFPB under Biden is expected to more closely scrutinize how lenders, consumer credit reporting bureaus, debt collectors, and others implement mandated Covid-19 consumer relief measures.

Uejio’s work at the CFPB made him a sort of internal consultant that helped its units develop ways to effectively implement strategies, said Brian Johnson, a former deputy CFPB director under Kraninger.

Johnson called Uejio’s selection as acting director “an inspired choice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Evan Weinberger in New York at eweinberger@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com; Laura D. Francis at lfrancis@bloomberglaw.com

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