Richard Cordray, New Head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Will the former Ohio attorney general's Jeopardy! credentials help him thrive as a consumer advocate?

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Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Incoming CFPB director Richard Cordray listens to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama in Cleveland, Ohio on January 4, 2012.

President Obama has put an end to months of Senate filibustering, overriding Republicans and officially appointing Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

So who is Cordray, and what do you need to know about him? For starters, he’s smart. Not just Oxford and University of Chicago smart, but Jeopardy! smart. The former Ohio attorney general is a five-time champion. The 52-year-old Ohio Democrat also boasts an impressive list of political and legal credentials, which bodes well given the nature of his new gig.

(MORE: Obama Expected to Appoint Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief)

Fast Facts:

  • Born in Grove City, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus
  • Attended college at Michigan State University, majoring in political theory
  • Received a master’s in economics from Oxford University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago
  • Served as editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review
  • Began his political career in Washington as a Supreme Court clerk for a Reagan appointee
  • Served as an Ohio state representative in the early 1990s, but lost his position due to redistricting after one term in office
  • Worked in private law practices and local political office until 2008, when he was appointed Ohio’s attorney general
  • As attorney general, initiated a series of investigations of major financial companies, including Bank of America, with settlements he won totaling more than $2 billion
  • Is married to Capital University Law Professor Peggy Cordray and is the father of fraternal twins

Quotes By Cordray:

“I am now the director and my work will be to protect American consumers … I’m going to be 100% focused on that.” (via GlobalPost)

“We fight battles all the time. We have been battling the mortgage servicers, people who actually handle the mortgage payments. They are the ones who need to be doing the work on loan modifications. We find their customer service to be just abysmal.” (via MarketWatch)

Quotes About Cordray:

“He’s from the same mold as Elizabeth Warren but he is easier to get approved.” -Matt McCormick, portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel Inc. in Cincinnati (via Reuters)

“He’s got a gold-plated resume and a wealth of experience. … He’s very reasonable, he’s very smart, he’s very fair … He understands the financial, the economic, the fiscal things, as well as the law enforcement side of it … To me, that’s the type of person you want in that position.” -llinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (via Washington Post)

“With her track record of standing up to Wall Street and fighting for consumers, Elizabeth Warren was the best qualified to lead this bureau that she conceived — and we imagine Richard Cordray would agree … That said, Rich Cordray has been a strong ally of Elizabeth Warren’s and we hope he will continue her legacy of holding Wall Street accountable.” -Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (via Politico)

LIST: Richard Cordray, Top Consumer Advocate Nominee, in 10 Quotes

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