U.S. consumer agency reforms needed-Sen. McConnell

WASHINGTON, July 18 Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:37pm EDT

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - Changes must be made to a new consumer protection agency before the U.S. Senate can consider confirming President Barack Obama's choice of Richard Cordray to head it, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday.

"We'll insist on serious reforms to bring accountability and transparency to the agency before we consider any nominee to run it," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scheduled to begin operating this week and Obama has announced his choice of Cordray to head the agency charged with protecting U.S. consumers from abusive mortgage lending practices and hidden credit card fees.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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