| WASHINGTON, April 4
WASHINGTON, April 4 It takes about three times
as long for the president and U.S. Senate to install new heads
of financial regulatory agencies run by single directors as it
does to approve leaders of bipartisan commissions, a study
released on Thursday has found.
The study by the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center analyzed
how long it took the president and the Senate to complete the
nomination process for independent financial regulators such as
Securities and Exchange Commission members and the comptroller
of the currency, starting with regulators who were in office as
of January 2000.
The historical trends do not bode well for Richard Cordray,
President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, as lawmakers continue to disagree over how
the new watchdog should be structured.
"We hope the analysis is useful to the ongoing conversation
about the appropriate structure of independent financial
regulatory agencies," said Mark Olson, who leads a working group
within the center's Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative.
The study found that commission chairs take an average of
seven months to be installed, with presidents taking an average
of 74 days to nominate someone and the Senate taking 135 days on
average to confirm a nominee.
Single-director agency heads, by contrast, take an average
of two years, with the president taking an average of 439 days
to nominate a candidate and the Senate an average of 229 days to
confirm the nominee.
It took the Obama administration one year to nominate
Cordray the first time around, and the Senate has not acted on
the nomination for 623 days and counting, the report said.
Obama used a controversial recess appointment to install
Cordray as head of the CFPB last year in order to bypass Senate
confirmation. Republicans refused to confirm a director until
Obama agreed to make changes to the bureau's structure.
Obama nominated Cordray again for a full term earlier this
year. Cordray is not expected to be confirmed any time soon.
By contrast, Mary Jo White, who was chosen to head the SEC
on the same day that Obama re-nominated Cordray, appears to face
no clear opposition and is expected to be confirmed sometime
after the Senate returns from its spring recess.
Republicans in the Senate generally like Cordray and feel he
has done a good job so far. But they want the CFPB to be set up
more like the SEC, with a chairman and bipartisan board.
Despite the somewhat easier process to confirm regulatory
commission members, Congress in recent years has moved to create
more single-director financial agencies, the report said.
In 2008, Congress combined two existing agencies into one
single-head regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Then in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, Congress created the CFPB
and the Office of Financial Research (OFR), a single-director
agency within the U.S. Treasury charged with collecting and
analyzing data to spot emerging risks to financial markets.
After the OFR's launch, it took Obama 513 days to nominate
Richard Berner as its director and another 382 days for the
Senate to confirm him, the report said.
The study also found that the nominations process for
independent financial regulators has slowed under Obama compared
with his predecessor, George W. Bush.
The center unveiled a new online "nominations tracker" to
help the press and the public keep track of the nominations
process. The tracker is available at