In an interview with Danielle Douglas of The Washington Post, Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection  Bureau (CFPB), answered pointed questions about the direction of the CFPB and his role in guiding the agency.

When asked how he would describe the Bureau's style of supervision, Cordray stressed that the agency is new and the industries it oversees are new to this type of consumer protection oversight.

"We have to institute our supervision program for financial institutions that are used to being regulated, but not necessarily used to being regulated with a focus on consumer protection. It’s an adjustment for them.

But in the nonbank sphere, they’re often not used to being regulated at all, or only on the state level. In that area, there has been a real shift toward more of a compliance mentality. And our being on the scene and doing this work has caused that shift. And it’s an important one if we’re going to get to where we have a leveled playing field in these markets."

In a very telling response to the question "How do you manage the industry's fear about the broad power of the bureau?, Cordray said, " It’s an adjustment for companies, one that needed to be made. It’s the right perspective that an institution needs to merge the short-term and long-term thinking about its business model.  It’s not a long-term business model to take advantage of your consumers in ways that are not sustainable. That’s what brings safety and soundness regulation and consumer-protection regulation back together and really makes them harmonious."

Essentially he's telling the short term lending industry that you need to change the way you do business, as it's the Bureau's belief that it wasn't sustainable as it was currently going.  It would seem to indicate that he's not afraid to make changes.

The next steps for the Bureau elicited some interesting information.  Cordray said that additional examination and rules are coming to the debt collection agency.  He said that it is one of the most complained about industries overall.  He estimates that more than 30 million Americans have some form of debt collector on their tail.  That's almost ten percent of the population.

As the Fair Debt Collection Act was passed in 1977 and no updates have been made to the law, he stresses the need to update it.

Cordray was reserved in his response to the future of payday lending.  Because there are so many different governmental agencies involved, state, federal and international in some cases, that he said the research stage of oversight continues.

Cordray comes across as forthright and open about the Bureau's plans.  Various industries may not be happy, but few are surprised and there may be something to be said about being prepared.