The Senate’s confirmation of Richard Cordray on Tuesday as the first permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cements a new era of intensive oversight of companies that lend money to consumers. Democrats battled Republican objections to create the agency in 2010, guided by the conviction that the financial crisis showed the need for an independent agency to protect borrowers from abusive lending practices.
But that achievement had been compromised, until Tuesday, when Republicans were forced to allow a vote on Mr. Cordray. The law required that the Senate confirm a director before the bureau could exercise its full authority.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who conceived the agency when she was a Harvard professor and supervised its creation as an Obama administration official, presided over the 66-to-34 confirmation vote, announcing the results with obvious satisfaction.
“It is a truly historic day,” Ms. Warren told reporters before the vote. “There’s no doubt that the consumer agency will survive beyond the crib. There is now no doubt that the American people will have a strong watchdog in Washington.”
Mr. Cordray, 54, and the agency are now set up to regulate interactions between borrowers and lenders, from the largest banks to mom-and-pop payday shops, and the terms of mortgages and student loans among other financial transactions.