President Barack Obama deserves our whole-hearted support for his recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

There is no question we need a cop on the beat to prevent the reckless behavior that helped cause the financial crisis. The bureau will help protect those of us who use credit cards or have student loans or mortgages on our homes.

With Cordray’s appointment, the agency will be able to make sure that payday lenders and student loan providers, such as the private schools run by Sen. Olympia Snowe’s husband, will have to play by the rules.

Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins, who objects to Obama’s action, admits the goal of her colleagues’ refusal to allow a confirmation vote of any director was to keep the agency from functioning.

Wherever payday lenders are allowed to operate, their borrowers, most of whom cannot qualify for a bank loan, can be charged up to 400 percent interest. Many have difficulty paying back their loans and end up being victimized further through subsequent renewals.

Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says some payday loan operators are given licenses to operate in Maine. I recently received an email solicitation from an unlicensed payday lender with an Arizona address. Another out-of-state lender regularly advertises on television here in Maine.

It’s time for Maine’s two senators to begin supporting the people who elected them instead of the financial services industry. One has to wonder why Collins and Snowe are now against the agency that they, along with the Democrats, helped to create when they voted for the bill in 2010.

E. John Moulis


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