Magazine article American Banker

'Gov. Cordray'? Ohio Bankers Hedge Their Bets

Magazine article American Banker

'Gov. Cordray'? Ohio Bankers Hedge Their Bets

Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Prang

Ohio bankers are keeping an open mind about a possible gubernatorial run by Richard Cordray.

While Cordray hasn't announced any plans, his tenure as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is enough to make bankers nervous in a 2018 race to succeed Gov. John Kasich that already has several declared candidates.

Bankers are "by no means happy with the CFPB as an agency and what it has done," said J.T. Thurston, vice president of public relations for the Ohio Bankers League. The agency's policies, including the qualified mortgage rule "constrained banks, particularly community banks, in terms of the amount of lending that they can do."

Still, it is too soon to say bankers are completely opposed to a Cordray candidacy. In fact, some are willing to hear him out.

Donald Hileman, president and CEO of the $2.9 billion-asset First Federal Bank of the Midwest in Defiance, said that he would like to see a platform before making a decision, and that he has mixed feelings about Cordray's time at the CFPB.

Though the agency has "too many one-size-fits-all policies," Hileman said, there has "clearly been a positive tone" toward consumer protection.

"His experience would be valuable to the state," Hileman added. "It goes back to just what is the agenda that he would bring to his campaign to run for the governor."

Leading the CFPB is a "difficult position" to have, said Howard Boyle, president and CEO of the $187 million-asset Hometown Bank in Kent. The agency is "just one additional bureaucracy that's technically unnecessary," he said. …

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