WASHINGTON--Raj Date, the No. 2 official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is planning to soon leave the agency he helped create, a critical departure that is likely to kick off a high-speed search for his replacement.
A spokeswoman late Monday confirmed Mr. Date's plans to depart the consumer bureau on Jan. 31, "after the CFPB finalizes the slate of mortgage rules Congress mandated."
Mr. Date has been a key agency leader on the mortgage rule-writing project, meeting regularly with top bank executives and consumer group officials as the agency works to craft significant rules mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. Rules such as the so-called "qualified mortgage" rule are aimed at protecting consumers from sketchy home lending practices thought to have fueled the housing meltdown.
The regulations are set to become one of the agency's signature, and most complicated, projects. If the regulations are written too strictly, they could freeze up the market for home loans, stakeholders warn.
Although Mr. Date will be staying on until the mortgage rules are finalized, the agency still will be losing a critical advocate.
"Raj has spent more than two years building the agency at a breakneck pace, playing a number of key leadership roles," spokeswoman Jen Howard said in a statement.
Mr. Date, a former Wall Street executive who has worked at Deutsche Bank Securities and Capital One Financial Corp., helped establish and make the case for the agency, which was created by Dodd-Frank to police financial markets. The agency's creation was opposed by the financial-services industry, but Mr. Date's presence eased some industry angst given his familiarity of Wall Street.
After Elizabeth Warren, the agency's chief architect who last week defeated Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, departed in August 2011, Mr. Date ran the agency until President Barack Obama appointed Richard Cordray, an ex-Ohio attorney general, to the director post in January 2012. Cordray appointed Mr. Date as the agency's deputy director the next day.
Mr. Cordray is expected to stay in his post until his appointment expires at the end of 2013.
The consumer agency hasn't been without controversy. Republican lawmakers have sought to reshape the agency so that it is run by a panel instead of a single director and legislation that would give Congress a greater say over the agency's budget. Democrats, on other hand, say such changes would water down the agency.
Mr. Date has been with the agency since day one, strongly defending the bureau's current governance structure and touting the agency's work on Capitol Hill. He's also been key in recruiting top staff. Mr. Date started working on the consumer agency as a Treasury Department official. He then became the chief of the agency's research, markets and regulations division.
"His legacy is a consumer bureau grounded in data-driven analysis, market-based pragmatism, and the real-world experiences of American consumers," Ms. Howard said of Mr. Date.
She added Mr. Date has "no current plans for his career after the CFPB, other than to spend more time with his family."
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