(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, might have been at the center of the storm early this year when President Obama made his controversial recess appointment to head the newly created agency.

But Cordray’s not exactly a bombastic, limelight-seeking type — he’s actually mild-mannered and just a little nerdy (he’s a five-time Jeopardy! champ). He answered the Loop’s questions for the inaugural edition of a new Q & A feature we’re calling Background Check, in which we grill various government types about their lives on and off the clock. (You can send suggestions for future subjects to intheloop@washpost.com).

Cordray spills about how his parents inspired him — and about his likeness to the actor who plays Kenneth the NBC page on the show “30 Rock.”

What’s your favorite non-work-related Web site/app/magazine?

Sports Illustrated

Fill in the blank: People would be surprised to know that I ______.

Was persuaded to rent a Kindle from my son for $7 a month (the dark side of financial savvy).

What’s your dream job?


What’s the best job you ever had?

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What motivated you to go into public service?

When I was growing up, both of my parents worked with developmentally disabled children and adults and the way they helped people inspired me to go into public service.

Favorite TV show?

The PBS special on Seabiscuit. 

Which character from that show do you most identify with?


What subject, other than your work, do you know the most about?


Fill in the blank: I’m scared of __________.

Losing at pub night trivia.

What’s one word you wish people would use to describe you?


Y ou can draft one person in the private sector to work for the federal government. Who would it be, and what would you have them do?

Jack McBrayer, Body Double

Actor Jack McBrayer: A Cordray look-alike? (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)