Warren Appointed Adviser for Consumer Agency

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President Obama announced today that Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and head of the TARP oversight committee, will be appointed to a special advisory role and tasked with building up the consumer protection agency.

“[Treasury] Secretary Geithner and I both agree that Elizabeth is the best person to stand this agency up,” Obama said in a press conference.

Warren will serve as an assistant to the President and a special adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury. In this role, she will still oversee the creation of the agency, though it leaves open the possibility that someone else may be appointed the agency’s head.

The President referred to Warren as the "architect" of the new consumer agency and said that in her new position, "she will have direct access to me and Secretary Geithner."

There were rumors earlier in the week that Obama would appoint Warren to be the agency’s interim leader, in order to avoid a potentially divisive Senate vote, with the possibility of making her the agency’s permanent head down the road.

According to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of Warren’s most outspoken supporters, Warren did not want to be nominated to a permanent role leading the agency, so this arrangement may have been as much about her desires as political pressure.

The president’s announcement this afternoon was merely a formality. Warren had already put an end to weeks of speculation with an official announcement earlier in the day.

“The President asked me, and I enthusiastically agreed,” Warren wrote on the White House website.  “The President and I are committed to the same vision on CFPB, and I am confident that I will have the tools I need to get the job done.”

While Warren did not lay out any specifics for what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, she did lay out a broad goal for the new consumer agency.

“The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea:  People ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal,” she wrote. “[I]f the playing field is level and families can see what’s going on, they will have better tools to make better choices.”

Warren’s appointment has already generated mixed reviews.

“There is no better suited person to lead the bureau than Warren,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, in a press release. “Her appointment ensures the Bureau will be a powerful and independent voice for consumers.”

On the other hand, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has voiced its concern that President Obama appears to be taking a roundabout path toward putting Warren in charge of the bureau in order to bypass the Senate approval process.

"By not allowing Ms. Warren's nomination to be considered through the regular order of the full Senate confirmation process, the administration has circumvented one of the very few checks on a big new agency that already has been given an unprecedented concentration of regulatory powers," said David Hirschmann, the leader of the chamber's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, according to the New York Times. "This maneuver is an affront to the pledge of transparency and consumer protection that's purported to be the focus of this new agency."

For more information about Warren’s background and why she may be the best fit for this position, check out this MainStreet article.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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