Elizabeth Warren To Head Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

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One of the creations of the financial reform bill (H.R. 4173 “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”) was a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB), an organization that is charged with regulating financial products from payday loans to mortgages, credit cards to credit counseling, and a litany of products in between. Here’s an analysis of the actual text of the bill that creates this executive agency.

This week, President Obama announced that he would be calling on Elizabeth Warren to lead the agency.

Here’s the fun part: Warren was named “assistant to the president and special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in charge of launching the new agency and setting its mission.” Had she been named its first director, she would need Senate confirmation, which would’ve been very difficult. Instead, she was named a “special advisor” with a broad set of powers that sound very much like those tasked to an agency’s first director. She’ll be recruiting staff, setting policy, and be the face of the agency.

Despite her prominence in the news lately, I don’t know much about Elizabeth Warren other than that she was tasked to as the chair of the oversight panel that investigated TARP and is seen as a consumer advocate.

I also think it’s a sad sign of the times that we have to employ such trickeration to get a clearly qualified candidate into a position we all need her to be in.

White House Taps Consumer Adviser [Wall Street Journal]

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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22 Responses to “Elizabeth Warren To Head Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection”

  1. zapeta says:

    Well, I hope that the new Bureau actually has some power to get things done. I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

  2. cubiclegeoff says:

    With our political system continuing to become more partisan on all issues, nothing ever seems to get done when someone is nominated, since there are so many ways to hold off any vote. Sad that there needed to be a work around, but without it, no one would lead the agency any time soon.

  3. It is indeed a sad state of political affairs when games have to be played just to get someone who could be the RIGHT person for a job that we really need to fill! Hopefully she can make it happen without requiring too much chicanery of her own!

  4. Ron says:

    Another day, another Obama czar.

  5. When the opposition votes ‘no’ on everything and a simple majority does not rule, there are no legitimate alternatives.

    I expect good things from Professor Warren.

  6. Darin H says:

    Sad day when the Democrat president can’t nominate someone who just has to get the approval of ONE Republican – assuming all the Democrats plus Dem leaning Independent senators vote for her. Got to be something wrong with her if she can’t get the vote of Collins, Snowe or Brown.

  7. faithann says:

    Hurrah, hurrah – he couldn’t have picked a better advocate for consumer protection! This woman is one smart cookie who tells it like it is and pulls no punches if the government or private firms aren’t doing what’s best for consumers!!

  8. Oh, happy day! Another expensive government agency that we don’t need run by someone who couldn’t pass the softball scrutiny of the Senate. More professors with no business experience– sounds like the perfect formula for success.

  9. Evan says:

    “I also think it’s a sad sign of the times that we have to employ such trickeration to get a clearly qualified candidate into a position we all need her to be in.”

    What? The sad sign of the times when the president supercedes CHECKS AND BALANCES! Or maybe Obama was afraid that YET ANOTHER ONE OF HIS nominees didn’t feel like paying her taxes.

    • zapeta says:

      If Obama is trying to supersede checks and balances, its certainly a precedent set by many other presidents before him…and lets not pretend that Obama is the only person who ever nominated someone and later found out the nominee had some problems. In any case, it should be good to have someone in the position that at least seems serious about consumer protection.

      • Evan says:

        I would never pretend either of those things but then all that would mean is that there have been a “sad sign of times” many many times prior.

        Notwithstanding the appointee – the whole thing is garbage. Go check out the FTC’s website the tagline is “Protecting America’s Consumers.” lol. If this new agency is protecting us should we shut down the ftc?

  10. bub says:

    She is a very smart woman.

  11. Rosa Rugosa says:

    Elizabeth Warren! That’s wonderful news!

  12. Michael says:

    Whilst I give Ms. Warren pretty high marks on most things, and would be interested to see what she could accomplish were she given any sort of “pull,” the cynic in me is quite sure that the abovementioned “pull” will not go to her; she’ll be largely a figurehead. The “popular and known public face” of the CFPA.

    Instead, somewhere above her will be a cadre of ex-Goldman-Sachs’ers. *They* will be the ones pulling the strings.

    And all the while, when decisions are being made, Ms. Warren will be residing “downstairs in Storage B.”

  13. Mike says:

    Don’t worry. If this doesn’t work Obama has plan B all drawn up. Blame Bush.

  14. Tim says:

    people with good ideas are not the best leaders or implementers. The administration really should have hired on some neutral panel to set up agency. I think for a president that ran on and constantly touts openness and non-cronyism, hiring Warren on is really ridiculous.

    I also think it is a complete waste of money to hire another govt “adviser” earning SES pay when there are plenty of career civil servants int he govt that could have headed up the new bureau. i also think it was a complete waste of money to create a new bureau in the first place, when they could have just given the CPA the mandates. We now have another agency to oversee a bunch of existing agencies to write policies. Something similar to the stupid creation of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI). Instead of consolidating agencies, we simply add more levels of bureaucracies, which will cost a ton of money (I’m sure Warren will need a new office and staff and letter head).

    the first thing the new bureau ought to do is start having existing consumer protection rules enforced…like forcing companies to stop price fixing, which MSRP has become.

    the second thing, well probably the first thing, is to have the govt stop re-spending the repaid TARP money.

  15. FlyFisher says:

    Disagree with the means, no matter which party.

  16. Banditfist says:

    Of course, some of the previous post fail to identify that it is Sen Christopher Dodd (DEMOCRAT) that objects to her appointment.

    Dodd sold his soul long ago. Thankfully, he is retiring.

  17. Richard says:

    We have members of Congress who specialize in heel-dragging….just never quite get anything done. Even Jesus would probably have a poblem getting approved if he was not of the right political persuasion. How tiresome government is…..just the same old stuff over and over and the elected people never seem to catch on.

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