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Warren to Help Build New Financial Protection Agency?

September 17, 2010

NEW YORK - She dreamed up the agency; now she'll help build it. Reports say Harvard law professor and consumer defender Elizabeth Warren will be appointed by President Obama to an advisory post in the Treasury Department where she'll help set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The appointment will allow her to bypass what some predict would be a risky and lengthy Senate nomination process.

Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center says she's "thrilled" by the prospect.

"She, for years, has been sounding the alarm about how American families have been let down by the tricks and the traps out there in the marketplace."

A spokesperson for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness calls Warren's possible appointment a "maneuver" that goes against the pledge of transparency that the new agency is supposed to represent.

However, Ira Rheingold of the National Association of Consumer Advocates says there's "no one better" to run the new agency - although, he admits, in a perfect world he would have liked to have seen her nominated and approved by the Senate.

"Because the banking industry is so fiercely opposed to her - because she's demonstrated a willingness to stand up for consumers - it would be an all-out war in the Senate because all the moneyed interests would be opposed to her."

Elizabeth Warren has written several books on how debt, predatory lending and bankruptcy affect average Americans.

Lauren Saunders says she is the right person at the right time to implement her original vision.

"We've seen the failures of the government to protect consumers and it's wrecked our entire economy."

Since 1995, Warren has taught courses on bankruptcy and contract law at Harvard.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY