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Warren to Help Build New Financial Protection Agency

September 21, 2010

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

Lauren Saunders, managing attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, says she's "thrilled" by the prospect of having Warren in effective charge of that agency.

"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."

Some of West Virginia's elderly have been hurt by home refinance deals with high fees and interest rates. Warren has focused attention on loans like those in the past.

Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, says there's "no-one better" to run the new agency, although he admits that, 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."

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

Lauren Saunders says Warren 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.

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

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV