President Obama today appointed Elizabeth Warren to oversee the creation of the new consumer protection agency created under this year's Wall Street reform bill. A Harvard law professor who's directed the Congressional oversight panel in charge of bailout funds, Warren has been a tireless and effective advocate for folks hurt by Wall Street's reckless practices. She receives wide praise not just for her passionate advocacy, but for making real progress in Washington for regular Americans.
The idea for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was Warren's—for the first time, there will be an agency 100% devoted to looking out for consumers by cracking down on unfair credit card and mortgage practices. Warren will help get the agency get set up and ultimately choose a permanent director.
President Obama laid out how this new agency will help Americans and why Professor Warren is the right person to get it off the ground:
Never again will folks be confused or misled by the pages of barely understandable fine print that you find in agreements for credit cards or mortgages or student loans. The bureau is going to crack down on the abusive practices of unscrupulous mortgage lenders. It will reinforce the new credit card law that we passed, banning unfair rate hikes and ensure that folks aren't unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. It will give students who take out college loans clear information and make sure that lenders don't game the system. And it will ensure that every American receives a free credit score if they are denied a loan or insurance because of that score.
Elizabeth understands what I strongly believe -- that a strong, growing economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. And that means every American has to get a fair shake in their financial dealings.
For years financial companies have been able to spend millions of dollars on their own watchdog -- lobbyists who look out for their interests and fight for their priorities. That's their right. But from now on, consumers will also have a powerful watchdog -- a tough, independent watchdog whose job it is to stand up for their financial interests, for their families' future. And I am proud that we got this done, and I'm equally proud that Elizabeth Warren will be helping to make her original vision a reality.
As Professor Warren wrote on the White House blog today:
President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field again for families and creating protections that work not just for the wealthy or connected, but for every American. 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. They shouldn't learn about an unfair rule or practice only when it bites them‹way too late for them to do anything about it. The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market. The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over.
This new bureau is based on the simple idea that if the playing field is level and families can see what¹s going on, they will have better tools to make better choices.