President Barack Obama plans to name Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren to a special advisory role helping to set up the new U.S. consumer financial watchdog. Warren, a 61-year-old Harvard law professor, would report to Obama and the Treasury Department in a position that would bypass the Senate confirmation process. When is the announcement? More likely to come on Friday. Warren is reviled by many on Wall Street for her calls to crack down on abusive lending practices by financial firms, but she is a hero to liberal activists and consumer groups.
The landmark U.S. financial reform law, enacted in July, mandated the creation of the consumer bureau, which will have broad powers to write and enforce regulations covering mortgages, credit cards and other financial products. Warren, whom Obama has referred to as a “dear friend,” came up with the idea for the consumer agency. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley welcomed Obama’s decision but said he still hoped Obama would nominate Warren to a permanent position as head of the consumer bureau. “There isn’t a candidate more fit to get the new consumer financial protection agency up and running than Elizabeth Warren,” Merkley said. “She has been a tireless advocate for financial fairness for working families and was the driving force behind the creation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”