WSJ: Search for Head of Consumer Financial Agency Begins

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Elizabeth Warren, the White House advisor along with a top lieutenant have started to quietly ask business and consumer groups for names of people who might run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

According to the article, the names being discussed are Iowa’s attorney general, Tom Miller; New York state bank regulator Richard Neiman; and former Office of Thrift Supervision director Ellen Seidman.

The Obama administration weighed nominating Ms. Warren earlier this year but held off amid concern that Republicans who consider her anti-business would block her appointment. Instead, she was named a special adviser to set up the agency, and a decision on a permanent head was put off until 2011.  Several federal agencies are scheduled to transfer their powers to the new agency in July, and the administration wants to have a confirmed chief in place by then. Without a Senate-confirmed director, the agency’s powers would be limited. For example, the agency wouldn’t be able to issue certain new rules on lending.

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Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association, another lending trade group, said he was “perplexed” that the White House hasn’t nominated someone yet. “It’s going to take months for anyone to get confirmed,” he said.

U.S. Seeks Chief For Financial Consumer Agency

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  • It is not just Republicans who consider Ms. Warren too anti-business and controversial. Many in the moderate and conservative wing of the Democratic Party consider her such an anti-business ideologue and zealot that they question her ability to provide the unbiased wisdom needed to select a reasonably acceptable Director. No Democrat or recognized Republican seems to doubt her brillance or intellect.

    It will be interesting to see the reception of Senate Democrats, particularly those with moderate and conservative leanings, to the nominee(s) she selects. There is the strong possibility there will be no Director come late January 2013.

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