Will Warren be Chosen to Head New Consumer Finance Agency?

Elizabeth Warren is a leading contender for the new agency whose creation she espoused, but no nomination has yet been made.

Elizabeth Warren has not been formally nominated to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, but it would be hard to tell that from the news coverage. The Gottlieb professor of law, who chaired the panel that oversaw the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, has been the subject of editorials, columns, and front-page articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe. The White House has praised her, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has defended her on the Charlie Rose show on PBS.

Warren is a visible and obvious candidate because she herself floated the idea of creating the new agency in a 2007 article for the journal Democracy, and in a 2008 Harvard Magazine article; authorization of the agency became law last week with President Obama's signature. But there are two other candidates on the shortlist, the Times reports. In addition, Times chief financial correspondent Floyd Norris offers his analysis of the factors Obama must weigh in choosing a nominee, and of the challenges that lie ahead for the new agency. The New Republic examines the likelihood that Warren will be nominated and confirmed, and suggests that "it wouldn't be surprising."

The banking industry opposes Warren's candidacy: "She’s a partisan and she’s bull-headed and she’s opinionated," the head of the Oklahoma Bankers Association told the Times. But she has many supporters. She has been endorsed in both the Times and the Globe: "The banks don't oppose Ms. Warren because she doesn't get it," the Times editorial said. "They oppose her because she does." And the Wall Street Journal's David Weidner wrote, "Giving the job to someone else would be like letting Steve Jobs come up with the iPad and then giving it to Microsoft Corp. to market. You'd almost certainly lose the soul."

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