Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Obama coy on who will lead consumer agency

obama_warren.gi.top.jpgPresident Obama said he will 'soon' announce a nominee to head new consumer protection agency. By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Obama reiterated Friday the need for a new consumer financial protection regulator, although he would not officially say who he wants to run the agency.

In a news conference at the White House, Obama said he has had several conversations with Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University professor who is the leading candidate for the job, over the last few months. But he stopped short of officially nominating her, saying that he will make an announcement on the issue "soon."

Warren, 61, has emerged as a leading candidate - especially among liberal Democrats - to run the new agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive mortgage and credit card practices. But there is speculation that her nomination would not garner sufficient votes in the Senate, since some lawmakers believe she lacks experience and is too liberal.

The agency, known as the bureau of consumer financial protection, is a key part of the administration's regulatory reform bill, which was signed into law earlier this year. "This agency has the capacity to really provide middle-class families the kind of protections that's been lacking for too long," Obama said.

But he said the agency will take time to get off the ground, adding that it has only been "a couple of months" since the reform bill became law.

"This is a big task, standing up this entire agency," the president said.

He said the new agency will prevent credit card companies from raising interest rates for no reason, including on existing balances. "And that could save American consumers tens of billions of dollars just in the first couple of years."

Obama also said the agency will shield consumers from abusive practices in the mortgage industry, making sure that the terms of a mortgage are easy to understand and helping consumers avoid being hit with "huge balloon payments."

"There's going to be some oversight in terms of how mortgages are shaped," he said. "That's going to affect the economy as well as individual consumers." To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,660.71 9.45 0.05%
Nasdaq 4,717.09 -8.55 -0.18%
S&P 500 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
Treasuries 1.75 -0.04 -2.07%
Data as of 5:42am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.05 -0.08 -0.57%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.71 0.06 1.06%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 11.29 -0.51 -4.32%
Apple Inc 93.24 -0.38 -0.41%
General Electric Co 29.89 -0.18 -0.60%
Data as of May 5
Sponsors

Sections

Sumner Redstone, 92, was deposed on videotape Thursday ahead of a trial Friday that will determine his mental competency. It could have implications for Viacom and CBS. More

CNNMoney predicts 197,000 jobs added in April and the unemployment rate remaining at 5%. More

Elon Musk and SpaceX have done it again: The company has successfully landed a rocket on its drone ship. More

Visa says new software will allow consumers to check out with chip cards as fast as swiping a card with magnetic strip. More