Elizabeth Warren defends consumer protection bureau

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


DALLAS (CNNMoney) -- Elizabeth Warren is not standing down as she fights for her pet project, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to live on as a fledgling governmental agency.

One of the most popular parts of Wall Street reform passed last year, the new consumer bureau has recently come under fire from Republicans in Congress, who want to repeal, or at least limit its powers.

"There are proposals in both chambers of Congress for Dodd-Frank repeal, which would eliminate the consumer agency before it's born," Warren told reporters at a financial journalism conference in Dallas. "In other words, we would stick with a failed system."

The bureau was originally intended to be an independent agency, funded by fees that banks pay to the Federal Reserve. Beginning on July 21, it will be charged with regulating credit cards, mortgages and other financial products like payday loans.

Republicans recently introduced a bill to increase checks and balances on the bureau. One measure proposes the agency be headed by a five-member board with Democrats and Republicans, instead of a single director.

A Harvard University professor and adviser to the White House and Treasury, Warren is the agency's loudest cheerleader and is currently charged with getting it off the ground. She's thought to be the main contender for the future director spot, although political controversy has surrounded Warren's candidacy.

On Friday, she spoke against the limitations already on the bureau, including a rule that makes it easier for other agencies to overrule and veto the bureau's decisions.

"The CFPB is the only bank regulator -- and perhaps the only agency anywhere in government -- whose rules can be overruled by a group of other agencies," Warren said in prepared remarks. "This is an extraordinary restraint, another assurance that we can be held to account for our actions."

She also asked the press to help her fight to keep financial services companies accountable to their customers.

"At the consumer agency, we will do our best to keep them honest, but we need the press to do the same," she said. To top of page

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