Elizabeth Warren, the lead advocate for the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, seems to like—or, at least, not dislike—the financial reform package (finally) released on Monday by Sen. Chris Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate banking committee. In the summary of the legislation, Dodd notes that his bill would create the CFPA as an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve—which could pose problems—but that it will have the power to write and enforce rules governing the sale of various financial products, including credit cards and mortgages. Yet its enforcement powers would not extend to banks with less than $10 billion in assets. In a statement, Warren notes:
Since bringing our economy to the brink of collapse, Wall Street has spent more than a year and hundreds of millions of dollars in an all-out effort to block financial reform. Despite the banks’ ferocious lobbying for business as usual, Chairman Dodd took an important step today by advancing new laws to prevent the next crisis. We're now heading toward a series of votes in which the choice will be clear: families or banks.
That sounds like a cautious endorsement. A source close to Warren notes she is concerned that the new watchdog's enforcement powers may not be vigorous enough and that there are several provisions, such as one governing the treatment of non-banks, which need strengthening. The CFPA debate will continue.