Who should lead?

An important aspect of Wall Street reform is the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will take charge of nearly all federal consumer protection regulation – including regulation of mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and other financial products.  The new Bureau might even be able to help us spread the word about the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA).

Why does the Bureau matter to people concerned about ending homelessness?  Well, what helped kick-start the financial crisis?  The push for universal homeownership, which led to the issuance of risky subprime mortgages.  And once home values plunged, many Americans found themselves held prisoner by crippling consumer debt.  The new Bureau can’t make those debts disappear, but it will be able to write fair rules that help give low income families the chance to stay financially stable, and avoid homelessness.

President Obama is now faced with a decision on who to appoint as the Bureau’s new director.  It should be Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is currently heading up the Congressional Oversight Panel tasked with overseeing implementation of TARP.  In that role, she has been a passionate advocate for helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, unafraid to criticize the actions of an Administration that she supports as too little, too late.  The new Bureau was Warren’s idea, and she worked closely on the legislation with consumer and affordable housing groups.  She knows what PTFA is, and why it’s important.  And finally, she’s got the Jon Stewart seal of approval.

– Jeremy Rosen, Policy Director

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