Sidestepping a potentially difficult confirmation process, President Obama tomorrow is expected to name Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren to be a special adviser to him and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Her primary job will be to oversee the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in the financial regulatory overhaul that Obama signed into law in July.
Warren, a strong critic of the practices of some large banks and other financial institutions, came up with the idea for the agency, which will have wide-ranging responsibility to write and enforce regulations.
Strong opposition to Warren among most Republicans and some Democrats would make confirming Warren to the agency's directorship difficult. Obama's decision to name her a special adviser circumvents the process for now while leaving him the option of appointing her later.
Consumer groups are pleased by the decision because they believe she will be sensitive to the needs of consumers and aggressive in fighting predatory practices. Business groups contend she is anti-business and that by appointing Warren in this way, Obama is detracting from the transparency that was supposed to be one of the key goals of the new agency.
All credit unions will be subject to the rules and regulations issued by the CFPB but the agency will only have primary supervisory authority over the three credit unions with more than $10 billion in assets.