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Warren Defends Consumer Bureau Openness to Congress, Public

Elizabeth Warren will rebut Republican criticism that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lacks openness in her first appearance before Congress as the special adviser charged with setting up the agency.

“There will be more oversight and accountability of the CFPB than any other federal-banking regulator,” Warren said in prepared remarks for a hearing tomorrow. “Over time, I believe these limits will succeed in ensuring both sunlight and accountability in the consumer bureau’s operations.”

Congressional Republicans have criticized what they see as the bureau’s lack of accountability and Warren’s role in negotiations on mortgage servicing. Warren was invited to the talks as an adviser, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner wrote today in a letter to leading congressional Republicans.

“I personally invited Elizabeth Warren to advise the other agencies as a part of this process of how to design appropriate servicing standards for the mortgage-servicing industry,” Geithner said today during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Regarding the mortgage-servicing negotiations, Warren condemned “political attacks” against law-enforcement officials for responding to alleged crimes, according to a separate statement released by Warren’s office.

“We know what can happen when laws aren’t fairly or consistently enforced because of political pressure, and it doesn’t end well for American families, for honest businesses, or for the economy,” she said in the statement.

‘Active Partner’

The CFPB also will be an “active partner in the important work of oversight,” through its so-called stand-up period, which is scheduled to end July 21, she said in the prepared remarks.

“Oversight of the CFPB, during its stand-up and beyond, will build greater confidence in the consumer bureau by both other governmental entities and the public,” Warren said, according to the prepared remarks.

Warren outlined the bureau’s priorities, including simplifying disclosure for mortgages and credit cards, and said that the CFPB will study other markets as well.

“It is important that the costs and risks associated with other products -- such as prepaid cards, payday loans, remittances, overdrafts and title loans -- also be clear and up-front,” Warren said in her remarks.

Warren is scheduled to testify before the financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.

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