Michigan Ex-Governor Granholm Said to Reject Consumer Bureau Job

Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor, turned down an overture from the Obama administration to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Granholm, who left office on Jan. 1 after two terms as governor, is an instructor in law, public policy and business at the University of California at Berkeley, according to a Jan. 24 announcement from the university.

Administration officials also discussed recruiting former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland for the post, said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks aren’t public. Strickland, who lost his bid for re-election last year, said today that he wasn’t approached about the job.

Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Granholm, declined to comment on any discussions about the consumer bureau. She said the ex-governor has “put her plans in place for the year,” which include her teaching and book-writing.

Elizabeth Warren, the Treasury Department and White House adviser charged with setting up the agency, hasn’t been publicly ruled out by the administration as a nominee for the director’s job. President Barack Obama appointed her to the adviser’s role after Democratic lawmakers questioned whether she could win Senate confirmation.

Warren said today in an interview with CNBC that “there is a process in place that the president is using” to find the agency’s first director, and declined to say whether she wants the nomination. “The job I want is the job I have now,” she said.

Community Bankers

Warren was speaking from San Diego, where she attended a convention of the Independent Community Bankers of America. She has courted community banks by touting the consumer bureau as an ally that can help them compete with large Wall Street firms.

“This consumer agency is dedicated to serving America’s families,” Warren said in her prepared remarks to the meeting. “In the long run, these families will not be better off if only a handful of big banks are left standing.”

Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the consumer bureau, declined to comment on the approaches to possible nominees.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has designated July 21 as the official start date for the consumer bureau. Under the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, the new agency must have a Senate-confirmed director before it assumes its full authority.

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