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Warren Says Consumer Protection Will Help Rebuild Middle Class

Elizabeth Warrem
Elizabeth Warren, the White House and Treasury adviser in charge of setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Elizabeth Warren, the adviser appointed by President Barack Obama to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said the agency will help rebuild the middle class while allowing markets to work.

“This is not about regulating shoes so there are no shoe stores,” Warren, 61, said yesterday in a discussion at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York. “I actually believe in competitive markets.”

The goal of the CFPB is to make prices clearer and comparisons easier for consumers, which will help Americans determine what they can afford, said Warren. The agency also will reduce the “regulatory tangle” and apply “rules that give the middle class a chance,” Warren said.

The consumer bureau, created by last year’s Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, was designed to address what proponents said was the failure of existing regulators to protect consumers from risky financial products. It is scheduled to begin operations on July 21.

The CFPB’s duties will include writing and enforcing rules for financial products, including mortgages, credit cards and payday loans. In May, the bureau began testing redesigned mortgage disclosure forms to simplify the information customers receive when applying for a mortgage.

The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute offers public-policy and human-rights academic programs and hosts lectures and conferences on related topics, according to its website.

Warren appeared at the institute with U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, to speak about the CFPB before an invitation-only audience.

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