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Elizabeth Warren to step down from consumer agency

July 27, 2011|By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
  • President Obama announces his nomination of former Ohio Atty. Gen.l Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as Elizabeth Warren watches on July 18.
President Obama announces his nomination of former Ohio Atty. Gen.l Richard… (Joshua Roberts, Bloomberg )

Reporting from Washington — Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who has organized the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will step down as advisor to the Obama administration Monday and be replaced as de facto acting director by a top aide, the Treasury Department announced.

Raj Date, who serves as the agency's associate director of research, markets and regulations, will become a special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and run the bureau's daily operations until a director is confirmed.

After mulling over the decision for months, President Obama last week bypassed Warren and nominated former Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray to be the agency's first director. Warren said at the time that she planned to return to Harvard in time to teach in the fall semester.

Date may be the acting director for a while. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau formally opened for business Thursday, but 44 Senate Republicans have promised to block Cordray's confirmation unless the White House agrees to major changes to the bureau that would dilute its power.

The House approved those changes last week, including replacing the single director with a five-member bipartisan commission, but the White House strongly opposes the legislation.

Date was considered a contender for the director nomination. He has more than a decade of experience in the financial services industry, including serving as managing director at Deutsche Bank. In 2009, he founded the Cambridge Winter Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to educate the policymakers on financial regulation.

Warren has done "an extraordinary job" setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Geithner said. "Raj has an impressive background in financial services, academia, government and nonprofit organizations," he said, "and I am pleased that he will serve in this new capacity as the CFPB continues moving forward with its important work."

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