Elizabeth Warren Explains What We Can Expect from the New Consumer Agency

The Harvard law professor, who is coordinating the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sets her sights on simplified forms for credit cards and mortgages.

Elizabeth Warren has been tapped by President Obama as a special adviser to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation legislation last summer. Warren, an expert in bankruptcy issues who chaired the congressional panel that monitored the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is coordinating efforts with the seven agencies that currently supervise consumer lending to get the new bureau up and running by July 21.

A controversial figure, Warren hasn't actually been named to head the agency -- widely recognized as her brainchild -- and would probably face a tough confirmation battle. Will she throw her hat in the ring? She is a little coy with her answer: "When the President and I met over the summer and discussed how I could serve, being appointed director was certainly on the table. I'm not one to fuss about fancy titles. I wanted to get to work right away." In her Treasury Department office next to the White House, the Harvard law professor told Kiplinger's editors Janet Bodnar, Jennifer Schonberger, Anne Kates Smith and Mark Solheim what consumers can expect from the bureau.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.