The head of the Oklahoma Banker’s Association — a one-time Elizabeth Warren skeptic who believed she was “akin to the Antichrist” — is now asking President Obama to provide her a recess appointment to direct the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“I write to encourage you to appoint Elizabeth Warren as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to do so with a ‘recess appointment’ at the first opportunity,” wrote Roger Beverage — President and CEO of the OBA — in a May 19 letter to Obama, provided to TPM. “In light of the action taken by the forty-four senators who have stated they will oppose any nominee to serve as Director of the new Bureau unless certain changes are made to the Bureau’s structure, I encourage you to wait no longer and give Elizabeth a recess appointment before the July 21st transfer date.”The CFPB was created as part of the Wall Street reform bill enacted into law last year to protect consumers from predatory financial actors. Though the bill had bipartisan support, Republicans have been eager to weaken the bureau, and recently threatened to block anybody Obama nominates to head the bureau unless Congress passes new legislation to weaken its rule-making and enforcement powers.
This leaves Obama little choice but to offer a recess appointment to … somebody. Obama tasked Warren to help stand up the bureau in an advisory capacity last year, and now pressure is mounting on him to give her the job, including from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Beverage has become the archetype for financial industry advocates whom Warren has won over. He and his colleagues had been led to believe that Warren “was akin to the Antichrist.” But after meeting and working with her, he’s thrown his full support her way, despite some continuing disagreements.
“[A]s an advocate for “banks, I’ve not always agreed with some of her statements,” Beverage wrote. “I have come to know her since her current duties began last September, and I am convinced she clearly recognizes the importance of community banks and small credit unions to the nation’s economic recovery and how they fit into her vision to protect American consumers and their families. … In my view she is far and away the best qualified person to lead it as it begins its historic mission.”