I love this woman.
Bailout watchdog and Middle Class advocate Elizabeth Warren has accused Wall Street CEOs of abusing consumer trust and challenged them to step up and support financial reform -- for the nation's benefit as well as their own.
In an opinion piece to be published in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Warren writes:
For years, Wall Street CEOs have thrown away customer trust like so much worthless trash.
Banks and brokers have sold deceptive mortgages for more than a decade. Financial wizards made billions by packaging and repackaging those loans into securities. And federal regulators played the role of lookout at a bank robbery, holding back anyone who tried to stop the massive looting from middle-class families. When they weren't selling deceptive mortgages, Wall Street invented new credit card tricks and clever overdraft fees.
The Harvard Law professor and TARP overseer added that the bankers "squandered what little trust was left" when they took taxpayer bailouts.
The piece, titled "Wall Street's Race to the Bottom," explains how bankers can reclaim that trust: by supporting a strong consumer protection agency designed to root out the kinds of abuses that helped lead to the financial crisis. Long supported by Warren, this new agency would protect borrowers from abusive lenders by policing mortgages, credit cards and personal loans.
President Barack Obama proposed the agency last year as part of a set of comprehensive financial reforms. The House of Representatives passed a bill in December to create it.
Bankers, however, argue that the agency will add another layer of bureaucracy to government and increase costs, which would ultimately be passed on to consumers seeking credit. Simply put, banks -- especially the big ones -- despise the very idea of such an agency. (more...)