Despite the dimming prospects for the creation of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren isn't ready to consider alternatives.
"Right now there is no Plan B," Warren, the chairman of the Troubled Asset Relief Program's Congressional Oversight Panel, said in response to a reporter's question on a conference call Thursday. "Right now all the chips are on the table with the Consumer Financial Protection Agency."
The conference call was organized by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group ahead of a Monday compliance deadline for the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.
During the call, Warren praised the law's reforms, but said it would be limited in protecting consumers from future changes in card industry practices.
"CARD is a good first step, but it isn't enough alone. The credit card industry and the entire consumer credit industry is broken," she said. "Agencies can do something that the CARD Act alone cannot. They can not only respond to new abuses, they can also rationalize and reduce the total number of regulations, and … reduce the complexity overall in credit products."
Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG's consumer program director, said his group also is not ready to consider backup plans for the CFPA. But he acknowledged some of the resistance facing it.
"The industry is pulling out all the stops to stop this, but the industry is part of the system that failed," he said. "The congressional system is broken if we cannot enact the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. … So we're not ready for Plan B. Senator Dodd has not capitulated, a Consumer Financial Protection Agency has passed the House, and we continue to believe that we can get it through the Senate."
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