Elizabeth Warren isn’t alone.
Long considered “the” candidate for the position of director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – however challenging it may be to install her in the job – Warren is not the only person under consideration for the position.
As of early June, the Obama administration was considering former banker Raj Date, according to The Washington Post and other media outlets. Date began working at CFPB last September as associate director of research, markets and regulations. He oversees key areas such as credit cards and mortgages. (See a video of him in his CFPB office.)
Date, 40, has both financial industry credentials and consumer advocacy track record. Before joining the CFPB staff, Date founded a think tank called the Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institution Policy. Serving as chairman and executive director, he led research on consumer and small business finance, community banking, and “shadow banks.” Read more in his bio.
Previously he was vice president for corporate strategy and development at Capital One Financial, where he was involved with mergers and acquisitions. He has also worked as an attorney and as a consultant.
One of his past roles – as a director of Prosper Marketplace, Inc., a peer-to-peer lender with a 25 percent default rate – was the focus of a New York Times column last fall. While Date was there, the company hired a Washington lobbyist with the goal that peer-to-peer lenders would be regulated as banks, rather than by the SEC.
“His background illustrates the potential conflicts of interest that can arise as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank law, assembles its top staff members — some with industry expertise — and grows from an idea to a $500 million agency expected to employ more than 1,000 people,” the New York Times wrote.
It may not matter. The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) re-emphasized his vow to block any candidate – not just Warren – without structural changes to the CFPB, as detailed in a May 5, 2011, letter from 44 senators to President Obama.
Warren has the title of assistant to the President and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced by the White House on Sept. 17, 2010.
Without a director, the bureau will not assume its full authority and may have a harder time filling other top jobs within the agency, according to a June 13 American Banker article.