There are many great things that can be said about Senator Warren’s victory: she is the first woman to be elected U.S. Senator from Massachusetts; she symbolizes the American dream (her father was a janitor and she worked as a waitress); and for Democrats, her victory eliminated the possibility of a Republican controlled Senate. But… Continue Reading
We honor Women’s Day, an international celebration of women’s struggles throughout the world for justice and fundamental fairness by highlighting the contribution of several extraordinary women.
We at The Corporate Observer hope you had a good holiday season and wish you a happy new year. Our first blog of 2012 takes a look back at 2011 and honors those who helped further the cause of the American consumer.
I am all in for Elizabeth Warren. Even before the flop. I may not even look at the cards in my hand. Why? One word. She is formidable. Yes, there are many to choose from: smart, (the oft-cited Harvard Law Professor sure is smart), tenacious, straightforward, tireless, charming, persuasive, possessing of the common touch,… Continue Reading
Today, TCO brings back Quick Links, which keeps our readers updated in the world of consumers. UBS, one of the largest banks in the world, had one of its employees arrested for allegedly losing over $2 billion, which would essentially eliminate the company’s quarterly profits. The New York TImes’ DealBook asks the question we all should:… Continue Reading
It’s official. I was not dreaming. Professor Warren will run for the Senate from Massachusetts. Although its only Day 1, she has the full support and endorsement of the Corporate Observer.
Is this former 5-time “Jeopardy!” champion ready to follow rock star Elizabeth Warren as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Consumers can only wait and hope for the best.
When a member of a Senate or House Committee has the floor at a hearing, picture a large television monitor (think the size of the screen in the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium) airing commercials of the member’s top 5 political contributors. Big HD screen with stereo sound. It’s a win-win. The political contributors get some nice promotional placements and watchdog groups get a quick view of what might be a motivating factor in the member’s questioning and at times (too often) grandstanding for the cameras. In sum, everyone’s allegiances are in the open for all to see.
Finally, at the heart of his wisdom is a moral compass that cannot be bought or compromised. Eighty three years young, he is not looking for a job in “industry” or to be feted by Wall Street chiefs at black tie dinners. He will not suffer fools lightly or be bamboozled by high-priced consultants and convoluted explanations about how failures to disclose financial risks to consumers is somehow a good thing.
Reports over the weekend claim Professor Warren went to the Hill (as in Capitol Hill) to find the votes she needed for her nomination to be the first head of the Consumer Finance Protection Board (“CFPB”). She came up well short of the mark. Wall Street fears her more than inflation and will easily have the votes to block her nomination from ever reaching the Senate floor for a vote. (Sad, but the subject of another story.)
My comfortable (and naïve) perception that all was right in the world of gender and employment was snapped earlier this week. I was attended a conference at no less than the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC, just across Lafayette Park from the White House. I was there to see and hear Professor Elizabeth Warren. Since 2008, she has been a powerful voice for consumers; no, she has been the most powerful voice for consumers. And now as she races to get the new Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) up and running, she faces the full court press of corporate, banking and Wall Street interests attempting to derail her.
Professor Warren is really good; straightforward, persuasive and… well… charming. And this was no friendly audience. She followed Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama to the lectern. He is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. The Congressman rather derisively referred to Professor Warren as “a nice lady”. He then went on to suggest she and her agency — the CFPB — were omnipotent and would destroy competitive markets, while imposing a Maoist (that’s no typo) style of “total regulation” on the capital markets.
Far from being penalized, even slapped on the writs, big banks–specifically Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs–are enjoying the time of their lives. They are saving tremendously to the tune of billions by refusing to service distressed properties and loans. “Walk away fellas and don’t look back.” Instead, they are using some of that money wisely to lobby Congress and it’s working.
In government, as in life, it is always easy to take the path of least resistance. “Keep your head down, let someone else make a decision and do what makes everyone around you happy.” But leadership takes courage. It takes a willingness to stick your neck out for what you believe. Over the weekend, I thought of these three very different, yet courageous leaders and wondered who would be viewed as the most courageous:
So Congress, let’s not bemoan Professor Warren’s appropriate role in discussions regarding mortgage servicing reform. Answer to your constituents on main street and let Professor Warren do her job.
Elizabeth Warren has apparently begun the hunt for a head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While it is unfortunate that Ms. Warren herself will apparently not lead the CFPB, hopefully she will find someone that shares her vision and eagerness. She has conferred with “business and consumer groups,” but ultimately the decision must be hers.
In 2010, we had plenty of opportunities to come to the keyboard in hopes of shining a light on hypocrisy, pleading for fairness, particularly on behalf of consumers and investors and just plain venting about our corporate culture that has too often lost its way. As 2011 nears, we thought a wish list for the coming year would be fun.
Verizon has agreed to pay $58 million in rebates and $25 million in penalty fees for incorrectly charging fees to customers. The $25 million dollars is the largest amount ever paid to the FCC under a consent decree. Elizabeth Warren blogged about her plans to make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as effective as possible. … Continue Reading
Elizabeth Warren claims that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be “The first real agency of the 21st century”. Warren is optimistic about the agency’s potential to help improve the Amrican investing climate. Click Here For the Story Three cheers for Obama for his pocket veto of the Notarizations act. The bill was originally… Continue Reading
William Goldman at the New York Times writes that the Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is based on the ill-founded belief that consumers are not at fault for their poor investments. I agree that consumers must be more diligent, but to place the blame for sleazy contract terms and other fraudulent behavior solely on the backs of consumers is ludicrous and unfair. The CFPB is essential to our sustained recovery from the financial crisis, which occurred in large part due to under-regulation.
Jim Puzzanghera of the LA Times reports on the concern that the CFPB has much work to do. Without a Senate-confirmed director many fear its efforts will begin to stall. Certainly the Bureau needs a director, but isn’t it enough for now to let Elizabeth Warren run the preliminary operations? It was her idea, after all.
The Supreme Court’s term begins today, as it does on the first Monday in October each year. Let us hope the recent infusion of youth among the Justices will help lead the Court to more forward-thinking decisions.
Rahm Emanuel is retiring to run for Mayor of Chicago. Who will fill his Shoes? Pete Rouse. Click here to read the Washington Post’s primer on President Obama’s new chief of staff, Pete “the fixer” Rouse. Hey, we can’t all agree all the time, right? Here’s an interesting op-ed in today’s New York Times expressing… Continue Reading
Len Blavatnik, a Russian-born billionaire who lost tens of millions because of JPMorgan’s investment in mortgage-backed securities, has sued the bank.
I am debuting a new feature at The Corporate Observer: articles and blog posts that may be of interest to readers.
Updating Wednesday’s post, the Wall Street Journal reports that Elizabeth Warren has been named “assistant to the president and special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.” This does not make her head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – that position is still unfilled – but it gives her authority to appoint officials and direct some of the operations of the Bureau. Consumers can celebrate this moment, when the CFPB can finally move towards strategic enforcement. Eventually, Congress will confirm a director, but in the meantime Ms. Warren will give the Bureau much-needed and immediate direction.