August 4, 2010 / 3:31 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Treasury sees consumer protection role for Warren

* Warren will have role in forming new consumer bureau

* No decisions have been made on size of agency

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug 4 (Reuters) - Harvard University law professor Elizabeth Warren will play a role in consumer protection regardless of whether she is chosen to lead a new U.S. consumer financial agency, a Treasury official said on Wednesday.

“The President has made clear that if she is or isn’t the nominee, she will have a central role to play,” Michael Barr, assistant secretary for financial institutions, said in response to a question following a speech in Charlotte.

Warren has been a vocal supporter of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a key plank in Congress’s financial reform bill passed in July.

The new agency will oversee a range of consumer-facing financial businesses, including mortgage lending, payday loans and check cashing businesses.

Barr declined to comment on reports he could be named to the post.

He also said no decisions had been made yet on the size or budget of the new regulator.

The new bureau, being organized by the Treasury, will be operational “in the coming months,” Barr said, without providing a specific target date.

Barr said the Treasury is still defining how large the bureau will be.

“We’re starting from the ground up,” Barr said. “We’re not starting with a big number or a small number.” (Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Paul Simao)

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