White House: Warren "very confirmable"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wall Street criticism would not disqualify consumer rights advocate Elizabeth Warren to be the head of a new consumer financial protection bureau, the White House said on Monday.

Congressional Oversight Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren questions Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability Herbert Allison on the government's assistance to Citigroup during a hearing in Washington March 4, 2010. The Congressional Oversight Panel was created to oversee the expenditure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). REUTERS/Richard Clement

“Elizabeth Warren is a terrific candidate. I don’t think any criticism in any way by anybody would disqualify her and I think she’s very confirmable for this job,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a news briefing.

The new bureau was created by the financial regulatory overhaul legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law last Wednesday. It will regulate consumer financial products ranging from credit cards to mortgages.

The Obama administration considered the bureau one of the most critical parts of the new legislation, but banks fought it bitterly.

The post is considered an important one, but the timing of an appointment is unclear and there are other potential candidates besides Warren.

“We’ve got many good candidates,” Gibbs said.

Warren, an outspoken consumer rights advocate feared by Wall Street, is among top contenders to head the new agency. She is a Harvard Law School professor who has been chairing a congressional panel overseeing the 2008 bank bailout program.

A strong critic of big banks, Warren is widely opposed by Republicans who tried but failed to block the financial regulatory bill.

The White House has said the announcement of its choice to head the bureau will be soon, but not immediate.

“I know that the president will look at this job and the several other jobs that are created as part of this legislation and make an announcement,” Gibbs said.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Editing by Sandra Maler