The iVillage Interview: White House Consumer Czar Elizabeth Warren

Watch Part II of our exclusive interview with Elizabeth Warren, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

If you had a choice, would you rather have someone who lived a life of wealth and privilege heading up the new federal agency charged with protecting consumers, or someone who knows what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck? If you chose the latter, you are in luck.

In the second part of our interview, Elizabeth Warren, a k a the new consumer czar named by President Barack Obama to create the first ever Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, talks about how she believes her humble beginnings will help her fight for you and your family.

Warren is a daughter of a janitor who says she learned very clearly about money at a very young age. "I can remember my mother who every time she thought one of us was sick would put her hand on us as she's checking for fever…and then she'd always stop to do the calculation on how big the doctor bill was," the Harvard law professor told me during our recent interview at the White House. "And so the question about whether or not to call the doctor was a plus or minus on where we stood financially."

Warren, who was the first in her family to graduate college, believes that her own family's struggles with finances will help her as she sets up the new federal agency charged with protecting consumers from everything from complicated credit card applications to shady mortgage deals. "And so when I think about what it would mean just to help families be a little more secure financially, just to move them back a little from the cliff where so many families have to live right now, I think about not just what that means for their balance sheets or bank accounts, I think about what it means for their lives," Warren says.

In our interview, which included questions from the iVillage Community and iVoices on iVillage, Warren spoke about a range of topics:


Student Loans

"Students should be using up the maximum amount they can in direct borrowing from the government to finance their educations. It's cheaper and it's safer…This agency is going to work on ways to make sure that students know this and know it in advance because let's face it, the private loan industry spends a lot of money advertising out there…"

Protection from Predatory Lenders
"What we're going to push for is to cut down the paperwork at closing on the mortgage and instead try to get a one page mortgage shopping sheet that carries the basic information that you need in order to decide whether or not you can afford the mortgage and that gives you the opportunity to compare one mortgage with two or three others."

GOP Calls to Roll Back Wall Street Reforms
"All I can say is I am going to keep fighting and the families who fought for the creation of this consumer agency so they would have a voice, so they could enter marketplaces that are just fair, just level playing fields, nobody's looking for a handout, just a fair deal here, that those families are going to come in and help us in that fight."

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