The warming to Warren is due, in large part, to a months-long outreach campaign aimed at members of the banking industry. According to calendars posted on the CFPB's website, Warren's schedule has included 150 appointments with industry officials since her first day in September—phone calls, in-person meetings, industry conference speeches, even visits to local bank branches. She's spoken with everyone from Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to the head of the American Bankers Association to community bankers in states from Maine to Texas.
Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, which represents more than 100 minority- and women-owned banks throughout the country, is another fan. He met with Warren in February and says he would support her as the nominee to run the CFPB because of her "genuine concern for protecting the rights for consumers and for her appreciation of the role banks play in the financial infrastructure of this country." Grant adds, "She's a win-win both for our industry and for the consumer if she is nominated and made permanent chief."
Paul Hickman, president and CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association, says he, too, came away impressed after he and a group of Arizona bankers and business leaders met with Warren in Washington. A former staffer for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Hickman says Warren went a long way toward allaying the industry's fears of a consumer bureau run amok that would slap banks with new regulations and bury them in paperwork. "I thought Elizabeth Warren did a really good job of letting the members of that meeting know, and the business people of Arizona know, that her mission was not to somehow suppress community banks," Hickman recalls.