Roger M. Beverage says he and his banking-industry colleagues once thought Elizabeth Warren was "akin to the Antichrist."
Now he is urging President Obama to appoint the Harvard University law professor as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - and to do so through a controversial recess appointment to sidestep the pledged opposition of 44 Republican senators to putting any single individual in charge of the fledgling agency.
In a letter last week to the president, the head of the Oklahoma Bankers Association urged Obama "to wait no longer":
"Elizabeth Warren has long been an advocate for protecting consumers from bad financial services providers and practices, and, as an advocate for 'banks,' I've not always agreed with some of her statements. I have come to know her since her current duties began last September, and I am convinced she clearly recognizes the importance of community banks and small credit unions to the nation's economic recovery and how they fit into her vision to protect American consumers and their families.
"Ms. Warren recognizes that traditional community banks and credit unions did nothing to cause the near-collapse of the nation's financial system. She has reached out to the community banking industry time and time again, and has worked tirelessly to develop the new bureau with extreme competence and dignity. In my view she is far and away the best qualified person to lead it as it begins its historic mission."
Some Democrats have proposed that Warren instead run for the Massachusetts Senate seat occupied by Scott Brown. Warren would have a great chance in such a deep-blue state, and might well have a bright future in elective office. She's an outspoken but plain-speaking defender of the middle class, and she's never forgotten her roots, probably one reason she finally connected with Beverage, a fellow Oklahoman.
But the CPFB is her brainchild. When it launches on July 21, it will have its best shot at success if she's at the helm.