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Released: April 07, 2016
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we’ve got your back!
Advocates stand with the CFPB as Senate Banking Committee prepares to grill Bureau's director
WASHINGTON, DC—Concerns mount that Senate foes of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will turn the Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress into another opportunity to bash the Bureau rather than thoughtfully reviewing its congressionally mandated work to protect consumers. The Senate Banking Committee will meet in open session this morning at 10 a.m. to hear the testimony of the Bureau’s director, Richard Cordray. Consumer advocates fear a reprise of the March 16 House Financial Services Committee hearing, which turned ugly as CFPB foes grilled Cordray about the agency.
The CFPB is the federal agency tasked with safeguarding consumers’ interests while overseeing banks, lenders and others in the financial marketplace under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. More than 25 million aggrieved consumers already have received relief through CFPB enforcement actions, which have returned more than $11 billion to their pockets, according to the Bureau’s 2015 financial report. In its short life, the CFPB has protected consumers from abusive debt collection tactics, reformed the credit report dispute process and created new rules to prevent the most predatory mortgage schemes from wreaking more havoc on families.
“The Bureau fills a key role in consumer protection. Without it, this country could tumble into another recession caused by predatory lenders and Wall Street wheeler-dealers who push consumers to the financial breaking point,” said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action. “Congress decided in 2010 that the CFPB would be an independent agency so that it could create and enforce regulations against bad business practices. It has been so successful that many of the anti-regulation forces now in Congress are fighting to weaken its ability to regulate the financial industry.”
As it stands, GOP members have criticized everything from the Bureau’s plans to rein in the payday loan industry to the renovation of its D.C. headquarters. Democrats in Congress and consumer advocates are largely supportive of the CFPB, particularly of its work to protect and educate low-income, financially uninformed and minority populations.
“Prior to the creation of the CFPB, regulators failed to pay enough attention to consumer protection as the market filled with abusive and predatory loans,” said Sherry. “The Bureau takes a careful and considered approach to protecting consumers who use financial services. Unfortunately, some members of Congress would prefer to go back to 2008-2009, when predatory financial products brought our country to its knees.”
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Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.
By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website (www.consumer-action.org) and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.
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