Coalition EffortsConsumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see "More Information" at the end of each article.
A push for regulatory leadership that is unimpeachably independent
Donald Trump ran on "draining the swamp" of corruption in Washington, DC. Yet, as president, he is working to install a revolving-door government run by representatives of the big businesses our government is supposed to be regulating. In a letter to the Democratic Senate leadership, coalition advocates remind senators that the need for public minded watchdogs has never been greater. The American people deserve voices on a diverse collection of independent agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, that are independent of excessive corporate influence.
Mnuchin unfit to serve as Treasury Secretary--Senate should oppose nomination
88 advocacy groups signed a letter to the Senate voicing grave concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs partner and OneWest Bank Chairman, Steve Mnuchin. Mnuchin, known as “The Foreclosure King,” oversaw the eviction of nearly 50,000 families from their homes during the foreclosure crisis. The bank’s aggressive foreclosure practices targeted the country’s vulnerable populations—particularly the elderly and widowed. By approving his nomination, the Senate is putting its stamp of approval on his alarming record and choosing to rig the rules for the wealthy rather than protect American families.
Hands off the CFPB!
Advocates penned a very clear response to Delaware’s Senator Tom Carper’s stated interest in exploring changes to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) structure: “Back off!” The CFPB has been wildly successful at protecting American consumers and weakening the agency’s oversight would be a grave mistake. The only reason to do so would be to favor the banking and financial industries that jeopardized the world economy and devastated American families less than a decade ago.
Green loans may cause homeowners to see red
PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loans are a special kind of financing sponsored by local governments and used to pay for energy-efficiency improvements, such as solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and windows. The Department of Energy (DOE) provides best practice guidelines for homeowners, but these guidelines don’t adequately educate property owners of the loans’ drawbacks. In a letter to the DOE, Consumer Action joined advocates in urging the agency to better alert consumers of the serious risks associated with taking out the seemingly appealing loans.
Solar panel loans cast shadow on low-income families
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently drafted a list of nonbinding best practices for states and localities that adopt property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs. However, the guidelines don't adequately protect consumers, and PACE loans should be subject to the same rigorous federal disclosure and consumer protections as mortgages. In a letter to the DOE, advocates argue that the loans will put lower-income borrowers at a greater default and foreclosure risk. PACE loans tend to carry significantly higher interest rates than second mortgages and are structure as assessments that can cause issues.
More policy riders intended to threaten retiring Americans, hijack budget process
A coalition of 254 groups is urging Congress to reject any federal appropriations bill that contains inappropriate and “ideological” policy riders. These riders, which were wildly popular during the last budget cycle, would jeopardize policies that restrain Wall Street abuses and would weaken new legislation intended to protect American families and their retirement savings. These policy riders are little more than special favors and sweetheart deals for big corporations and ideological extremists and have no place in the appropriations process.
Improving language access for homeowners is overdue
Communication improvements are needed in the mortgage industry for people who are not fluent in English. Currently there is no comprehensive system for collecting or assessing the language needs of homebuyers or of homeowners. In a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, coalition partners recommend data collection improvements that would help the federal government address important issues that impact many households in today’s diverse marketplace.
Against changing the leadership structure of the CFPB
Powerful banks and Wall Street cronies in Congress escalated their campaign to defund and defang the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because it works for consumers, not them. The American Bankers Association and other major trade groups representing Wall Street and other financial interests revealed they are the driving force behind intensified Congressional efforts to pass H.R. 1266 (Neugebauer-TX) – an effort to eliminate the Bureau's single director and replace him with a highly-politicized five-member Commission.
Policy riders threaten vital public safeguards, hijack budget process
A coalition of 178 groups is urging President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains inappropriate and ideological policy riders. These riders would jeopardize policies that restrain Wall Street abuses; guarantee clean air, food and water; ensure safe consumer products and continued access to vital health care services; keep homes and workplaces safe; prevent consumer rip-offs; and hold big corporations accountable for wrongdoing.
“Full file” reports undermine existing protections and harm consumers credit
Consumer advocates wrote Congress in opposition of H.R. 3035, the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015. This legislation, if enacted, would preempt state utility regulatory and legislative authority, risk damaging the credit scores of millions of low-income consumers and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.
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