Kathleen Kraninger, the current director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told an audience of bankers at a November 2019 industry gathering that “you are really helping drive the agenda.” Unfortunately for the public and for consumer financial protection, the Kraninger agenda and the Wall Street lobby’s agenda are indeed all too similar. Since the Senate confirmed Kraninger on a party-line vote, she has steered the CFPB in an anti-consumer direction, making it easier for Wall Street and predatory lenders to rip people off and to discriminate against people of color.
Letter to HUD opposing the set of deregulatory efforts now under way that are withdrawing crucial commonsense oversight from the housing and financial markets, enabling discrimination, and thereby increasing barriers to affordable housing
In August regulators issued a rule that dramatically weakened the Volcker Rule limits on direct proprietary trading by banks. Today, they have proposed new changes that would greatly weaken restrictions on banks taking risks through ownership of external funds, including venture capital funds and securitization vehicles like collateralized debt obligations.
AFR Education Fund wrote a letter to banking regulators urging them to maintain risk controls for derivatives transactions at large banks Download the letter here. January 23, 2020 RE: Margin and Capital Requirements for Covered Swaps Entities (OCC Docket ID OCC–2019– 0023; Federal Reserve
In revising the Volcker Rule’s proprietary trading ban last year, the regulators had already relaxed one component of the limits on investment in funds, clarifying the industry’s ability to do so on behalf of clients. Backing off some of the fund restrictions will “complete the process of neutering the rule,” Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, said in a criticism of the regulators’ actions last year.
While the statement purports to clarify the standard for abusiveness under the law, in fact it inserts a great deal of vagueness, and signals that the CFPB is prepared to give companies a pass when they commit abusive acts. And the Bureau plans to let companies that have used abusive practices off the hook for civil penalties and disgorgement if they acted in good faith—a standard that will be in the eye of the beholder, that will encourage ignorance of the law, and that will require the CFPB to prove a negative.
Consumer advocates and academics criticized the policy, saying the agency was effectively tying its own hands. “It seems that the agency is trying to highly constrict the use of ‘abusive’ by using terms that do not fully capture the way lenders behave,” said Linda Jun, an attorney at the advocacy Americans for Financial Reform.
The measure, which is scheduled for a vote at the company’s annual meeting next week, would block investors harmed by securities fraud or other corporate legal violations from bringing their claims as a class in a court of law, before a judge and jury. This would effectively end most shareholders’ ability to recover their losses in such cases, as they cannot affordably be brought individually in arbitration by any but the very largest institutional investors.