Strong, bipartisan majorities nationwide back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule curbing forced arbitration and giving consumers their day in court.
Rolling back CFPB rule banning forced arbitration would be a giveaway to Wells Fargo and predatory lenders. Lawmakers should oppose this cynical effort.
AFR In the News: Regulator Moves Against Mandatory Arbitration Agreements (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
“Since most consumers cannot afford to take on a big corporation on their own, banks like Wells Fargo get away with ripping off large numbers of customers,” Amanda Werner, arbitration campaign manager with Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, said in a statement. “This new rule will help prevent this kind of widespread fraud and ensure consumers can fight back.”
The political fissure between an Obama-appointed financial overseer and regulators hired by U.S. President Donald Trump is widening, with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray threatening to challenge in court any attempt to kill his agency’s new arbitration rule. To overturn a CFPB rule, two-thirds of the FSOC must agree that it puts the whole banking system at risk. “It’s an extraordinarily high standard,” said Brian Marshall, policy counsel for Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington-based advocacy group. “It’s ludicrous that the arbitration rule would meet that standard.”
Opponents of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule are eyeing a trio of options for blocking the regulation before it takes effect, but all three are beset with their own challenges. The strategy with the most attention is for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to repeal the rule through the Congressional Review Act. But industry representatives are also considering the prospect of the Financial Stability Oversight Council overruling the regulation, or a group such as the Chamber of Commerce suing to throw the rule out. Yet all three appear to face an uphill climb. “Suggesting now that the rule would put the safety and soundness of the American banking system at risk is preposterous,” said Brian Marshall, policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform. “Many banks do not use forced arbitration clauses at all, and the OCC has never suggested those institutions are not safe and sound as a result.”
AFR in the News: With ‘Rip-off Clause’ Quashed, Consumers Can Now Sue Banks in Class-Action (USA Today)
“After years of review on the subject, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… declared a new rule Monday that bans banks, credit card companies, payday lenders and other financial firms from requiring consumers to settle group disputes through arbitration... ‘The biggest step has been taken. This is a huge victory for consumers,’ said Amanda Werner, campaign manager at Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen. ’We expect a lot of misconduct is going to be rooted out sooner.’”
AFR in the News: Banks and Credit Card Companies Can’t Try to Stop You from Joining a Class Action Lawsuit — For Now (LA Times)
“Consumers had good reason to celebrate Monday after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… issued a rule blocking credit card companies, banks and other financial firms from putting roadblocks in the way of customers joining class-action lawsuits. It’s a big deal… Said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform: ‘The consumer agency’s rule will stop Wall Street and predatory lenders from ripping people off with impunity, and make markets fairer and safer for ordinary Americans.’”
“‘Forced arbitration deprives victims of not only their day in court, but the right to band together with other targets of corporate lawbreaking. It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card for lawbreakers,’ said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. ‘The consumer agency’s rule will stop Wall Street and predatory lenders from ripping people off with impunity, and make markets fairer and safer for ordinary Americans.’”
CFPB issued a final regulation ensuring that consumers can join together to challenge financial fraud and scams in court. The rule limits the use of forced arbitration, a process Wall Street banks and predatory lenders use to evade accountability and keep their misconduct out of the public eye.
AFR in the News: Banks and credit card companies really hate class actions – will Trump help outlaw them? (LA Times)
“Sometime in the next few weeks, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to impose stringent limits on the ability of banks and credit card companies to avoid consumer lawsuits. The financial services industry has been screaming bloody murder
‘We’re all preparing for a big fight,’ says Amanda Werner, who has been keeping an eye on the CFPB rule making for the consumer groups Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform.”