WASHINGTON – Today, a coalition of consumer advocacy groups sent letters to major national auto repair chains AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care (Icahn Enterprises), Big O Tires and Midas (TBC Corporation), Grease Monkey (FullSpeed Automotive), JiffyLube, and Meineke (Driven Brands) urging their stores and franchisees to stop offering financing through EasyPay Finance and Utah-based TAB Bank, which issue loans at rates up to 189%, even in states where that rate is illegal. The letters can be found here.
In much of America, owning a car is necessary to participate in the economy, and to live a full and vibrant life. However, this ticket to opportunity comes at an increasingly steep price – as of 2021, Americans owe $1.42 trillion in auto loan debt.
“A car is fundamentally important to many Americans ability to get to work and to take care of themselves and their families,” said Rion Dennis, advocacy and legislative strategist, at Americans for Financial Reform. “Congress, and the regulators – including both the CFPB and the FTC – need to take forceful action to end the injustice of people of color being charged more to purchase and drive one.”
A new poll reveals overwhelming public support for government action to stop lenders from discriminating against borrowers of color. Lawmakers who voted to roll back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s effort to guard against discrimination in auto lending were steering against the will of their own voters.
“‘“Companies will put millions of people into more expensive car loans simply because of the color of their skin,, said Rion Dennis, an advocate of financial overhaul at Americans for Financial Reform. ‘By using the Congressional Review Act to wipe out straightforward regulatory guidance, the congressional majority has also opened the door to challenging longstanding efforts to protect workers, consumers, civil rights, the environment and the economy.’”
In the era of mass incarceration, racial profiling and unaccountable police brutality, every member of Congress who voted for this bill has to explain why they do not believe people of color deserve the full protection of the federal government, especially given the long documented history of racial discrimination in auto lending.
“‘“By voting to roll back the CFPB’s work, senators have emboldened banks and finance companies to engage in racial discrimination by charging millions of people of color more for a car loan than is justified,’ said Rion Dennis of Americans for Financial Reform, an advocacy group. ‘Lawmakers have also opened the door to challenging longstanding agency actions that are crucial to protecting workers, consumers, civil rights, the environment and the economy.’”
Americans for Financial Reform reported that the financial sector spent $2 billion on political activity in the 2016 election cycle, including $1.1 billion in campaign donations and the rest for lobbying. That’s $3.7 million for every member of Congress.
Senators who voted to reverse this important CFPB action have also opened the door to challenging long-standing regulatory actions that are crucial to protecting workers, consumers, civil rights, the environment, and the economy