Americans for Financial Reform Launch Campaign to Clean Up Wall Street, Protect Your Pocketbook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                DATE:  June 16, 2009

Major Community Organizations and Lenders, Advocates for Financial Fairness, Working Families and More Launch Campaign to Clean Up Wall Street, Protect Your Pocketbook

Broad Coalition Will Battle Big Banking, Win Real Reform

Listen to Audio of the Call Here

Washington D.C.Americans for Financial Reform, a national coalition of nearly 200 state and local organizations ranging from financial experts to community advocates, today kicked off a major campaign to reform our financial system and rebuild our economy.

The Campaign will change the dynamic that has been in place too long where Wall Street bankers write the rules for themselves. In its place, the Campaign will fight for real changes that get at the root causes of this financial crisis, including lack of protection for consumers and an oversight system that is not up to the job. Americans for Financial Reform calls on Congress to put in place a strong watchdog structure with the resources and authority to police Wall Street and protect our financial security. The goal is to obtain reforms that keep people in their homes and prompt smart investment in communities and businesses that create good jobs and strong neighborhoods.

“For too long the big banks have been making their own rules and gambling with your money. We’ve come together today to tell them those days are over,” said Heather Booth, director of the campaign. “The excesses of Wall Street have spilled over into our communities and now our communities are going to take on the fight for real financial reform.

“Senator Dick Durbin recently said, ‘The banks are the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill…and frankly they own the place.’ This is the situation and has been the situation for too long.  We are forming this coalition to do something about this.”

“The time has come to refocus regulation of financial services industry on promoting the financial wellbeing of working families and communities, rather than the profits of Wall Street. This focus will ensure the greatest and most sustainable financial returns for consumers, investors, and financial institutions themselves,” said Jim Carr, Chief Operating Officer, National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“Economic theory teaches us that the economy/market is a means to achieve social goals, and that finance is a tool to support commerce. It is quite clear in recent years that the ‘Servant’s Servant has become the Master’s Master,’” said Dr. Rob Johnson with the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. “This is the product of a failed vision or economic philosophy that willfully ignores the capacity for market failures.”

“Our economy collapsed because of a lack of strong consumer protections. That’s why reform must include establishment of a strong, independent consumer regulatory agency with the will and the authority to protect consumers from dangerous, deceptive financial practices,” said U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski. “Of course, the regulators also failed at their other job, ensuring the safety and soundness of the financial system. Our coalition also supports broad reforms to guarantee that regulators do their safety and soundness job, that systemic risk is reduced and all the players are covered.”

“The American people are well aware that there has been an unlevel playing field – one that has favored financial institutions over everyday people.  They are beyond ready to make their voices heard in this David vs. Goliath fight. Moving forward expect a broad set of actions and mobilizations nationwide that channels the craving for real reform and accountability into the larger debate,” said George Goehl, Executive Director, National People’s Action.


The following is a list of organizations that have signed on to the coalition.

National Organizations

State Organizations