Statement from Americans for Financial Reform on the President’s plan to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency


Contact:            Lisa Donner, 202-588-7772

June 29, 2009

Statement from Americans for Financial Reform on the President’s plan to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency

“The Financial system has failed the American public. More than $13 trillion of household wealth has been destroyed.  Now, the American public expects and deserves some basic rules of fairness in the marketplace and legitimate enforcement of those rules.  A Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as proposed today by the President would provide a critical check on deceptive or unfair consumer practices, such as those that led to the foreclosure epidemic and ultimately to the economic crisis we are all experiencing today.

Opposition to the Agency from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street bankers and the financial services industry is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who played by the rules and got burned by predatory products, and those now suffering under the broader economic crisis. It is particularly galling when many of Wall Streets lobbyists are essentially being paid with taxpayer dollars advanced to prop up the broken financial system.

In the coming months, Americans for Financial Reform will be mobilizing our networks of millions of consumers, workers, shareholders and other members to challenge the industry’s campaign to discredit needed reforms such as the CFPA which will establish a federal watchdog, rebuild consumer confidence, level the playing field, and restore fairness in the marketplace.” said Jim Carr, Chief Operating Officer of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“Creating an agency to monitor and police lending and financial practices that directly affect families is one key part of the wide-ranging work that must be done to rebuild trust in our failed financial system and ensure that this sad history will not repeat itself. A critical feature of this agency is its ability to regulate the substance of transactions.

The coalition plans to work with the Administration and Congress to strengthen the proposal in several key areas. There needs to be a private right of action to ensure strong enforcement.   CRA evaluation must be tied to CRA enforcement, and the legislation should strengthen opportunities for public engagement. We are encouraged that the Obama Administration has included some Whistleblower protections in the proposal, and we will work to ensure that the final version has the strongest possible language in this area. Moreover, the coalition will urge the Administration and Congress to act quickly to rein in unjustifiably high interest rates charged by many creditors” said Ed Mierzwinski, Senior Fellow and Consumer Program Director at U.S. PIRG

To speak with the Coalitions experts on this issue, call Lisa Donner at 202-588- 7748

Americans for Financial reform is a coalition of nearly 200 national,  state,  and  local organizations working to reform  and restore oversight, accountability, and transparency to the nations financial system.