AFR Responds to American Bankers Association Efforts To Kill Reform: We Won’t Back Down

DATE: December 17, 2009

Washington, DC – Just days after top banking executives met with President Obama and said they would close the gap between their support for financial regulatory reform and “the activities of lobbyists on behalf of these institutions or associations of which they’re a member up on Capitol Hill,” the American Bankers Association apparently didn’t get the memo. Instead they released their own, urging a “Call to Action” for its lobbyists and member banks to contact their Senators “early and often” and to present a united front to stop “a bill like the House bill.”

Heather Booth, Executive Director, Americans for Financial Reform: “We already know the American Bankers Association has no desire to take any responsibility for the financial meltdown we’re still digging our way out of.  But to call for an all-out war on necessary and common-sense reforms that will prevent this type of crisis from happening again is just an affront to all Americans who’ve ever signed a mortgage or used a credit card. The status quo has cost trillions of dollars in taxpayer funds, and in lost homes and savings, and it has cost millions of jobs. But it has meant untold billions for a very few institutions and individuals, and they are fighting to preserve it. We will not let them get away with it.”

John Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC): “In response to the ABA call to action, Americans for Financial Reform is ready to take them on. We’re ready to stand up for those who were just trying to save for their retirement or put their kid through college while banks were gambling with these savings. It seems unconscionable to us that those that helped cause the financial crisis, those who had to be bailed out by the U.S. taxpayers, would fight efforts to clean up the industry and eliminate the reckless lending that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse.

“We are encouraged to see community banks embrace the House bill that passed last week and hope this might pressure the ABA to somehow see the light.”