With the package of bills it has scheduled for markup today, the House Financial Services Committee is threatening to take America back down the road of Wall Street deregulation — the road that led to the financial and economic calamity of 2008-09. While these measures deal with a range of financial practices and entities, most of them have a common theme: in one way or another, they would make it easier for banks, lending companies and other inside players to take advantage of consumers, homeowners, or taxpayers.
The “Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act,” for example, would effectively exempt many mortgage loans from the ability-to-repay standard established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In similar fashion, the “Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act” would frustrate the Bureau’s efforts to combat racially discriminatory auto lending practices (including kickbacks from lenders to dealers). The “Federal Reserve Reform Act” would impair the Fed’s ability to regulate large Wall Street banks.
Americans for Financial Reform and our member organizations have submitted detailed letters of opposition to seven of the proposals before the Financial Services Committee. The committee members and other lawmakers should reject these bills. On the fifth anniversary of Dodd-Frank’s passage, the rules of the road are clearer, the Consumer Bureau is fulfilling its mission, and the financial system as a whole is safer. Moving backwards to undo this progress would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.