Join Our Coalition

Americans for Financial Reform welcomes anyone to participate in the coalition who agrees with and signs on to the statement of principles and supports the general direction of the campaign.

All the organizations support the overall principles of AFR and are working for an accountable, fair and secure financial system. Not all of these organizations work on all of the issues covered by the coalition or have signed on to every statement.

A Call to Action for Real Financial Services Reform

In the face of a full-blown global economic crisis, bold action is needed now by leaders in Congress, the Administration and the federal government to repair our nation’s broken financial system, establish integrity in the financial markets, and facilitate productive economic activity that benefits all segments of our communities. It is only in doing these things that we can meaningfully address the public’s shattered confidence in the fairness of the financial marketplace and establish a healthy, robust and productive economy.

The good news is that a framework for the needed financial services regulatory reform already is in front of us: the “Special Report on Regulatory Reform,” released on January 29, 2009, by the Congressional Oversight Panel identifies the key principles essential for meaningful financial reform. Chaired by Professor Elizabeth Warren, the Panel was established by Congress to monitor the bailout and to help ensure that aid to the financial sector is accompanied by meaningful market reforms. The January report concluded that “the present regulatory system has failed to effectively manage risk, require sufficient transparency and ensure fair dealings.”

It proposes principles calling for reforms to:

    • more closely regulate financial institutions that pose systemic risk;
    • limit excessive leverage in key financial institutions;
      increase supervision of the shadow financial system;
    • create a new system for federal and state regulation of mortgages and other consumer credit products;
    • put in place executive pay structures that discourage excessive risk taking;
    • reform the credit rating system;
    • establish a global financial regulatory floor; and
    • start planning now for dealing with the next crisis.

These principles provide an excellent framework for regulation that will constrain market excess and protect our nation’s economic health. As consumers, we need financial products that are fair and reliable. We need to know that financial institutions are in compliance with laws meant to protect our civil and consumer rights and that an unequal, two-tiered financial system that puts low- and moderate-income and minority consumers at risk no longer exists. We need to preserve and modernize laws that serve communities and their access to credit. We need to be confident that there is proper oversight of the financial markets. As workers, we need our country’s financial assets invested prudently.

We need productive economic activity that creates good jobs, supports arrangements for security in retirement, provides the goods and services that we need and want, and is sustainable over the long-term. As investors, we need full and accurate information that allows us to understand risk, make informed decisions and invest our savings prudently.

The era of blind adherence to self-regulated financial markets and the unquestioning deference to the demands of special interests must end. That route has been travelled for well over a decade now, and the results have been nothing short of disastrous. Only when we establish a rational and well-functioning financial system that works in the interests of consumers, investors and workers will we have a sound and efficient financial system and productive economic activity.

It is clear that this is too big a job to be left only to the “experts” and market players who brought about the current state of affairs in which we find ourselves. The undersigned organizations – as representatives of consumers, workers and investors — have come together to ensure that our evolving financial system serves the interests of all Americans.

We support the above-listed principles for reform. We will work together to educate and engage the American public, elected officials, and others in support of these principles in order to build the confidence of American consumers, workers and investors and to establish a vibrant, trustworthy and healthy financial system

Read the coalition’s original position papers here.