The House of Representatives plans to vote this week on the so-called “Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act” (HR 3193). This bill is a gift to the worst elements of Wall Street and the financial industry, whose tricks and traps cost American families tens of billions of dollars a year. If enacted into law, HR 3193 would invite a resurgence of the abusive and deceptive lending that was one of the leading causes of the financial crisis that nearly capsized the U.S. economy five-and-a-half years ago.
“In arbitration, there is no publicly accountable judge, jury, or right to an appeal. The arbitrators do not have to follow the facts or the law, and there is no public review of decisions to ensure the arbitrator got it right. Moreover, contracts typically name the arbitration firm that must be used—the one preferred by the company.”
“We should not accept a financial system that allows the biggest banks to emerge from a crisis in record-setting shape while working Americans continue to struggle.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at the launch event for a new AFR/Roosevelt Institute report on the state of financial reform.
After the 2008 crisis, it became clear that regulators and many sophisticated market participants had been kept in the dark about major risks and exposures in our financial system. On October 11, 2013, AFR and Georgetown Law Center co-hosted this half-day conference on the progress made – and the work that remains to be done – toward meaningful transparency on Wall Street.
Congress will soon be back from recess – and back to gnashing its teeth over the budget and the various important things that, too many in that branch of government now contend, our country can no longer afford to do. They could expand their sense of the possible by considering a source of revenue they have so far largely ignored – a small tax on sales of stocks, bonds, and complex financial instruments.
“The progress of the CFPB has been the most impressive” result, said AFR Policy Director Marcus Stanley. “In 2009, very few people would have predicted that a few years later there would be a fully operational and independent consumer financial protection bureau.”
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) has introduced legislation directing U.S. companies to refuse to comply with the proposed tax. Rather than trying to obstruct the EU proposal, “U.S. elected officials should be considering the potential benefits that such taxes could deliver for this country.”
By 71 to 29, the Senate has agreed to end debate and allow a vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That vote “will remove the threat of legal challenges to the bureau’s rules and enforcement actions,” Bloomberg reports.
“This legislation restores the division between commercial banking and financial market activities – a change that will make our financial system more secure and better able to support the real economy.”
“Regulators have to get serious about implementing this law,” AFR policy director Marcus Stanley told the Washington Post. “The derivatives market is dominated by insured banks,” which means taxpayers would be on the hook if they ran into trouble, he said.