Category Archives: Financial Reform News

forced arb

Joint Letter: Coalition Urges Intuit to Reject Proposal on Forced Shareholder Arbitration

The measure, which is scheduled for a vote at the company’s annual meeting next week, would block investors harmed by securities fraud or other corporate legal violations from bringing their claims as a class in a court of law, before a judge and jury. This would effectively end most shareholders’ ability to recover their losses in such cases, as they cannot affordably be brought individually in arbitration by any but the very largest institutional investors.

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News Release: New CFPB Task Force Runs Counter to Agency Mission

“The CFPB is dropping the ball on enforcing and drafting federal rules to actually protect the public from rip offs and discrimination in lending,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. “Creating and hiring a new task force stacked with industry representatives and ideological opponents of regulation is one more move that runs directly counter to the CFPB’s basic mission.”

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News Release: AFR Ed Fund Criticizes HUD Proposal for Thwarting Fair Housing Goals

If the proposed rule went into effect, HUD’s assessment of whether localities were meeting their AFFH obligations would not include consideration of race, religion, national origin, families with children, or other protected classes that the Fair Housing Act was intended to shield from discrimination. The proposed rule eliminates the community participation process, which was proven to be extremely effective in helping communities develop meaningful fair housing goals, and does not even have a requirement that state and local governments conduct a fair housing analysis for their communities at all.

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In The News: Blackstone-KKR Hidden Hand in Ad Blitz Unleashes Washington Fury (Bloomberg)

Confronted with the rare prospect of defeat on Capitol Hill, private equity titans Blackstone Group Inc. and KKR & Co. unleashed a national advertising blitz last year against legislation that threatened their investments in health-care companies valued at $16 billion … House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters has already said she plans to hold a hearing early this year featuring executives from top firms. Meanwhile, progressive groups such as Americans for Financial Reform and United for Respect are funding anti-private equity campaigns.

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News Release: Report Highlights Private Equity Ownership of Texas Plant as Possible Danger to Health, Environment

Following last month’s explosions at a petrochemical plant near Beaumont, Texas on the Gulf Coast, a new report draws attention to the private equity industry’s growing control of companies in this sector through a business model that may increase health, environmental, and safety risks. This financial engineering often allows private equity firms to extract wealth from the companies they purchase, but can result in intense pressure to cut costs, resulting in layoffs or reduced spending on operations that can lead to substandard products or services.

fence with a yellow sign that says 'danger' = Photo by JF Martin on Unsplash

Report: Private Equity’s Chemical Catastrophe in Texas

The day before Thanksgiving, a chemical plant operated by the TPC Group exploded in Port Neches, Texas spewing contaminants, forcing over 50,000 people to evacuate, and leaving the community with the lingering aftereffects of an industrial disaster. The TPC Group is owned by two private equity (PE) firms, SK Capital Partners (SK) and First Reserve. The private equity owned chemical plants in Texas held by SK Capital have a long record of environmental violations — not just the TPC Group factories but other SK Capital portfolio firms.

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In The News: Where have all the CFPB fair-lending cases gone? (American Banker)

“They’ve made it easier to hide patterns of discrimination by raising the threshold for reporting, which makes it harder for civil rights lawyers or state attorneys general to draw conclusions when the data is not available,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit coalition. “So in addition to not going after any bad guys in two years, they are making it a lot harder to find those patterns of discrimination.”

a student with books - Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

AFR, 56 Orgs support S.J. Res 56 to disapprove DeVos Borrower Defense rule

AFR joined 65 other organizations to write in support of S.J.Res. 56 and H.J.Res.76 to undo Education Secretary DeVos’ 2019 Borrower Defense to Repayment rule. The DeVos rule gutted the Obama Administration’s 2016 rule that added further protections to students who are entitled to debt cancellation after their schools broke the law. An analysis of the Department’s own calculations estimates that only 3 percent of the loans that result from school misconduct would be cancelled under the new rule. Schools would be held accountable for reimbursing taxpayers for just 1 percent of these loans.

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In The News: It’s Time for Congress to Do Something About the Economic Mess that Private Equity Giants Have Created (Business Insider)

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz: “[A] recent study by groups including Americans for Financial Reform found that private-equity bankruptcies in the retail industry alone cost 600,000 jobs. One of those laid off, Giovanna De La Rosa, told of her experiences in this publication. The best outcome would be fewer bankruptcies, but when they happen, the welfare of workers needs to be at the top of the list, not at the bottom.”