Category Archives: In the News

In The News: Convenience has consequences

“If big banks are going to compare themselves to the worst offenders in payments, then they are already losing the argument,” said Renita Marcellin, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform. “Their entire argument is built around trying to distract us from their responsibility for fraud in services that they themselves offer their own customers,” she added.

In The News: Private equity still investing billions in dirty energy despite pledge to clean up

Carlyle is rated F, the lowest in the climate credentials scorecard that has been created by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (Pesp) and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund (Afref). “The scorecard provides important information and analysis that can help investors and communities understand what these firms are doing, and makes very clear that the firm’s climate commitments are largely empty words,” said Oscar Valdes Viera, research manager at Afref and co-author of the climate risks scorecard.

In The News: US trustbusters: why Joe Biden is taking on private equity

Natalia Renta, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, a not for profit organisation, says: “The private equity lobby is bound to throw up smokescreens about what antitrust law can and cannot do, but that misses the point entirely. Higher prices and lower-quality care leading to increased mortality — both characteristics of sectors where private equity has amassed a presence — are indicators of market power, and that is precisely what antitrust law addresses.”

Crypto skeptics have been debating online for years. Now they’re organizing.

Hays said other Washington advocacy groups are putting more time and money into research, but he said he’s used to being outnumbered. “This is pretty typical with progressive advocacy work,” he said. “As a general rule, there are fewer of us than there are on the other side. And crypto has grown so dramatically that a lot of different advocacy organizations have been slow to recognize it.” 

In The News: How the Fed’s inflation battle is already slamming the economy

Andrew Park, a senior policy analyst at the progressive Americans for Financial Reform, said a lot of companies also failed to take advantage of the debt binge during the pandemic to make productive investments, citing private equity-owned firms that borrowed money to pay dividends to shareholders. “When you have all this corporate debt that’s been issued, what happens is, it’s less of an immediate implosion and more of a drawn-out process where the debt becomes an amplifier” to any recession. That’s because people lose their jobs and income, which further dampens economic activity.

In The News: Bank lobbyists’ attacks on CFPB obscure the real ‘rogues’ (American Banker)

Polling [from Americans for Financial Reform] has consistently found that the public likes having a strong CFPB. It’s why banking lobbyists try to harp on images of government bureaucrats telling people what to do. But the public on the whole appreciates that the financial services industry is massive and powerful; it put nearly $3 billion into the 2020 elections, [according to AFR research].

In The News: Senators to Propose Industry-Friendly Cryptocurrency Bill

“This legislation would do quite a bit to undermine existing securities laws by creating an alternative route that could bypass the current, time-tested rules,” said Mark Hays, a senior policy analyst on fintech at Americans for Financial Reform, a progressive advocacy group. He added that the bill would create a new class of securities that lack the necessary investor protections.

In The News: Who gets to own a bank?

In today’s polarized environment, it’s refreshing to see the banking industry and consumer advocacy organizations in agreement over the fact that industrial loan corporations or industrial banks only serve as a loophole for large companies to own a bank. These odd bedfellows range from the Center for Responsible Lending, Americans for Financial Reform and the Woodstock Institute on one end, to the Bank Policy Institute, PNC and the Independent Community Bankers of America on the other.

In The News: The Deep Roots of the Racial Wealth Gap—and How We Undo It

In the more than 150 years since the end of the Civil War, Black American wealth remains a fraction of that held by White Americans. Just after emancipation in 1865, African Americans owned 0.5% of national wealth. While closing this divide is essential to achieving racial equity in this country, it’s important that we apply the right tools for the job. We can’t properly solve problems without understanding their origins. The growing divide between White wealth and Black wealth is a product of economic systems designed to extract wealth from Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and redirect it to the wealthy, almost uniformly White elite.