“I think really the most striking thing about this polling has been its consistency,” Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, told Vox. “The experience of the crisis was a really deep and serious one for people. It may have faded into memory of some policy makers and some regulators, unfortunately, but it has not faded in people’s memory because the experience was long-lasting for people.”
Kraninger is wildly unqualified to lead the CFPB: Before her confirmation, she had no experience in consumer protection or financial regulation. Civil rights groups and Wall Street watchdogs [AFR letter linked] uniformly opposed her, while the financial industry supported her—perceiving correctly that she would be, at best, a do-nothing director.
“Did anyone take Internet Security 101?” says Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform. “I always tell my elderly parents, whatever you do, don’t click on anything! How do you know it’s legit? How do you know it isn’t a scam?”
Vox article quotes Heather Slavkin-Corzo, senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform and director of capital markets policy for the AFL-CIO: “When a private equity firm steps in, it’s a classic case of ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ … They have a real short-term focus on extracting as much cash as possible, as quickly as possible.”
In practice, that meant they often sold off real estate holdings, cut workers’ pay and benefits, and did away with jobs to turn a quick profit for investors, according to Heather Slavkin Corzo, a senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform and the director of capital markets policy for the labor union AFL-CIO. “When a private equity firm steps in, it’s a classic case of ‘heads I win, tails you lose,” Corzo said. “They have a real short-term focus on extracting as much cash as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization strongly supports the bill. “These powerful interests have rigged the rules to enable financial engineering that lets a tiny handful of people extract vast wealth at everyone else’s expense. It is time to change the laws to protect workers, communities, and pensions.”
“Financial education isn’t going to stop a company from misapplying your mortgage payment or the wrongful repossession of a car,” observes Linda Jun, a senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform. “The financial crisis wasn’t about people suddenly forgetting how to save. That was a very minor aspect of what happened. There were these bad actors that preyed on people with deceptive fees and unfair practices and discrimination. The point of having a financial regulator that protects consumers is to bring these shady behaviors to an end.”
“Private equity and hedge funds now wield enormous influence over the American economy, often with terrible consequences for workers and communities,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, one of the groups backing the bill, in a statement.
“He was at the center of the industry effort to undo Dodd-Frank in the back rooms, and in terms of intimidating regulators and overturning important parts of it, he had a lot of success,” recalled Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a group that supports the law.
“Most of the rules that were costing industry a lot of money, he was the lead on trying to overturn them,” Stanley added.
Consumer advocates criticized Ms. Kraninger’s invitation to financial companies. “Americans don’t need the main federal consumer protection agency partnering with the financial services industry to conduct studies,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform. “Americans need a strong CFPB that actually polices the industry from doing harm.”