Washington, D.C. – The announcement that Chevron will spend $75 billion on stock buybacks underscores the urgency of reinforcing a measure Congress created last year to penalize companies that engage in a financial practice that amplifies rampant wealth inequality, and in this case boosts the bottom line of a climate-harming industry.
The nation’s big-bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, should help broaden and extend a crackdown on financial institutions that repeatedly violate the law – notably Wells Fargo – with all the tools at its disposal. Comptroller Michael Hsu is speaking on the problem of “too big to manage” today. The speech comes about a month after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Wells to pay $3.7 billion over widespread mismanagement of auto loans, mortgages, and deposit accounts, and promised to work with other federal regulators to find durable solutions to its constant violations of the law.
AFR joined partners as amici in urging the United State Supreme Court in upholding the President’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers. This cancellation has the power to shift the racial wealth gap, free borrowers of the weight of student loan debt and potentially plant BIPOC communities on even ground with their white counterparts.
Andrew Park, senior policy analyst for hedge funds and private equity at Americans for Financial Reform and the author of the report, estimates the volume of leveraged loans and high-yield debt outstanding has roughly doubled since 2008, while the volume of direct-lending debt has increased from virtually zero to an estimate of more than $1 trillion. “The fact is that there is no good way to understand how indebted companies actually are,” [Mr. Park] said. “We have guesses and estimates based on the data out there, but there is no standardized way to look at it.”
The explosion of low-quality lending has brought debt loads in corporate America to record highs, a development that is likely to bring, in the coming years, a wave of defaults, slower growth, future job losses, and potential instability stemming from the utter opacity of this business. Despite the exponential growth in subprime corporate debt, our laws and regulations have not kept up, leaving policymakers and regulators in the dark as to the exact size of this market and where various risks may exist that could affect other financial institutions, companies, and their workers.
Washington, D.C. — The Federal Reserve and other banking regulators made the right call Tuesday by issuing a warning regarding the risks that crypto-assets pose to banking organizations. There is widespread volatility, fraud risk, legal uncertainties, unfair and deceptive practices, run and contagion risks, high levels of concentration and interconnections between firms, and poor risk management and governance found throughout the industry – all of which spells danger for investors and consumers alike.
AFREF led a letter calling on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the banking associations to drop the lawsuit against the CFPB that would allow them to discriminate against similarly situated BIPOC communities. The lawsuit focuses on the Bureau’s warning that the federal prohibition on unfair practices covers discrimination, and that the Bureau will be using its examination authority to look for and address unlawful discrimination in financial services, including in areas outside of lending, The CFPB was well within its authority to take these actions. Discrimination is unfair and unlawful, and it should have no place in our financial system.
For over a decade, AFR has supported the work of the CFPB, which has brought significant reforms and millions of dollars for consumers across the country. We also mobilized against the agency’s lousy leadership under the previous administration. Now, we are defending the CFPB after a recent right-wing court attacked its funding mechanism.
AFREF joined a letter calling on President Biden to extend the payment pause on student loans.
A new report providing a snapshot of how every member of Congress voted on consumer protections, climate financial regulation, Wall Street, and financial industry legislative measures during the 117th Congress.