Clean Energy Climate

News Release: Federal financial stability watchdog stirs while some regulators snooze on climate

“The FSOC and Treasury must pivot from this meeting and push lagging regulators to turn today’s words on climate into bold and timely action. At its next meeting, the FSOC should take the concrete steps we recommend in the Climate Roadmap. There’s still time to act, but no more time to delay.”

— Alex Martin, Senior Policy Analyst, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund

a melting glacier

News Release: Financial Regulation an Essential Tool for Fighting Climate Crisis

The “Climate Roadmap for U.S. Financial Regulation,” from Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund and Public Citizen, outlines how Biden appointees can protect investors, workers, and the economy from the escalating risks caused by the climate crisis, while also shifting the regulatory framework towards one that promotes the transition to a low-carbon future.

In The News: Biden’s New Playbook for Greening the Financial System (The Atlantic)

“The nonprofits Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform have released an early copy of their new “roadmap” for climate-finance reform to The Weekly Planet. It’s a guide to what the new executive branch might do to shift the flows of capital toward greener investments.”

“Not that this will be easy. Yesterday, Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, wrote a letter to the San Francisco Fed implying that it should stop researching “climate economics,” labeling the topic “bitterly partisan.” He’s not wrong—climate change is bitterly partisan. But all of the country’s largest banks have issued climate policies nevertheless. And if it is partisan, that is because partisans fought greenhouse-gas regulation for so long that climate change has become a costly and whole-of-society issue. The financial system is where those costs come to roost. Any big problem, ignored for long enough, becomes a financial issue.”

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Statement: The Education Department must ensure all borrowers benefit from the suspension

While it’s encouraging to see the Department act to protect over one million defaulted borrowers from seized tax refunds and wage garnishment, they must not leave behind the 5.5 million commercial FFEL borrowers who aren’t in default. An estimated 9 million borrowers total have been left out of the federal student loan suspension through no fault of their own. There is bipartisan support for ensuring no federal student loan borrowers areunfairly left behind; the Department must use its authority to protect all federal student loan borrowers.

an empty university auditorium

Statement: The Education Department must automatically cancel debt for borrowers eligible for disability discharges

The Department of Education’s actions today halt harms to borrowers that should never have happened. The Department must act next to affirmatively improve borrowers’ realities. The Trump administration, through executive action, made Total and Permanent Disability discharges automatically available to eligible veterans unless they opted-out. The Biden Administration must similarly act to make TPD discharges automatic for the estimated 400,000 borrowers eligible for relief who have not yet received it. 

Letter to Regulators: Fill Vacant Inspector General positions

AFR joins a letter to the White House and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), calling on President Biden to nominate individuals to fill the fourteen open inspector general positions by June 1, 2021. Inspectors general are a linchpin of government accountability yet fourteen of the seventy-four total offices of the inspectors general are vacant. The ongoing response to COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of using all available mechanisms within the federal government to ensure proper oversight and accountability of government programs.

sign for the CFPB outside a building

Letters to Regulators: Letter to the CFPB Re: Renewed Request to Rescind Language in April 1, 2020 CFPB Guidance Allowing CRAs and Furnishers to Exceed FCRA Deadlines for Disputes

AFREF joined our partners in sending a follow-up letter calling on the CFPB to rescind its April 1, 2020 guidance allowing consumer reporting agencies and furnishers to exceed the dispute investigation deadlines under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the six months since we sent our last letter, the situation has only gotten worse, with nearly 26,000 more complaints submitted by consumers about delayed or nonexistent responses to credit/consumer reporting disputes. We urged the Bureau to revoke the guidance as soon as possible to prevent further consumer harm.