Americans for Financial Reform is out with a blog post this morning blasting a coalition of big bank trade groups over their lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seeking to reverse a new agency crackdown on discrimination in banking or banking services. They accuse the groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Consumer Bankers Association, of “trying to drag their disputes with CFPB into a more favorable arena, namely a judiciary with a strong pro-corporate, right-wing bent.”
Ask a reasonable person if discrimination on the basis of race or religion is unfair. The odds are good – very good, according to this AFR poll, – that you’ll get a resounding “yes,” a polite “of course,” or even an incredulous “are you kidding?” Yes. Discrimination. Is. Unfair. But if you try to convince big-bank lobbyists that discrimination is unfair, you won’t get a “yes.” You get a lawsuit, with multiple awful lines of attack, that stands a good chance of succeeding. And that’s not satire.
Americans for Financial Reform released a record of votes during the first session of the 117th Congress regarding consumer protections, climate financial regulation, and Wall Street accountability. The report includes a selection of votes on legislation and on confirmations of President Biden’s nominees to positions important for financial regulation and Wall Street accountability.
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].
Having a rapacious business like private equity watching over particularly vulnerable people has never been a good idea. Still the evidence is mounting that Wall Street has pushed the envelope in recent years. Nursing homes, youth facilities, and homes for disabled adults have all fallen under the ownership of an industry with a track record of prioritizing wealth extraction over running companies well, to say nothing of caring for people in need.
Blog Post: Wall Street and private equity are “gobbling up homes,” driving inflation and exacerbating the housing crisis
In a House Financial Services Committee hearing from the beginning of March, both Representatives and witnesses discussed how Wall Street and private equity are causing housing prices to soar and driving inflation.
Today’s proposal from the Securities and Exchange Commission is a key step in bringing much-needed transparency for investors and accountability in the vast private funds market. The reforms it proposes would give pension funds that invest workers and retiree savings much more information, allowing them to better protect hard-earned dollars.
Sara Myklebust, research director at Bargaining for the Common Good Network, an initiative of labor and community groups, worked with [Patrick] Woodall, [research director at] Americans for Financial Reform, to try to survey units owned by large-scale corporate landlords in major cities across the country in 2019. Myklebust and Woodall were interested in whether they could document the consolidation of the market for single-family rentals, manufactured homes and apartments.
Wall Street’s private equity barons smashed previous records to complete $1.2 trillion worth of acquisitions in the United States in 2021, an all-time record. Globally, the industry gobbled up companies worth $2.1 trillion. The new acquisitions and the massive debts the industry generates is creating the risk of “the dotcom boom meeting with the financial crisis,” according to one insider.
The nomination of the highly qualified Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson to the Fed is a very welcome step forward towards a better-regulated Wall Street. The Fed needs to steer a new course that begins with a reversal of the deregulation of the Trump era. This work must continue with pro-active regulation and supervision of Wall Street.