Congressional Republicans have moved on to their next target for financial deregulation: Republicans in Congress and the consumer finance industry want to eliminate or hobble the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency has provided $16 billion in restitution or cancelled debt to 192 million consumers since the agency began operation in 2010. It’s one of the few institutions, public or private, that has earned Americans’ confidence in a long time.
Washington, D.C. – President Biden’s recent budget proposal would bring billionaires and big corporations closer to paying their fair share in taxes. It would also disincentivize wasteful spending on stock buybacks.
As the Federal Reserve prepares new capital rules for American banks, Wall Street is rolling out its misdirection and bad arguments – as it has for much of the past decade – about why they should not be required to steel themselves against a crisis or downturn. And once again, regulators and Congress must be prepared to ignore their histrionics and strengthen capital requirements.
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.
A new poll released today shows voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly back the mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), financial regulation generally and a variety of new, specific consumer protections. The findings are released as the Supreme Court is poised to consider a lawsuit from payday lenders that could invalidate the CFPB’s funding mechanism, which would undermine its effectiveness.
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.