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Last week, on July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau turned 6 years old. The CFPB, a watchdog agency set up to restore fairness and competition in the marketplace, was part of Wall Street Reform legislation enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.
ConnPIRG held a press conference to celebrate the CFPB’s results for Connecticut residents, as part of its Defend CFPB campaign. The campaign is going door to door in neighborhoods throughout cities like Hartford, West Hartford, Mansfield Storrs, and others, increasing awareness of the agency and calling on the Senate to stop attacks against it.
“For the 6th year in a row, the CFPB is getting results for consumers across Connecticut. Reining in Wall Street isn’t a left-right issue, it’s a little guy-big guy issue. We thank Senators Blumenthal and Murphy for standing up to the big banks and call on Congress to stand with consumers instead of Wall Street,” said Kate Cohen, State Director with ConnPIRG.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was set up to protect Americans from the predatory practices that crashed our economy back in 2008,” said US Senator Chris Murphy. “In the six years it’s been around, it’s returned nearly $12 billion dollars to consumers who’ve been harmed by financial institutions. That’s success by any measure, and I am proud to continue to support the CFPB’s important work.”
"The American people deserve a cop on the beat to protect them from deceptive, abusive and predatory financial practices," said US Senator Richard Blumenthal. "Whether it is mortgages or credit cards, loans or bank accounts, Americans need and deserve robust consumer protections and I stand ready to protect this critical agency from those who seek to return to the days when they could prey on defenseless consumers."
ConnPIRG also released “The CFPB Gets Results,” a 2-minute video with coalition partners.
Some highlights of the CFPB’s successes in its first six years:
- The bureau has returned nearly $12 billion to 29 million consumers cheated by illegal practices of credit card and mortgage companies, banks, debt collectors, and others.
- The bureau has processed 1.1 million consumer complaints across the country and 12,903 in Connecticut. Many of these complaints are published in the public database.
- The bureau has finalized a variety of new protections, including its arbitration rule this month, giving consumers back their rights to join class-action lawsuits when they are cheated by financial companies.
- Many people are familiar with the Wells Fargo account scandal where the bank was caught creating millions of fake accounts. The CFPB took the lead in holding the bank accountable with a $100 million fine. But that was just one case. The agency has taken over 180 legal actions against companies that broke the law.
- The bureau has special offices to protect students, seniors, servicemembers and persons at risk of unlawful discrimination.
- Helpful guides are available on its website to help consumers make important financial decisions like shopping for a home, taking out a loan, or planning for retirement.
The group noted that the House has already passed HR10, the so-called Financial Choice Act, which repeals the CFPB’s independence and eliminates most of its tools for protecting consumers. The bill also weakens many of the Wall Street reforms enacted in 2010 to prevent another collapse of the financial system due to reckless big bank practices.
“The Senate must reject the Wrong Choice Act that brings back the threat of another 2008 financial crisis. We’ve already lived that nightmare, which left millions of consumers without homes, jobs, or retirement savings,” concluded Cohen. “That’s why it is critical to defend the CFPB, because it is helping consumers hold on to their hard-earned money, and preventing Wall Street from engaging in the anti-consumer practices that made that crisis even worse.”
ConnPIRG is a non-partisan, non-profit consumer organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at ConnPIRG.org.
ConnPIRG is a founding member of Americans for Financial Reform, the coalition that helped enact the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that created the CFPB and other reforms and continues to defend them. The latest AFR poll (July 2017) shows strong bipartisan support for continued Wall Street oversight and a strong Consumer Bureau.
Defend the CFPB
Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.
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