Reining in Wall Street

STANDING UP FOR CONSUMERS IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETPLACE—For more than 20 years, Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski has helped us stand up against big banks and credit card companies.

A Consumer Cop On the Financial Beat

You work hard for your money. You should be able to save, invest and generally manage your money without fear of being trapped, tricked or ripped off by the institutions you are trusting with your financial future. And from the 2008 economic collapse, we know how big of an impact those institutions can have on our economy when they play fast and loose with our money. 

Since 2009, the solution has been clear. We need to have fair, clear, transparent and enforceable rules that protect consumers in the financial marketplace. Now, we know we can get there through the work of an agency that has those principles at the core of its mission — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.   

The CFPB Gets the Job Done

Despite the fact that the CFPB is not widely known, we’ve already seen their financial oversight return nearly $12 billion to consumers … in just five years. The CFPB holds big banks, debt collectors, and lenders accountable. Here are a few examples of some of the cases the CFPB has taken on:


When American Honda Finance used discriminatory pricing to rip off African-American, Hispanic, and Asia/ Pacific Island borrowers who paid too much for car loans, the CFPB returned $24 million to these consumers.


The Department of Justice and 47 states joined the CFPB in a $216 million action against JP Morgan Chase Bank for illegal debt collection practices affecting over half a million Americans.


When it was discovered that Wells Fargo employees were opening unauthorized debit and credit accounts using their customer's information, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for fraud.


The CFPB fined Equifax andTransUnion — two of the three largest credit reporting agencies — $5 million for selling inflated credit scores to consumers that were different from ones actually used by lenders and returned $17 million to those harmed by the deception.

But the CFPB doesn't just help consumers get their money back, it levels the financial playing field. The CFPB has several specialized departments for veterans, senior citizens, new homeowners, college students, and low-income consumers that seek to educate the public on how to stay safe and provide them with the tools they need to keep their finances secure.

Tell Your Senators: Stand Up For Consumers

Almost every day we hear about some new way of tricking, trapping and ripping off consumers. And despite the fact that tricks like these led directly to the 2008 financial collapse, some Wall Street banks are spending upwards of a million dollars every day to roll back the rules and the CFPB — the very agency that was created to keep them in check. Now, many legislators in Washington want to defund or destroy the CFPB.

Effective consumer protections aren't some sort of luxury we can't afford — they're hallmarks of a great country. As founders and leaders of the movement to create and protect the CFPB, we're working to make sure that our success not only sticks, but that we can build upon it.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Financial Reform

If the CFPB Is Weakened, Won’t the Credit Bureaus Run Amok (Again?) | Ed Mierzwinski

The CFPB is doing incredible work defending consumers. You may not know how much of that work involves cleaning up the sloppy credit bureaus. Congressional and special interest attacks on the CFPB will slow all or stop all CFPB work. It will let the bureaus run amok, again, placing your credit score and financial opportunity and job prospects at risk.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Student, Education, and Consumer Groups Defend CFPB To Congress

On February 13, nearly 60 local, state and national student advocacy, professional, consumer, educational, faith and other organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders expressing "strong support for the crucial work the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does on behalf of student loan borrowers." The "borrower-focused" letter also urged Congress "to ensure the agency remains well-positioned to solve borrowers’ problems, which includes protecting the Bureau’s single-Director structure and its independent funding, and maintaining Director Richard Cordray until his term ends.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

CFPB Taps Former Pentagon Legal Official to Head Office of Servicemember Affairs

We join National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups in a release commending the appointment of senior Pentagon official Colonel Paul Kantwill (U.S. Army, Retired) to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs. The CFPB plays an important role in protecting servicemembers, veterans and their families from financial predators.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Overdrafts continue to hit students hard on campus

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report shining a spotlight on contracts between banks and colleges to promote debit cards on campus.  Students continue to get hit hard with overdraft fees attached to their campus bank accounts. According to the report, nearly one in ten consumers in the population with student accounts incurred 10 or more  overdrafts per year, paying, on average, $196 in overdraft fees alone. Below is a detailed analysis by US. PIRG's Chris Lindstrom, who championed the protections that the CFPB is reporting on. This report is one more example of why we need a strong CFPB. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

SENATE CONFIRMS CFPB DIRECTOR CORDRAY

Statement of Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG, on the Senate Confirmation of Richard Cordray to Full Term as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director. Senators Warren and Markey vote for consumers.

 

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Collins, Ayotte stand in way of new consumer protection bureau

KUDOS TO Senator Elizabeth Warren for coming out swinging against the big banks at her first Senate Banking Committee hearing, urging regulators to finally hold the banks accountable and leading the fight to defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

MASSPIRG Commends President for Renomination of Richard Cordray to Head CFPB

President renominates Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Central Mass Colleges Score Over $150K From Credit Card Agreements

Central Mass colleges and alumni associations received over $150,000 from credit card company agreements in 2011, according to the 2012 annual report and database from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

MASSPIRG outlines agressive credit card marketing practices and provides tips on how to avoid high fees. 

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will get seat on Senate Banking Committee

Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for MASSPIRG, a consumer advocacy group, said the appointment will be “good news for consumers.” “She has a demonstrated track record of standing up for the average consumer and working to ensure that they have some financial security, that they have an understanding of the financial products,” Cummings said.

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Report | Good Jobs First | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Show Us the Stimulus (Again)

A report released today shows that many states are making dramatic improvements in websites designed to disseminate information about their share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), while others have failed to make vital information available.

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Massachusetts Stimulus Website

hree watchdog groups released their findings about the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act website – www.Ma.gov/recovery .

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Report | McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Report of the Quasi-Public Authority Compensation Review Commission

New report calls for improved transparency in Quasi-Public Authorities

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Report | MASSPIRG | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Tax Shell Game

Many of the largest corporations in our country hide profits made in the United States in offshore shell companies and sham headquarters in order to avoid paying billions in federal taxes.

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Failing the Bailout

Following the collapse of major financial institutions Congress enacted a sweeping $700 billion taxpayer-financed bailout of the financial sector.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

SENATORS HOLD CFPB DIRECTOR HOSTAGE, ROIL MARKETS | Deirdre Cummings

On Friday, most Senate Republicans again sent the President a letter saying they would not confirm Richard Cordray to a full term as CFPB director unless the agency's powers and independence were first gutted. Their intransigence contributes to market uncertainty that ignores at least three things: The CFPB is here to stay; the public wants the CFPB; and, banks lose to payday lenders if the director is not confirmed.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

The CFPB is now taking your credit bureau complaints | Deirdre Cummings

Excellent news! The CFPB is now taking your complaints about credit bureaus and credit reports.

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Blog Post | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

You're Invited to "We're not Broke" | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG Invites you to a special screening of the new movie We're Not Broke
Thursday, Oct. 18  -  6:30 PM - Harvard Kennedy School
Wiener Auditorium
, Ground Floor of the Taubman Building, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

It happened 4 years ago this weekend, and Congress has already forgottenDeirdre CummingsEd Mierzwinski

Four years ago, on September 14-15, 2008, the Lehman Brothers investment bank declared bankruptcy while Bank of America acquired another foundering investment bank, Merrill Lynch -- major events that froze the financial markets and led in a few days to a $700 billion bailout of the financial system. Just four years later, some in the Congress have forgotten that real people and the economy are still suffering from the financial collapse, as it steps up Wall Street-backed efforts to prevent regulators from protecting the public.

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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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