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As Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Turns 6 Years Old, Group Warns: “Don’t Let This Be its Last Birthday.” MASSPIRG Calls on U.S. Senate to Block Wall Street Attacks on Successful Consumer Bureau
(Boston) As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau turns 6 years old, attacks from Congress prompted MASSPIRG, the statewide consumer advocacy group, to warn there may not be a 7th birthday . The CFPB, a watchdog agency set up to restore fairness and competition in the financial marketplace, was a key piece of the Wall Street Reform legislation enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.
At a press event featuring an oversized birthday cake, advocates marked the success of the CFPB, warned of threats to the agency, and thanked US Senators Warren and Markey for their support.
“In the six years since opening its doors, CFPB has done its job, returning $12 billion to consumers and protecting families from financial tricks and traps,” Senator Warren said. “The consumer agency is a success – and that’s why the big banks hate it. Wall Street wants to weaken the CFPB and take this important cop off the beat. That’s why we need the members of MASSPIRG and people across the country to fight back. Protect the consumer agency now, so it can keep getting results for working families.”
“Protecting consumers from Wall Street’s greed isn’t a conservative or liberal issue, it’s a little guy-big guy issue. We thank Senator Elizabeth Warren for her role in creating the Bureau, along with Senator Ed Markey for leading the charge to protect the Bureau against attacks by the big banks and Wall Street,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director with MASSPIRG.
“I’ve been going door to door talking to people about the CFPB. While few know what the letters CFPB stands for, they all support having a consumer cop on the beat, protecting us from unfair fees and practices by big banks, predatory lenders, and other Wall Street companies,” said Theresa Soldan, of the MASSPIRG citizen outreach team.
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 handled1.1 million consumer complaints across the country, including more than 21,000 from consumers in Massachusetts. Many of these complaints are published in a public database.
- The bureau has finalized a variety of basic consumer protections, including a new rule that gives 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, in which the bank was caught creating millions of fake accounts. The CFPB took the lead punishing this illegal scam 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.
In addition, 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 when shopping for a home, taking out a loan, or planning for retirement.
The group noted that the U.S. 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 reckless banking practices from causing another collapse of the financial system.
“If the U.S. Congress were subject to ‘truth in legislating’ rules, the House bill would be titled the ‘Wrong Choice Act.’ The Senate must reject it, because it if passes, it we face 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 Domenitz.
MASSPIRG 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 www.masspirg.org.
MASSPIRG 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.
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