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Seattle, WA–Calling on Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dennis Heck and Dan Neuhouse to protect Washington consumers from Wall Street's attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, WashPIRG launched the “Washington Campaign To Defend the CFPB” today.
“Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler has sided with big Wall Street banks and other financial institutions at the expense of consumers. She has supported legislation that would starve the CFPB by changing its funding source. We are urging Representative Heck to continue protecting the agency and consumers against attacks by big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders.” said Sarah Lukins, campaign organizer with WashPIRG.
The campaign aims to highlight the CFPB's numerous successes and the growing threats against it.
Congress created the CFPB after the economic collapse to serve as a watchdog for consumers and reduce the risk of another collapse.
The CFPB's successes for consumers include the following:
- The CFPB has already returned nearly $12 billion to over 27 million consumers by holding companies accountable for breaking the law.
- Among its numerous actions is a record $100 million penalty and consumer restitution against Wells Fargo for millions of fake, fraudulent consumer accounts created by its employees.
- Additionally, the CFPB's website hosts a complaint database that has processed over 1 million complaints, and it provides educational resources to make important financial decisions.
- 13,977 complaints from Washington have been published in the database.
Attacks against the CFPB include:
- Changing its leadership structure - The agency is currently headed by a single director, Richard Cordray. There are efforts to change the structure to a commission of five people. Getting Richard Cordray confirmed was a long uphill battle. Getting five people confirmed would be even more difficult, possibly leaving the agency unable to fully function. Or the five seats could be stacked in favor of the industry it is meant to rein in. We have seen both scenarios at other agencies.
- Changing its source of funding - The CFPB is currently funded independently through the Federal Reserve. eEvery banking regulator has had independent funding, since 1864. Why? To protect the economy from the politicization of banking policies as much as possible. There is an effort to bring the CFPB's funding under Congressional appropriations approval – this means Congress could starve it to death so it wouldn't be able to do its job because the lobbyists dominate those funding decisions.
- Stall the CFPB's current rulemaking - The CFPB is currently working on rules that would protect consumers from payday debt traps and forced arbitration. Forced arbitration is used to prevent consumers from banding together and joining class action lawsuits to seek justice when they are wronged by financial companies. There are efforts to hamstring the CFPB's work on these rules.
“We urge Washingtonians to contact our members of Congress to make sure our voices don't get drowned out by big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders,” said Lukins. “The CFPB is the first and only agency that works only for consumers. That’s why special interests want to defang it and that’s why it must be protected.”
WashPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations 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 WashPIRG.org
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