13 July 2011
One year ago this month, Congress passed sweeping financial reform legislation and created the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to address fundamental weaknesses in financial regulation and consumer protection. Leading up to the creation of the CFPB, consumer advocates likened the creation of the CFPB to the creation of deposit insurance after crash of 1929; a ground breaking step forward in protecting consumers. Prior to the CFPB, consumer protection functions were divided among seven different agencies with the primary result being that the consumer was not always protected. With the creation of the CFPB, consumers will now have a ‘one stop’ cop on the beat that will supervise banks, credit agencies, and other financial companies. The CFPB is due to launch on July 21st, 2011; however, if the GOP lead House of Representatives has anything to do with it, the CFPB will be severely handicapped from the start.
Presumably, strong consumer protection and enforcement against predatory and abusive financial practices are good things, right? Not if you ask this Congress. The House continues to weaken the CFPB by attempting to assert appropriations authority over the CFPB and make critical cuts to the independent funding for the CFPB. The numerous attacks and attempts to undermine the CFPB coming out of the House is akin to the infamous ‘death panels’ used by opponents of health care reform. It’s a cheap trick and a waste of time. Republican ‘watchdogs’ who purport to want to take back Washington for the American people seem to be doing the exact opposite; entrenching their own power and attempting to weaken down the watchdog consumer protection agency that will protect consumers from hidden bank fees, shady loans, and other financial rip-offs. Who’s afraid of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau? Apparently, it’s this GOP-led Congress.
Remind Congress, that they should be keeping consumer interests in mind! Tell Congress to stop attacking and delaying the standing up of the CFPB. Call your Senator and Representative now. Tell them that subjecting the CFPB to appropriations will increase taxpayer costs and allow big banks to thwart funding.
To contact your member of Congress, you can use the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s and/or Representative's office.
Legislative Director, National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)