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Bills would turn CFPB from watchdog to bank lapdog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bills Would Turn CFPB from Watchdog to Big Bank Lapdog, Says New Ad
Consumers Union Calls On Congress to Stand with Consumers, Not Wall Street, in Letter to Lawmakers

WASHINGTON, DC – Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, today sent letters urging members of Congress to stand up for consumers and oppose recent legislative attempts to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The letter came as the organization unveiled full-page ads in prominent Washington publications warning that bills making their way through the House of Representatives would put the CFPB on a short leash, turning the bureau from a consumer watchdog to a Big Bank lapdog.
Ellen Bloom, the senior director of federal policy and the Washington office of Consumers Union said, “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after shady subprime mortgages triggered a record number of foreclosures and ultimately our financial crisis. American families have already paid a steep price for years of lax oversight of credit card scams, hidden bank fees, and other financial rip-offs. Consumers need this watchdog, but opponents want to put a muzzle on the CFPB before it even gets started.”
Consumers Union’s ad features a small dog surrounded by a large spiked dog collar with the tagline “American Consumers Deserve a Financial Watchdog. Not a Big Bank Lapdog”. It urges readers to visit www.DefendYourDollars.org to learn more and contact their representatives.
To view the advertisement, please click here.
The letters, sent to members of both the House and Senate, address the pitfalls of the three bills passed last week by the House Financial Services Committee that would hamstring the CFPB’s ability to rein in abusive financial practices. One bill would replace the CFPB’s director with a five-member commission, bogging down the bureaucratic structure, while another bill would make it easier for a panel of financial regulators to reverse actions of the new agency. A third bill would prevent the agency from using its new authority in July unless it is led by a Senate-confirmed director, a move that would unduly politicize and delay the operations of the CFPB.
The House Financial Services Committee’s approval of the bills followed a pledge by 44 Senators to vote against any nominee to head the CFPB unless the President agreed to similar changes that would ultimately limit its ability to protect consumers.
“As we have seen from our most recent economic downturn, strong consumer protection is essential for a strong financial system. Congress should stand with consumers, not the big banks and Wall Street firms…We strongly urge you to oppose these bills,” Bloom writes in the letter.
For more information on Consumers Union’s efforts to support the CFPB, see www.DefendYourDollars.org
David Butler or Kara Kelber: 202-462-6262; or Michael McCauley: 415-431-6747, ext 126