October 22, 2009
Washington, DC— The House Financial Services Committee today voted for a bill to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) by a vote of 39 to 29. The proposed agency, which is part of a larger financial overhaul developed by the Obama Administration and Congress this year, will now move to the full House floor for a vote.
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, has been an early advocate for stronger regulatory oversight to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial products and practices.
“Today’s committee vote does not come a day too soon for the millions of Americans who have been affected by a year of bad news and economic uncertainty,” said Pam Banks, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Making sure that consumers are protected from harmful financial products and practices is essential to safeguarding our economy and getting us back on track.”
The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency would ensure that credit; deposit and payment products and services are offered in a fair, sustainable and transparent manner. The CFPA would also create baseline federal consumer protection standards that would apply whether the product is offered by a big bank, small bank, or non-bank lender or other financial company. States would have some power to create and enforce new consumer protection standards.
As the bill moves to the House floor for a vote, Consumers Union urged lawmakers to resist calls from financial industry lobbyists to water it down with more exemptions, weakened powers for examination and enforcement, and more restrictions on the role of states in consumer protection. With respect to auto dealers, Consumers Union will work to make sure the final legislation extends to all lending activities by auto dealers.
“For years, do-nothing federal bank regulators stood by while risky financial products that triggered the mortgage meltdown grew and flourished,” said Hillebrand. “This bill rejects business as usual and creates real oversight of banks and lenders to protect consumers and help all of us get a fair deal.”
Kristina Edmunson or David Butler, 202-462-6262