Wednesday, July 20, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) prepares to open its doors for the first time Thursday, a new poll released today by Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, found that the new financial watchdog enjoys broad support from nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers.
Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union said, “With the opening of the CFPB, consumers now know that they have a watchdog on their side to make sure that financial companies are following the law and providing accurate and honest information. Americans clearly feel that the CFPB is needed to keep big banks and lenders in check, as our poll found that a majority of consumers support the CFPB and its mission to be a ‘cop on the beat’ that protects consumers from deceptive and dangerous practices.”
Respondents believed that the CFPB’s top priorities should be holding financial companies accountable if they break the law (88%); strengthening and enforcing rules against deceptive and unfair practices by banks, credit card companies, and other lenders (86%); and, requiring that mortgage and other documents for financial products be easier for consumers to understand (85%).
The CFPB was created by the Wall Street reform law passed by Congress last year and will work to make sure financial companies provide consumers with the information they need to understand the true costs and risks of different financial products. It has been charged with identifying and stopping unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices and keeping the rules governing financial service products up-to-date.
The financial watchdog officially opens on Thursday as opponents of the bureau in Congress continue to work to weaken the mission of agency.
“You cannot forget what got us to this point. American families have already suffered the effects from years of lax federal oversight of abusive financial practices. This poll makes it clear that consumers don’t want this watchdog put on a short leash,” said Banks.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey using a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,012 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over July 14-17, 2011. The sampling error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
For a copy of the poll, please contact Consumers Union’s David Butler or Kara Kelber at 202-462-6262.