September 6, 2011
and Oppose Efforts to Weaken New Consumer Watchdog
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers Union is urging the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and to oppose efforts to undermine the new watchdog. Cordray is scheduled to testify today before the Senate Banking Committee, which is holding a hearing on his nomination.
“Richard Cordray is an excellent choice to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “He is an experienced leader committed to promoting a fair and safe financial marketplace with a record for tough but even-handed enforcement of the law. Cordray has the experience and know-how to help ensure that the CFPB will be a watchdog consumers can depend on to protect them from financial scams and rip-offs.”
Cordray’s confirmation hearing is taking place at a time when 44 Senators have pledged to oppose any nominee for the post until changes are made that would weaken the CFPB’s ability to protect consumers. These Senators are pushing legislation that would make it easier for other financial regulators to nullify new CFPB rules, politicize the watchdog’s budget by subjecting it to the appropriations process, and create more bureaucracy by replacing its director with a five-member commission.
“It’s time for Congress to set aside politics and confirm Richard Cordray so the CFPB can fully protect consumers,” said Banks. “Holding up this nomination may be good for the big banks and shady lenders, but not for the families whose finances are drained by high-cost loans and other unfair financial practices.”
The CFPB was created by the Wall Street reform law passed by Congress last year and is working 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.
Consumers Union issued a national poll in July that found that the CFPB enjoys broad support from nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers. 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%).
David Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kara Kelber (email@example.com) 202-462-6262; Michael McCauley (firstname.lastname@example.org) 415-431-6747, ext 126