Defend the Consumer Bureau

STANDING UP FOR CONSUMERS IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETPLACE—For more than 20 years, Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski has helped us stand up against big banks and credit card companies.

A Consumer Cop On the Financial Beat

You work hard for your money. You should be able to save, invest and manage your money without fear of being trapped, tricked or ripped off by the institutions you are trusting with your financial future. 

That’s why we need strong consumer protections on Wall Street. And from the 2008 economic collapse, we know how big of an impact those institutions can have on our economy when they play fast and loose with our money. It made it clear: Americans need a watchdog agency on Wall Street, devoted to creating and enforcing fair, clear and transparent rules to protect consumers. 

So in 2010, we helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to be our consumer cop on the financial beat.

The CFPB Gets the Job Done

Despite the fact that the CFPB is not widely known, they’ve been hugely successful at working for consumers, returning nearly $12 billion to more than 29 million people who were ripped off by companies that broke the law … in just six years. 

The CFPB holds big banks, debt collectors and lenders accountable. Here are a few examples of some of the cases the CFPB has taken on to protect consumers:


When American Honda Finance used discriminatory pricing to rip off African-American, Hispanic and Asia/Pacific Island borrowers who paid too much for car loans, the CFPB returned $24 million to these consumers.


The Department of Justice and 47 states joined the CFPB in a $216 million action against JP Morgan Chase Bank for illegal debt collection practices affecting over half a million Americans.


When it was discovered that Wells Fargo employees were opening unauthorized debit and credit accounts using their customer's information, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for fraud.


The CFPB fined Equifax and TransUnion — two of the three largest credit reporting agencies — $5 million for selling inflated credit scores to consumers that were different from ones actually used by lenders and returned $17 million to those harmed by the deception.

In addition, the Consumer Bureau has helped level the financial playing field, educating veterans, senior citizens, new homeowners, college students and low-income consumers on how to keep their finances secure.

The Consumer Bureau's success should be earning it applause in Washington. Yet instead of cheering on the Consumer Bureau, the Trump administration and some members of Congress are pushing to weaken or even get rid of it. 

Tell Your Senators: Stand Up For Consumers

We can keep our consumer cop on the financial beat — but only if we can convince enough senators to stand up and be counted as Consumer Champions, and stop any bad bills that try to roll back or eliminate consumer protections.

Even with the Consumer Bureau on the job, many Americans are still at risk of reckless financial practices that threaten their homes, their retirement savings and their overall well-being. That’s why we don’t simply need the CFPB to exist: We need to make it even better, by strengthening commonsense consumer protections. 

In the wake of the Great Recession, we helped spearhead the creation of the Consumer Bureau. Now, we need your help to stand up for consumer protection once again, and defend the CFPB from those who would weaken or eliminate it.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Financial Reform

Efforts continue to make climate change a financial regulatory priority | Ed Mierzwinski

Half the country faces fire and wind, the other half wind, rain and flood. Despite nay-saying from some members of Congress, the Biden administration's financial regulators continue to make the global climate change crisis a financial regulatory priority. 

Cover graphic by Ron Mader via Flickr, some rights reserved.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Consumer Advocates Urge Court to Block Use of Findings of Unlawful Trump-Era CFPB Taskforce

Democracy Forward, the attorneys for U.S. PIRG, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Professor Kathleen Engel, filed a motion for summary judgement Friday in U.S. Court in our lawsuit against the Trump-era CFPB's so-called Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

U.S. PIRG supports FTC antitrust case vs. Facebook

We're supporting the FTC's re-filing of an antitrust complaint against Facebook.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Federal Reserve changes to debit card rules will help competition | Ed Mierzwinski

We're supporting regulatory changes proposed by the Federal Reserve to clarify that certain debit card routing practices by banks are "inconsistent" with the 2010 Durbin amendment's requirement that merchants be given at least two routing choices unaffiliated with the Visa or Mastercard payment networks. Choices are pro-competition and pro-innovation and would lower costs to merchants and, ultimately, prices to consumers.  And isn't "inconsistent" perhaps another way to say "against the law?"

Cover graphic by frankieleon via Flickr, some rights reserved

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Consumer Advocates Urge Court to Block Use of Findings of Unlawful Trump-Era CFPB Taskforce

Democracy Forward, the attorneys for U.S. PIRG, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Professor Kathleen Engel, filed a motion for summary judgement Friday in U.S. Court in our lawsuit against the Trump-era CFPB's so-called Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

U.S. PIRG supports FTC antitrust case vs. Facebook

We're supporting the FTC's re-filing of an antitrust complaint against Facebook.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

New report: the hidden costs of peer-to-peer payment apps

Consumer complaints about peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps such as PayPal, Venmo and Square have surged during the pandemic year. In April, there were 970 digital wallet complaints — almost double the previous monthly high from July 2020. PIRG Education Fund analyzed this growing problem for a new analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) Consumer Complaint Database.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

PIRGs Join 300+ Groups To Urge Congress To Rescind "Fake Lender Rule"

The state PIRGs and  U.S. PIRG joined 300+ consumer, faith and civil rights groups urging Congress to rescind a "fake lender" midnight regulation, which would allow predatory lending, even in 18 states and the District of Columbia where usury caps protect over 110 million consumers. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Statement: Credit bureaus need to do more than extend free weekly credit reports for another year

Our statement in response to the announcement by the Big Three credit bureaus that they would extend weekly free credit reports for another year in response to the pandemic. They can and  should do much more.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Reforming Wall Street

U.S. PIRG’s campaign to win historic Wall Street Reform was recognized by The Hill newspaper as one of the Top 10 lobbying victories of 2010, which wrote that, “[c]onsumer advocacy groups like the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumer Federation of America won big with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.” In addition, we worked to ensure the confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the CFPB, ensuring that the new agency had the power to carry out its mission.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Virtual Wallets, Real Complaints

New report documents consumer complaints to the CFPB about digital wallets and peer-to-peer (P2P) apps.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Analysis: CFPB Complaints Surge During Pandemic, Led By Credit Report Complaints

For the fifth consecutive month, consumer complaints to the CFPB set a new monthly complaint volume record in July, according to an analysis by U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group. This snapshot focuses on spikes in complaints about credit reporting. While credit reporting complaints have always been among the leading complaint categories, during the pandemic the total number of credit reporting complaints has surged by 86 percent. As a percentage of overall complaints, they accounted for 65 percent in July, compared to 54 percent in February.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Putting Consumers First

U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action have released a report recommending that  CFPB should use the full extent of its authority to take immediate action to strengthen its consumer complaint tool, hold companies accountable for providing complete and timely responses to consumers, and leverage consumer complaints related to the pandemic to support oversight and regulatory action to protect consumers.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Positioned To Protect

With the CFPB under new management less interested in consumer protection and law enforcement, our new report highlights steps states, counties and cities are taking to protect consumers better. Coincidentally, the report was completed on the same day that the U.S. Senate confirmed Kathy Kraninger to a 5-year term as CFPB director. She replaces her mentor, the OMB director Mick Mulvaney, who has been serving as acting CFPB director for just over a year.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Debt Collectors

Report: Our latest report based on the CFPB's public Consumer Complaint database reviews the most-complained about debt collectors. Funny, a new CFPB complaint "snapshot" does not. The report comes as the CFPB's acting director threatens to make the database non-public. If the CFPB both shuts down the public database and continues to issue industry-friendly reports that don’t give out any real information, the public and marketplace harm is even greater.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Financial Reform

Efforts continue to make climate change a financial regulatory priority | Ed Mierzwinski

Half the country faces fire and wind, the other half wind, rain and flood. Despite nay-saying from some members of Congress, the Biden administration's financial regulators continue to make the global climate change crisis a financial regulatory priority. 

Cover graphic by Ron Mader via Flickr, some rights reserved.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Federal Reserve changes to debit card rules will help competition | Ed Mierzwinski

We're supporting regulatory changes proposed by the Federal Reserve to clarify that certain debit card routing practices by banks are "inconsistent" with the 2010 Durbin amendment's requirement that merchants be given at least two routing choices unaffiliated with the Visa or Mastercard payment networks. Choices are pro-competition and pro-innovation and would lower costs to merchants and, ultimately, prices to consumers.  And isn't "inconsistent" perhaps another way to say "against the law?"

Cover graphic by frankieleon via Flickr, some rights reserved

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Will Executive Order Slow The March of the Mega-Banks? | Ed Mierzwinski

President Biden's recent Executive Order on promoting competition in the economy includes several specific recommendations on improving competition in the financial sector. It proposes that the CFPB give consumers more choices by giving them control of their financial data. It proposes that regulators strengthen oversight of bank mergers, which for years have been routinely rubber-stamped. While it doesn't specifically address the payment system oligopoly that raises the prices everyone pays, lowering swipe fees is also a logical outcome of the EO.

Cover photo of the Marriner Eccles Federal Reserve Building, Washington, DC by Rafael Saldaña via Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

House to take key vote to protect consumers today | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the U.S. House takes a key vote. HR2668, the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, would restore the FTC's Section 13(b) authority to hold wrongdoers accountable and compensate consumer-victims harmed by their actions. The Supreme Court had recently ruled that the power, used for over 40 years to recover billions, was not clearly articulated in law.

Cover photo via Flickr by Mr. Blue MauMau, some rights reserved.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

Half the country faces fire and wind, the other half wind, rain and flood. Despite nay-saying from some members of Congress, the Biden administration's financial regulators continue to make the global climate change crisis a financial regulatory priority. 

Cover graphic by Ron Mader via Flickr, some rights reserved.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Democracy Forward, the attorneys for U.S. PIRG, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Professor Kathleen Engel, filed a motion for summary judgement Friday in U.S. Court in our lawsuit against the Trump-era CFPB's so-called Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

We're supporting the FTC's re-filing of an antitrust complaint against Facebook.

Blog Post

We're supporting regulatory changes proposed by the Federal Reserve to clarify that certain debit card routing practices by banks are "inconsistent" with the 2010 Durbin amendment's requirement that merchants be given at least two routing choices unaffiliated with the Visa or Mastercard payment networks. Choices are pro-competition and pro-innovation and would lower costs to merchants and, ultimately, prices to consumers.  And isn't "inconsistent" perhaps another way to say "against the law?"

Cover graphic by frankieleon via Flickr, some rights reserved

Financial Reform

Congressional override finally bans anonymous shell companies

From terrorist financing to Medicare fraud, anonymous shell companies have shielded the identities of wrongdoers and served as financial getaway cars for hiding dirty money. But in a historic override of a presidential veto, Congress has outlawed anonymous shell companies in the United States.

 
View AllRSS Feed

DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

Support Us

Your donation supports U.S. PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code



U.S. PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.