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WASHINGTON -- As the Senate Banking Committee begins a scheduled confirmation hearing for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director nominee Kathy Kraninger, U.S. PIRG and 103 other groups representing consumers, small businesses, students, and workers, released an online video on Twitter and Facebook about the current state of the CFPB.
The nomination of Kraninger, who lacks a track record protecting consumers in the financial marketplace, follows troubling actions by the Bureau under Mick Mulvaney’s interim directorship, including:
announcing its intention to reconsider and delay its payday lending rule.
dropping its lawsuit against four online lenders it had accused of deceiving consumers by collecting debts not legally owned.
considering hiding its consumer complaint database from public view.
If the next CFPB director continues the Bureau’s trajectory under Mr. Mulvaney, as documented in numerous articles, we can expect a slow-down in consumer protections at the Consumer Bureau over the next few years.
“What you might be missing from the bad headlines is that the ability of the Consumer Bureau to protect consumers is largely still intact. That’s thanks to Americans voicing their concerns to Congress for the last seven years and making sure that enough senators block efforts funded by Wall Street to strip the Bureau of its ability to protect consumers,” Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Campaign Director, explains in the video.
Some highlights of the CFPB’s first seven years include:
Returning $12.4 billion to more than 31 million consumers cheated by illegal practices conducted by credit card and mortgage companies, banks, debt collectors, and others.
Processing more than 1.5 million consumer complaints across the country. Many of these complaints are published in the public database.
Taking more than 180 legal actions against companies that broke the law, such as when Wells Fargo was caught creating millions of fake accounts.
Creating special offices to protect students, seniors, servicemembers and persons at risk of unlawful discrimination.
Posting guides on its website to help consumers make important financial decisions, including shopping for a home, taking out a loan, or planning for retirement.
The video points out that the long-term threat to consumers isn’t whoever sits in the director’s chair -- it’s Congress, which has introduced more than a dozen bills designed to weaken or even get rid of the agency. Although this legislation hasn’t passed on its own, anti-CFPB legislators are trying to sneak these provisions into budget bills.
“As long as we keep a filibuster in the Senate, a future director who believes in the Bureau’s mission will still be able to carry that mission out. The Consumer Bureau will be able to keep Wall Street in check and ensure a fair and transparent marketplace for consumers and businesses alike, and without their hands tied behind their back. So let’s keep speaking up,” Litt said, to conclude the video.
U.S. PIRG is a non-partisan, non-profit consumer organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at uspirg.org.
U.S. PIRG is a founding member of Americans for Financial Reform, the coalition that helped enact the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that created the CFPB and other reforms and continues to defend them. The latest AFR poll (Jan 2018) shows strong bipartisan support for continued Wall Street oversight and a strong Consumer Bureau.
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