Letter Opposing HR 10, The Wrong Choice Act

Submitted to all Representatives on Day of House Floor Vote
Last updated: 6/8/2017

This is our letter to all Representatives opposing HR 10, the so-called Financial Choice Act, on the House floor today. The bill is the Wrong Choice for consumers, investors, homeowners, taxpayers. It leaves the CFPB as an unrecognizable husk incapable of protecting anyone, including servicemembers and veterans. It also repeals most of the other prudential safeguards enacted in 2010 after the second-worst financial collapse in the nation's history, both brought on by reckless Wall Street practices.


Have proponents and supporters of the bill forgotten – or do they simply chosen to ignore -- that this September will mark only the 9th anniversary of the second-most extraordinary financial collapse in our nation’s history? Both collapses were driven by Wall Street greed and risk-taking. Millions lost homes, millions lost jobs, and millions more lost trillions in retirement income. Ordinary taxpayers were forced to step in and bail out Wall Street before Congress, nearly two years later and after careful study and debate, in 2010, finally enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to protect the rest of us. Its centerpiece, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is less than six years old yet has already recovered nearly $12 billion for over 29 million consumers harmed by unfair financial practices by Wall Street banks, predatory payday lenders, shady for-profit schools, mortgage companies, debt collectors and others.

Now, the House will vote on an ill-designed, dangerous proposal after just one Financial Services Committee hearing in April, that was so unbalanced that the ranking member was compelled to demand an additional minority hearing with ten additional witnesses the following day.

Harm To Military Families: Yesterday we released our 10th report analyzing some of the 800,000 complaints in the CFPB Public Consumer Complaint Database (the CFPB has to date collected over 1.1 million consumer complaints). The report “Protecting Those Who Serve,” is based on an analysis of over 44,000 complaints with military tags. It shows how the CFPB works to protect servicemembers, veterans and their families from the financial predators that “line up outside our military bases like bears on a trout stream” and from other unfair or deceptive practices such as illegal debt collection practices by many firms, including the massive Navy Federal Credit Union. In our view, enacting the Financial Choice Act will prevent the CFPB from protecting anyone, but especially prevent it from protecting servicemembers, veterans and their families.

As we explain in the report, the Pentagon has pointed out repeatedly that debt delinquencies and bad credit reports are a leading cause of servicemembers losing security clearances, which affects unit preparedness and the nation’s ability to field a force capable of defending the nation. As we point out here, the problem cannot be cured by simply deleting the subsection in the misguided Section 725 of HR 10 that makes CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs (and its offices for students and older Americans as well) “optional.” 

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