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ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN— Calling on Representatives Bill Huizenga, David Trott, Mike Bishop, Justin Amash and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to protect Michigan consumers from Wall Street's attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, PIRGIM launched the “Michigan Campaign To Defend the CFPB” today.
”Representatives Bill Huizenga, David Trott, Mike Bishop, Justin Amash have sided with big Wall Street banks and other financial institutions at the expense of consumers. They have supported legislation that would keep the rules rigged against consumers. We are urging Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to continue protecting the CFPB and consumers against attacks by big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders.” said Ivana Bejaran, Lead Organizer with PIRGIM.
Ann Arbor Councilwomen Julie Grand and Councilman Chuck Warpehowski are also part of the campaign, which aims to highlight the CFPB's numerous successes and the growing threats against it.
The CFPB was created by Congress after the economic collapse to serve as a watchdog for consumers and reduce the risk of another collapse.
The CFPB's successes for consumers include the following:
- The CFPB has already returned nearly $12 billion to over 27 million consumers by holding companies accountable companies for breaking the law.
- Among its numerous actions is a record $100 million penalty and consumer restitution against Wells Fargo for millions of fake, fraudulent consumer accounts created by its employees.
- Additionally, the CFPB's website hosts a complaint database that has processed over 1 million complaints, and it provides educational resources to make important financial decisions.
- Seventeen thousand complaints from Michigan have been published in the database.
Attacks against the CFPB include:
- Changing its leadership structure - The agency is currently headed by a single director, Richard Cordray. There are efforts to change the structure to a commission of five people. Getting Richard Cordray confirmed was a long uphill battle. Getting five people confirmed would be even more difficult, possibly leaving the agency unable to fully function. Or the five seats could be stacked in favor of the industry it is meant to rein in. We have seen both scenarios at other agencies.
- Changing its source of funding - The CFPB is currently funded independently through the Federal Reserve. eEvery banking regulator has had independent funding, since 1864. Why? To protect the economy from the politicization of banking policies as much as possible. There is an effort to bring the CFPB's funding under Congressional appropriations approval – this means Congress could starve it to death so it wouldn't be able to do its job because the lobbyists dominate those funding decisions.
- Stall the CFPB's current rule making - The CFPB is currently working on rules that would protect consumers from payday debt traps and forced arbitration. Forced arbitration is used to prevent consumers from banding together and joining class action lawsuits to seek justice when they are wronged by financial companies. There are efforts to hamstring the CFPB's work on these rules.
“We urge Michiganders to contact our members of Congress to make sure our voices don't get drowned out by the big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders,” said Councilman Chuck Warpehowski, “The CFPB is the first and only agency that works only for consumers. That’s why special interests want to defang it and that’s why it must be protected.”
PIRGIM is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations 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 PIRGIM.org
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