Financial Reform Bill Update
By Consumers Union on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
S. 3217 and HR. 4173 have passed their respective houses the differences in the two bills must be worked out in a committee of selected Senators and Representatives. This conference committee will be working in the coming days to merge the Senate and House bills into one. A lot of good can happen, or a lot of bad can happen here.
There are good reforms in both bills, and we want to make sure the best of each are in the final version – and hopefully more. And we need to fight back against those lobbyists who are angling for every loophole they can get as committee members hammer out a final bill.
Here are the main points Consumers Union and consumer activists are fighting for:
No special loopholes: Auto dealers are among those trying to be exempted so the loans they make aren’t scrutinized. Car dealers steer customers to high-interest loans when customers actually qualify for lower rates – costing Americans an estimated $20 billion annually in overcharges. Loopholes aren’t fair and weaken all oversight.
A more independent watchdog: This new bureau will protect consumers when it comes to rotten financial schemes. But it needs an independent source of funding and real authority so it can do its job right. It shouldn’t be funded by industry – we know where that can lead!
End speculative bank investing: Known as the ‘Volcker rule,’ this is vital if we’re to stop the gambling with our investments. It would prevent banks from making risky investments if they’re not on behalf of customers; prevent them from investing or owning hedge funds or private equity funds; and limit the debt the largest banks could hold. Banks should be banks, not casinos.
Ask your congressmen to be a champion of financial consumer protections and urge their colleagues for the strongest bill possible to come out of the conference committee.
After the bill is reconciled it must return to both houses for final passage so keep up the pressure on your Senators and Representative.
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