Consumers Union Urges Congress to Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as House Holds Hearing on Financial Watchdog

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Consumers Union Urges Congress to Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as House Holds Hearing on Financial Watchdog

WASHINGTON – As the House Committee on Financial Services prepares to hold an oversight hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, urged lawmakers to support the CFPB and abandon efforts to defund and pare back the abilities of the agency before it even begins its work.

“Congress made clear its intent to create a watchdog with the responsibility to make the financial marketplace safe for consumers. Without this bureau to look out for the interests of consumers, we would be putting American families at risk — and the country’s economic recovery at risk — by reducing oversight of predatory lending and deceptive banking practices,” said Pamela Banks, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union.

Elizabeth Warren, Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scheduled to testify at the hearing, which will also address the CFPB’s involvement in the home mortgage and foreclosure markets.

The CFPB was established as part of the financial reform package signed by President Obama last year. Beginning in July 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be charged with identifying and stopping unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the sale and delivery of financial services to consumers. The CFPB will have the responsibility to keep the rules governing financial service products up-to-date and to respond to consumer complaints.

Consumers Union has outlined an agenda for the CFPB to address a number of issues when it is fully operational, including policing mortgage abuses, protecting consumers against credit report mistakes, extending consumer safeguards to prepaid cards and other new forms of payment, and reining in problem debt collectors.

More information about today’s House Financial Services Committee hearing to discuss Oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is available on the committee’s web site: http://financialservices.house.gov/

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Contact: David Butler, Kara Kelber: 202-462-6262 or Michael McCauley: 415-431-6747, ext 126