Passage of Wall Street Reform bill a major step forward

Written by Dory Rand on May 21, 2010 - 12:12pm

Woodstock Institute applauds the Senate for taking a bold stand on behalf of America’s consumers. The Restoring American Financial Stability Act passed last night lays the groundwork for a healthier financial system that will hold banks accountable, protect consumers, and be more transparent—and, ultimately, help prevent another devastating financial crisis.

Importantly, the Senate financial reform bill creates a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that will help our communities access safe and sustainable credit and avoid financial institutions’ tricks and traps. As Woodstock has noted for years, billions of dollars of wealth have been stripped from America’s families through high-cost and deceptive mortgages, payday loans, overdraft fees, and credit cards. Now, there will be an agency that will increase transparency and give consumers a fair chance to make the best financial decisions for themselves and achieve economic security.

In spite of intense pressure from financial institutions and special interests trying to weaken the bill and introduce carve-outs, the Senate largely held their ground. Although the bill is not perfect, it still creates for the first time ever an agency with the interests of consumers—not banks—as its top priority. As the bill goes to conference with the House, we encourage our leaders in Washington to resist attempts to weaken the bill and continue to strengthen it by creating an independent consumer financial protection agency, improving data transparency, and ending casino-style banking.