One of our movement’s accomplishments of which I’m proudest is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB has already dramatically improved the lives of millions of consumers, for example, through enacting and enforcing mortgage loan and servicing rules that protect homebuyers and homeowners in foreclosure, taking action against for-profit colleges that trap students in debt without providing quality education, and creating groundbreaking rules to protect consumers of products such as prepaid cards and payday loans. The CFPB has delivered over $5 billion in financial relief to over 15 million consumers who have been harmed by abusive and deceptive financial services. Consumers now have more information they can use to make sound financial decisions thanks to the CFPB’s efforts to improve disclosures for mortgages and student loans and expose consumers to financial education at critical points in their lives. Consumers in Illinois and across the country are getting a fairer shake because of the CFPB.
That’s why it’s so concerning to see the onslaught of attacks against the CFPB from this Congress. Legislators have proposed a long list of bills that would defund and defang the CFPB, making it harder to take action against financial services providers that strip wealth from consumers.
The House of Representatives passed one of these bills, H.R. 1195, last week. The deceptively-named “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act” contains a provision, added at the last minute, which would cut the CFPB’s budget. Cutting the CFPB budget would make it harder for the CFPB to carry out its critical mission, particularly since the CFPB’s budget is already capped by law.
I visited Washington, D.C., with a delegation of dozens of advocates from Illinois in March, urging our elected officials to support the CFPB and the work it does to help their constituents. While some of Illinois’ elected officials spoke out against H.R. 1195, we are disappointed that all of Illinois’ Republican Representatives voted for the bill. If this includes one of your representatives, please give them a call and let them know that you want them to support, not slash, the CFPB. The bill will now head to the Senate, and Senators Kirk and Durbin need to hear that you support the CFPB, too. In fact, most Americans overwhelmingly support the CFPB—even across party lines. Of people familiar with the CFPB, 85 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents, and 63 percent of Republicans expressed a favorable view of the agency.
While the CFPB has made considerable progress in leveling the playing field for consumers, there is still much work left to be done. We must ensure that future efforts to defund the agency, change its structure, or limit its regulatory authority are defeated. I urge you to encourage your elected officials to support a strong CFPB.