By Greg Hinz
September 1, 2011
Three activist reform groups are stepping up pressure on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., to drop his opposition to naming a new national consumer-protection czar.
In a joint statement, the heads of the Woodstock Institute, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group and an official of the Chicago office of the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law are calling on GOP senators including Mr. Kirk to drop opposition to the nomination of Richard Cordray as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mr. Kirk and other Republicans have called for changes in the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau as part of an effort to tighten federal financial regulation after the 2007-08 market collapse. They generally argue that the new rules go too far and will crimp job creation.
But, in the statement, Illinois PIRG chief Brian Imus said Dodd-Frank is being "effectively gutted" by Mr. Kirk and others who refuse to approve any nominee without changes.
"Illinois consumers need an effective cop on the beat to enforce our consumer protections laws and prevent abuse by big Wall Street banks," Mr. Imus said. "That can't happen until a director is confirmed."
Added Woodstock President Dory Rand, "Financial products offered by non-bank financial institutions contributed to Illinoisans' economic distress. Clearly Illinois can't afford to wait any longer for strong consumer protections for high-cost payday loans, mortgages offered by independent brokers and prepaid cards."
Mr. Cordray, nominated by President Barack Obama, is up for a confirmation hearing by the Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 6.
Mr. Kirk's office had no immediate response.
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