Over the past two years, dozens of Chicago region consumer and community organizations called their legislators, participated in and convened roundtable discussions, signed on to letters, and went to Washington to call for real financial reform. They sent a clear message to Illinois legislators–the patchwork consumer protections that failed to prevent the foreclosure crisis and allowed widespread abuse in the consumer credit markets cannot continue.
While the bill is not perfect, it creates, for the first time, an independent agency dedicated to ensuring that consumers’ interests are protected. Homeowners struggling because of job loss, illness, or other hardship will be eligible for help with their mortgage. Mortgages will subject to important new anti-predatory lending protections. And regulators and the public will be newly empowered with data that will allow them to make sure financial institutions are fulfilling their commitments to their communities.
“it is very hard for anyone to be rewarded for preventing a low-probability disaster. Had the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in the early 2000s rather than lowering them, it might have averted the financial collapse in 2008 and the ensuing global economic crisis. But we wouldn't have known that. All that people would have seen was a recession brought on by high interest rates. Officials bear the political costs of preventive measures but do not receive the rewards.”
L’Minggio’s story illustrates why it is so important that all automobile financing must be regulated by the consumer protection agency proposed by the House and Senate as part of the larger financial reform packages, regardless of whether that loan is made by a bank, credit union, or auto dealer. Woodstock opposes any exemptions for auto dealers from the consumer protections and regulations that will be issued by a new federal consumer protection agency.
Please sign on to the letter below by Wednesday June 9 at 12:00 CDT and tell House and Senate conferees that we need real and effective reform that protects Main Street, not a bill weakened by carve-outs and special interest loopholes.
Contact Tom Feltner at email@example.com or 312-268-0310 to sign on.
These are the kind of sobering statistics that experts presented to more than 100 representatives from community, research, financial, regulatory, and government groups at “Beyond Foreclosures: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Wealth Gap and Economic Opportunity.” Indeed, a staggering number of consumers lack sufficient access to banking services that would help them build wealth, do not have opportunities to build a positive credit history, and must resort to the costly and stigmatizing process of bankruptcy.
Click below to see photos from the conference.
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.
Call 202-224-3121 or click here to contact your senator about the following issues:
Independent and Effective Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA)
The Senate has placed the consumer protection agency under the auspices of the Federal Reserve and made it subject to review, consultation and veto from the bank regulatory agencies. We need a strong consumer agency to protect communities and consumers against abusive lending and other financial products.
This amendment, to be offered by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during the floor debate on the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217), would restore to the states the ability to enforce interest rate caps against out-of-state lenders. By doing so, it would level the playing field so that local lenders such as community banks, local retailers, and credit unions no longer are bound by stricter lending limits than national banks and credit card companies.