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NCLR: Congressional Vote to Strip Consumer Protections, Financial Oversight Is Reckless

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) expressed deep concern with the passage of H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act of 2017,” a bill that would strip vital consumer protections and weaken accountability measures put in place following the financial crisis of 2008. Years of unregulated and reckless behavior by financial institutions led to a national financial crisis that cost millions of Americans their jobs, resulted in billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts and trillions in lost retirement savings. Among the hardest hit were Latinos, who between 2005 and 2009 had their median household wealth fall by 66 percent.

The devastating and widespread effects of the crisis led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has in less than six years helped curb deceptive practices, brought transparency to financial processes and put protections in place to help consumers. A recent NCLR poll conducted by Latino Decisions demonstrated overwhelming support for the CFPB and tougher federal regulations over the financial industry. The vast majority (81 percent) of Latino voters polled believe that financial companies would be more likely to take advantage of consumers if the government has fewer rules on banks, credit card companies, payday lenders and mortgage companies.

“Today’s vote in favor of Wall Street and against the interests of Main Street is a reckless move by the Republican-led House that will put our economy at risk for another financial crisis. Rather than looking out for hardworking Americans, House Republicans are taking us back to an era when many Americans, including millions of Latinos, were preyed on by unscrupulous lenders, and families were left in financial ruin,” said Lindsay Daniels, Associate Director of Economic Policy, NCLR.

Among the most harmful provisions of the bill are those that seek to undercut the CFPB, such as rescinding their rule making and enforcement authorities as it relates to payday loans and undercutting their authority to stop unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices in consumer finance. The bill also proposes to the eliminate the agency’s independence by making the director of the CFPB removable at will by the president.

“Eliminating financial protections, transparency and oversight over financial institutions with a history of abusing and exploiting consumers is irresponsible. We are hopeful that the Senate will see this proposal for what it is—a threat to the financial well-being of the middle-class and a free pass for the institutions that helped precipitate the financial crisis,” Daniels concluded.

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