Happy Sixth Birthday, CFPB!

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy, UnidosUS

Today, UnidosUS joins the consumer advocacy community as we celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The crippling effects of the financial crisis led to the creation of the CFPB, which we view to be one of the most important accomplishments of Wall Street reform. Six years ago, we made the argument that consumer protection is a civil rights issue––and we feel the same way today.

Since opening its doors, the CFPB has already curbed several unfair and deceptive practices in the financial marketplace. Over these last six years, the CFPB brought transparency to the remittance industry, stopped credit card companies from adding on products that consumers never agreed to, and required mortgage lenders to ask applicants for proof of their income before making home loans to ensure that homeowners can afford them. Just last week, the CFPB issued an important final rule that restricts forced arbitration, giving consumers a way to unite and hold corporations accountable for systemic misconduct. And we are waiting for the issuing of the final rule on payday loans, which will help curb the predatory lending that drains wealth from our communities.

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CFPB’s New Consumer Protection: Restrict Forced Arbitration

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy, UnidosUS

The same week we announced our new name—UnidosUS—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule that prohibits financial contracts from having forced arbitration clauses with class action bans. In effect, the new rule restores the right of consumers to come together in court by prohibiting class action bans, giving consumers a way to unite and hold corporations accountable for systemic misconduct.

Forced arbitration is a rigged system. Often, forced arbitration requires consumers to take a dispute to a private arbitrator chosen by the company, rather than exercise their right to have their complaint heard before a court. Given the association between the company and the arbitrator, forced arbitration causes considerable unfairness to consumers.

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Treasury’s Financial Regulation Report: A Wall Street Wish List

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

This week the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report to the president that outlines recommendations to rollback critical safeguards, including consumer protections that were put in place in the wake of the Great Recession. The Treasury report comes less than a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation that would deregulate financial institutions and expose our entire economy to a heightened risk of instability.

The Treasury’s proposals are straight from a Wall Street wish list, as the proposals effectively  gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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Latinos Overwhelmingly Support Consumer Protection

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

In less than six years since opening its doors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has brought transparency to the remittance industry, stopped credit card companies from adding on products that consumers never agreed to, and required mortgage lenders to ask applicants for proof of their income before making home loans. Its creation is one of the most important accomplishments of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Despite the CFPB’s hard work on behalf of American families, efforts are underway to dismantle the agency. One such attempt is the “Financial Choice Act of 2017,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s vehicle to de-regulate the financial industry and dismantle the CFPB.

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Flashback Friday: The Payday Rule

By Marisabel Torres, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

What a difference a year has made for consumers. A year ago today, consumer advocates celebrated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s release of a proposed rule to reign in the worst abuses of payday, car title, and other high-cost debt trap lending schemes. For too long, predatory businesses targeted communities of color and other consumers who had limited access to credit with loans and promises of quick cash to help make ends meet. Because these businesses have been unregulated, they have gotten away with charging exorbitant fees and structuring their loan products to keep consumers in a cycle of debt. After hearing the countless experiences from consumers who were victims of these debt traps, the CFPB, an agency that was established with the sole mission of keeping the financial marketplace transparent and fair, stepped in and proposed a rule to stop these harmful practices.

Fast-forward to today: Congress stands poised to not only roll back the CFPB’s ability to regulate these businesses, but the very existence of the CFPB is threatened by an upcoming vote on the Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10. This legislation—dubbed the WRONG Choice Act by consumer advocates—will undo years of positive regulatory work intended to make sure payday lenders and other bad actors stay off the market, and that we don’t face the same conditions that led to the Great Recession.

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