By Amelia Collins, Policy Analyst, NCLR
The president proposed an ambitious student debt plan during the campaign last year. He called student loan debt an “albatross” hanging on the necks of borrowers, proposed a generous and streamlined repayment plan, and stated that the government shouldn’t “profit” off its student loan program. However, instead of using the first 100 days of his presidency to follow through on these promises, President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have rolled back crucial consumer protections for our nation’s 40 million student loan borrowers.
Let’s set the stage.
By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Wealth-Building Project, NCLR
The reckless behavior of financial institutions including banks, credit card companies, and mortgage lenders caused the 2008 financial crisis that cost Americans millions of jobs, billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, and trillions of lost retirement savings. A lack of consumer protections and oversight of the financial marketplace allowed unscrupulous lenders to target communities of color with unfair and abusive financial products. The Latino community was disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis and is still struggling to recover.
The devastating and widespread effects of the crisis led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which we view to be the crown jewel of Wall Street reform. In less than six years, the CFPB has already curbed several deceptive practices in the financial marketplace: bringing transparency to the remittance industry, prohibiting credit companies from adding on products that consumers never agreed to, and requiring mortgage lenders to ensure that applicants can afford the home loans they’re seeking. The CFPB is also working on putting protections in place that would rein in predatory payday loans and debt collection practices. Each one of these actions have helped put all Americans on a path to greater financial security.
By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to rehear a case, PHH Corp. vs. CFPB, that would have seriously weakened the efficacy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Last October, a three-judge panel attempted to make it easier to remove the director of the consumer agency, allowing the president to fire the director at will. The full federal appeals court decided that it will revisit the issue at a hearing in May, effectively scrapping this earlier decision, and allowing the CFPB’s structure to continue as Congress intended.
By Amelia Collins, Policy Analyst, NCLR
Photo: Roman Boed
Starting this week, the 115th Congress began work dismantling public protections for American workers, consumers, and families. NCLR has a history of being active in the regulatory process with significant success. This includes a final overtime rule that will benefit two million Latino workers, and a rule ensuring that retirement advisors make decisions in their client’s best interest. These rules will help millions of Latinos and other workers get more for their hard work.
So why would Congress want to eliminate these and other crucial protections? Well, some say that regulations cost the economy jobs and stymie growth. However, recent economic trends suggest otherwise:
- The economy is on a record of 75 consecutive months of job growth.
- Unemployment is down to 4.7% from a pre-recession peak of 10%, and wages are rising.
- Median household income increased in 2015 and poverty rates fell, with the Latino poverty rate being the lowest since 2006.
By Renato R. Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC circuit decided against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), making it easier to remove the director, who serves as head of the Bureau. If the decision stands, it will undermine what the CFPB was created to do in the aftermath of the Great Recession—protect consumers—since the director could be removed by the president without cause.
A challenge to the director’s authority is a challenge to CFPB itself. Since the CFPB opened its doors five years ago, it has become clear that the Bureau is exactly what consumers needed, and consumers overwhelming support its work. The CFPB now has authority to regulate a range of industries that previously lacked transparency, including remittance transfers, credit cards, student loan servicing, and payday loans. In order for the Bureau to continue its essential work on behalf of families, the CFPB needs to remain autonomous.