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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Schneiderman leads coalition urging House to reject 'anti-consumer' legislation

All WNY News     Wednesday, June 07, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS



NEW YORK—As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Financial Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of 20 Attorneys General urging House leadership to reject the anti-consumer legislation.

H.R. 10 would roll back many of the critical protections adopted in the wake of the financial crisis that harmed so many hard-working Americans. Most alarmingly, it would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the independent consumer watchdog established as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

"This legislation is just the latest effort by Washington Republicans to roll back common sense protections at the behest of industry lobbyists—and at the expense of everyday Americans. Congress must reject this regressive bill," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "If the federal government falls down on the job and fails to protect consumers, I won't hesitate to fill in the gap to help ensure that New Yorkers are not victimized by these abusive practices and products."

Click here to read the letter.

In a joint letter sent to congressional leadership, the Attorneys General urged the House to oppose H.R. 10 and to maintain the CFPB, which has proven to be a very effective advocate for the rights of consumers and an effective partner for the states in rooting out consumer abuses.  Since its creation, the CFPB has achieved some remarkable results. As of January 1, 2017, the CFPB has handled over one million consumer complaints, and obtained $11.8 billion in relief for 29 million consumers. It has also taken enforcement actions to stem abuses by student loan originators and servicers, for-profit schools, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, payday lenders, and foreclosure rescue companies, among others.

The Act would effectively cripple the CFPB by limiting or eliminating its enforcement and rulemaking authority over industries rife with consumer abuse.  For example, the Act would prohibit the CFPB from continuing to regulate the payday loan industry. Payday lending, as extensive research has documented, has adversely affected the lives of millions of low-income Americans across the country.  The Act would strip the CFPB of all authority over payday lending, including its enforcement authority and the ability to adopt sensible and common sense rules to prevent consumers from falling into debt traps that are often the result of payday loans.

"The proposed Act will eliminate many of the critical consumer protections implemented as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of, and in response to, the financial crisis," the Attorney Generals wrote. "As the chief consumer protection officers in each of our respective States, we write to call your particular attention to those portions of the Act that would effectively eviscerate the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the only independent federal agency exclusively focused on consumer financial protection.  The undersigned Attorneys General support the work of the CFPB and oppose any effort to curtail its authority."
"A rollback of these significant post-financial crisis rules and regulations would substantially harm consumers and the public in general," the Attorneys General conclude.

The letter was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and signed by a total of 20 Attorneys General, also including Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General; George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General; Matthew Denn, Delaware Attorney General; Karl A. Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General; Doug S. Chin, Hawaii Attorney General; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General; Janet T. Mills, Maine Attorney General; Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General; Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General; Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General; Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General; Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General; Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General; Peter F. Kilmartin, Rhode Island Attorney General; T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General; Mark Herring, Virginia Attorney General; Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General; and Stephen H. Levins, Executive Director of Hawaii's Office of Consumer Protection. 

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