Thursday, December 8, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Opponents of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the Senate today succeeded in preventing a vote on the confirmation of Richard Cordray to head up the new financial watchdog. Senate leaders were unable to break a filibuster organized by a group of lawmakers who refuse to consider Cordray?s nomination until changes are made to the CFPB that would weaken its ability to protect consumers.
?Richard Cordray?s nomination is being held hostage by lawmakers who seem intent on undermining this vital new watchdog for consumers,? said Pamela Banks, senior counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. ?Today?s vote makes it clear who is standing with consumers and who is standing with the big banks and Wall Street.?
The CFPB was created by the Wall Street reform law passed by Congress last year and is working to make sure financial companies provide consumers with the information they need to understand the true costs and risks of different financial products. It has been charged with identifying and stopping unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices and keeping the rules governing financial service products up-to-date.
Opposition to the nomination is preventing the CFPB from exercising its full powers to protect consumers. Without a director, the CFPB is not able to exercise its authority to oversee non-bank financial institutions like payday lenders, debt collectors, check cashers and certain mortgage lenders who target vulnerable consumers, according to a report by the Treasury Department?s Inspector General. In addition, the report indicates that the CFPB cannot exercise its authority to require model disclosure forms that ensure fees for financial services are disclosed fairly and accurately unless it has a director. Likewise, its ability to prohibit unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices is limited without a director.
It's no wonder there?s so much cynicism about Washington these days,? said Banks. ?Americans spent billions of dollars to bail out the big banks and now the agency that was created to protect consumers from unfair financial practices is under attack by some lawmakers in Congress.?
Contact: David Butler or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262 or Michael McCauley, 415-431-6747, ext 126 (office) or 415-902-9537 (cell)