West Virginians fight Attacks on CFPB by Big Wall Street Banks Group Calls on Congress to Protect Consumers from Wall Street

Updated 1 year ago Edited from a Press Release

Charleston,  WV  ––  Calling on Senator Manchin, Senator Capito, and Congressman Mooney to protect consumers from Wall Street's attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, U.S. PIRG launched the “West Virginia Campaign To Defend the CFPB”.

"We are urging Senator Manchin to continue protecting the CFPB and consumers against attacks by big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders,” said Woody Little, Campaign Organizer with U.S. PIRG. “While Congressman Mooney and Senator Capito have sided with Wall Street at the expense of consumers in the past, we are urging them to join this effort as well.”

WV Citizen Action Group and National Association of Social Workers WV Chapter are also part of the campaign, which aims to highlight the CFPB’s numerous successes and the growing threats against it.

“The CFPB has bipartisan support from voters because it works for consumers, so we need to follow the money to understand these attacks in Congress,” said Alexandra Gallo, Development Director at WV Citizen Action Group. “We’re calling on Senator Manchin, Senator Capito, and Congressman Mooney to stand with West Virginia consumers, not donors on Wall Street.”

The CFPB was created by Congress after the economic collapse to serve as a watchdog for consumers and reduce the risk of another collapse.

The CFPB's successes for consumers include the following:

• The CFPB has already returned nearly $12 billion to over 27 million consumers by holding companies accountable companies for breaking the law.

• Among its numerous actions is a record $100 million penalty and consumer restitution against Wells Fargo for millions of fake, fraudulent consumer accounts created by its employees.

• Additionally, the CFPB's website hosts a complaint database that has processed over 1 million complaints, and it provides educational resources to make important financial decisions.

• 1725 complaints from West Virginia have been published in the database.

Attacks against the CFPB include:

• Changing its leadership structure - The agency is currently headed by a single director, Richard Cordray. There are efforts to change the structure to a commission of five people. Getting Richard Cordray confirmed was a long uphill battle. Getting five people confirmed would be even more difficult, possibly leaving the agency unable to fully function. Or the five seats could be stacked in favor of the industry it is meant to rein in. We have seen both scenarios at other agencies.

• Changing its source of funding - The CFPB is currently funded independently through the Federal Reserve. Every banking regulator has had independent funding, since 1864. Why? To protect the economy from the politicization of banking policies as much as possible. There is an effort to bring the CFPB's funding under Congressional appropriations approval – this means Congress could starve it to death so it wouldn't be able to do its job because the lobbyists dominate those funding decisions.

• Stall the CFPB's current rulemaking - The CFPB is currently working on rules that would protect consumers from payday debt traps and forced arbitration. Forced arbitration is used to prevent consumers from banding together and joining class action lawsuits to seek justice when they are wronged by financial companies. There are efforts to hamstring the CFPB's work on these rules.

“We urge West Virginians to contact our members of Congress to make sure our voices don't get drowned out by the big Wall Street banks and other financial companies like payday lenders,” said Sam Hickman, Executive Director of The National Association of Social Workers WV Chapter. “The CFPB is the first and only agency that works only for consumers. That’s why special interests want to defang it and that’s why it must be protected.”

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