Attorney General Josh Shapiro Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Reject Anti-Consumer Legislation that Favors Big Financial Institutions

June 7, 2017 | Topic: Consumers

“Financial Choice Act” Would Gut Critical Consumer Protections Adopted in Wake of Financial Crisis

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced he helped lead a national coalition of state attorneys general urging the U.S. House of Representatives to reject anti-consumer legislation so he can better protect Pennsylvanians.

As the House prepares to vote on the Financial Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), Attorney General Shapiro believes the legislation would roll back many critical protections adopted in the wake of the financial crisis that harmed large numbers of Americans. Most troubling, the bill 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.

“Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data allows us to better protect Pennsylvania consumers who invest their savings in banks and financial institutions,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians need more protection from financial institutions that prey on them, not less. This bill makes it harder to protect Pennsylvanians and I strongly oppose it. I urge Congress to reject H.R.10.”

Click here to read the letter.

In a joint letter to congressional leadership, the Attorneys General urged the House to oppose H.R. 10 and to maintain the CFPB, an effective advocate for the rights of consumers and an effective partner for the states in rooting out consumer abuses.  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.

H.R. 10 would cripple the CFPB by limiting or eliminating its enforcement and rulemaking authority over industries plagued by consumer abuse.  For example, the Act would prohibit the CFPB from continuing to regulate the payday loan industry.  Payday lending has adversely impacted the lives of millions of low-income Americans across the country.

“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 Attorneys General wrote in the joint letter to Congress. “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.”

In addition to Attorney General Shapiro, the joint letter to Congress was signed by 19 other Attorneys General:

Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General
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
Peter F. Kilmartin, Rhode Island Attorney General
T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General
Mark Herring, Virginia Attorney General
Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General
Stephen H. Levins, Executive Director of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection.

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