Sentinel

Holt Advocates Wall Street Reform Bill In South River

Sentinel — Thursday, July 22, 2010

BY VINCENT TODARO
Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER — Rep. Rush Holt (D- 12th District) joined small business owners and consumer advocates in the borough July 12 to discuss how the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will affect them.

The bill, passed by the House on June 30 and expected to receive Senate approval, would create a new consumer financial protection agency charged with preventing the types of abusive lending practices that led to the economic collapse, preventing taxpayerfunded bailouts of financial giants, and restoring accountability to Wall Street.

"For a decade, no one was looking over the shoulders of the big-bank CEOs and unscrupulous hedge fund managers who created and peddled untested, worthless or fraudulent money-making schemes," Holt said.

"The result was the biggest economic meltdown in three-quarters of a century. Once enacted into law, this bill would help prevent those kinds of abuses. New Jersey's consumers and small businesses have been waiting for years for these kinds of reforms," he said. Holt advocated for the creation of a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which is included in the final bill. The bureau would act as an independent watchdog with the ability to identify abusive practices in the marketplace and to act quickly on behalf of consumers. The bureau, Holt's office said, would help ensure that Americans are not victimized by deceptive practices and hidden fees, and that consumers will have accurate information when they shop for credit cards and mortgages. This bureau would operate a hotline to report unfair practices.

Additionally, the reforms would protect homebuyers from some of the predatory lending practices that contributed to the financial meltdown of 2008, a fact highlighted by Stefanie Rubin of New Jersey Citizen Action.

"Overall, these are just common-sense rules for the financial industry to abide by," Rubin said. "Rules like 'no gambling for your account with our money' and 'you have to tell the truth about the mortgage you are giving someone.'These reforms will help to put consumers back in control and hold Wall Street accountable for the reckless casino-style gambling that led to 8 million Americans losing their jobs."

Small-business owners were on hand to support the proposal, including Anita Thomas, director of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company in Union and owner of the A.M. Thomas & Associates consulting firm. Thomas likened the proposed new bureau to a "new cop on the beat" to protect consumers and businesses.

"I'm very pleased to be here today with Representative Holt and would like to thank him for his leadership in supporting financial reform," Thomas said. "With the passage of the financial reform bill, Main Street is sending a long overdue message to the financial industry: It's not OK for you to take advantage of us and then leave us to clean up your mess."

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