Jersey Journal

Asks U.S. Senate To Take 2 Actions For Consumers, Says Letter Writer

The Jersey Journal — Friday, September 2, 2011

By Letters to the Editor / The Jersey Journal

Consumers finally have cause to celebrate. On July 21, the landmark Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) became the nation's chief consumer financial oversight agency! The implementation of this part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act represents a historic step toward protecting average Americans from the deceptive and dangerous banking practices recognized as a one of the primary causes of the 2008 financial crisis. The celebration will be short lived if the efforts by Republicans in Congress to dilute the agency's effectiveness are successful. The GOP threatens to oppose any nomination for a director unless the Bureau's authority is weakened. The House of Representatives Bill 1315 (H.R. 1315), which passed on July 21, would handcuff the CFPB and give discredited banking regulators the power to block needed protections.

New Jersey Citizen Action joins a diverse group of consumer, business, civil rights, labor and community organizations in urging the Senate to reject H.R. 1315 and to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Bureau immediately.

The CFPB's sole purpose is to protect consumers. It will not tolerate risky and harmful banking products and services that offer only short-term benefits and extensive risk to consumers and that are designed strictly to maximize lender profits. The CFPB must have very strong independent leadership.

Elizabeth Warren, the respected Harvard law professor, assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury hired by President Obama to create the CFPB, was widely endorsed as the best candidate for the job as director of the CFPB. Unfortunately, Professor Warren was viciously attacked and vigorously opposed by an anti-reform faction in Congress.

New Jersey Citizen Action was extremely disappointed that opposition to Elizabeth Warren's appointment prevailed, but is delighted that President Obama has managed to nominate another highly qualified candidate for the position. Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, has been tapped for the job and he comes with a strong endorsement from Warren.

Despite Cordray's qualifications, his confirmation by the Senate is not guaranteed. Shockingly, 44 Republican senators pledged earlier this year that they would not confirm any nominee unless the Bureau's powers were first gutted. After the economic collapse in 2008, Congress did not hesitate to ask taxpayers to bail out the banks. Yet, it wasn't until 2010 that they finally enacted legislation to protect consumers from a repeat of that economic disaster.

We must contact our senators to insist that they defeat H.R. 1315 and that they confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ASAP!


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