The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is arguably the financial industry’s most effective watchdog. It has returned nearly $12 billion to 27 million Americans defrauded by the financial services sector, including payday lenders, credit card companies, and mortgage brokers.1
So it’s not surprising opponents are trying every trick in the book to throw a monkey wrench into the CFPB’s successful work in protecting consumers from their fraud and abuse. The financial industry’s friends in Congress recently held a farcical hearing about the “constitutionality” of the office. But as Congressman Keith Ellison rightly pointed out, “It’s not about the Constitution. That’s a subterfuge.”2
Tell Congress: the CFPB has saved millions of Americans from financial fraud. Leave it alone to do its work!
The mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is simple. In the words of Rep. Keith Ellison:
“When financial firms rip you off, the CFPB gets your money back.”3
The brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, it was created in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 to ensure that banks and mortgage lenders could never again engage in the kind of unchecked fraud that helped create the Great Recession and put thousands of people out of their homes.
In just a few short years, the CFPB has:
- Created new mortgage rules requiring lenders to verify borrowers’ income and ability to re-pay their loans, as well as discouraging teaser rates, JUMBO loans, and other so-called “exotic mortgages” that led to some of the worst abuses of the housing crisis.4
- Forced Citibank to offer $700 million in compensation after deceiving customers into buying unwanted credit card “add-ons.”5
- Uncovered Wells Fargo’s scam of illegally opening more than 2 million fraudulent accounts and forcing the company to pay a combined $185 million in fines.6
With success like that, no wonder the financial services industry wants to hobble the CFPB. But we can ensure it can continue to do the necessary work of protecting American consumers. The GOP’s abandonment of its plan to kill the Affordable Care Act shows that when enough people like you speak up in defense of vital programs, opponents in Congress think twice.
Tell Congress: The CFPB is a rousing success. Oppose any efforts to undermine it.
1. TIME Money, “This Lawmaker Just Gave the Perfect Defense of a Consumer Watchdog the GOP Is Trying to Kill,” March 21, 2017.
4. TIME Money, “The CFPB Turns 5 Today. Here's What It's Done (and What It Hasn't),” July 21, 2016.
6. MSNBC, “CFPB uncovers Wells Fargo scheme, scores major win for consumers,” September 12, 2016.