Tomorrow marks one hundred fifty days since Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger committed to quickly filling the nation’s top student loan watchdog position—a role that has been vacant for almost a year. As student debt nears $1.6 trillion and predatory practices plague the market, the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund (AFREF) are releasing a roundup of failures by the current CFPB Director to stand up for student loan borrowers.
“Credit reports and credit scores play a critical role in the economic lives of Americans. They are the gatekeeper for affordable credit, insurance, rental housing, and sometimes unfortunately even a job. Yet they suffer from unacceptable rates of inaccuracy. This package would enact a sea change that would make the American credit reporting system more accurate and fairer to consumers.”
“An effective consumer financial protection agency saves families billions of dollars a year, and makes their economic lives more secure. It fights lending discrimination, and shuts down tricks and traps” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “Unfortunately, the evidence keeps piling up that the current leadership at the agency is focused on rolling back protections and enabling bad financial actors to rip people off. It is so important that members of Congress continue pressing the CFPB to live up to its consumer protection mandate and fulfill its basic responsibilities, as the House has in passing the Consumers First Act today.”
As part of the Fair Arbitration Now (FAN) coalition, AFR sent a letter in support of Rep. Green’s amendment to the Consumers First Act, which would restore the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule that was repeated by a Congressional Review Act resolution in 2017.
The Proposal—a plainly outcome-driven, 47-page exercise in grasping for straws—has offered no reasonable basis to rescind that Rule. Based on a distorted focus on the Rule’s “dramatic impacts” on lenders’ ability to engage in a predatory practice, rather than on the need to protect consumers, the Proposal claims that the evidence must somehow be “more robust.” If the Rule requires significant changes for payday and vehicle title lenders, it is because the harm to consumers is dramatic. The Bureau’s new approach would ignore its consumer protection mandate and require the agency to hesitate when consumer harm is the most severe.
On March 7, 2019, AFR Education Fund and 25 organizations submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the need for strong consumer protections for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. Read or download a pdf version of this letter
“If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have dealt with constant harassment from debt collectors, you’re going to be dismayed, because the proposed rule expressly authorizes more ways to harass you,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform.
On March 7, 2019, AFR Senior Policy Counsel Linda Jun offered testimony at a hearing entitled: “Putting Consumers First: A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” before the House Financial Services Committee.