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Rep. Gabbard Votes Against Predatory Lending Legislation

January 19, 2018, 7:30 AM HST (Updated January 18, 2018, 5:42 PM)
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Photo courtesy of the Office of Representative Tulsi Gabbard.

Hawai‘i Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted against legislation that would unravel protections against discriminatory lending and weaken fair housing laws. H.R. 2954, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act, exempts the vast majority of lenders from releasing data used to identify and prevent discrimination against low-income and minority Americans. This legislation passed by a vote of 243-184.

H.R. 2954 is opposed by numerous civil rights, fair housing, consumer, and community organizations, including the Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development, Hawai‘i Community Assets, NAACP, National Urban League, AFL-CIO, Consumer Action, Public Citizen, Center for American Progress, Center for Responsible Lending, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Urban League and the Equal Rights Center.

Congresswoman Gabbard said:

“It’s been nearly ten years since the livelihoods of hard-working families watched their life savings get wiped out and millions of Americans lost their homes – all because of risky, predatory lending practices and overgrown “too big to fail” banks. In spite of the heartache, pain, and devastation of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress voted today to unravel key protections put in place to prevent this kind of crisis from happening ever again —setting working families up to once again take the fall for irresponsible lenders.

“The ongoing recovery today in our most vulnerable communities calls for strengthening our nation’s fair lending laws – not dismantling them. Yet this is exactly what H.R. 2954 does by undermining the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and other protections put in place to increase transparency and prevent another crisis like 2008. Even as the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks are even bigger today, this bill would nearly quadruple the number of banks exempted from key mortgage disclosure requirements and open the door for mortgage lenders to prey on at-risk communities who were hardest hit by the 2008 financial crisis.

“After 2008, both Democrats and Republicans agreed that we could never let such destruction and chaos happen again. Protecting the American people from another such crisis is the responsibility of Congress. I oppose this bill because it creates greater risk for them, not less.”

Jeff Gilbreath, Executive Director, Hawaiian Community Assets, said:

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“H.R. 2954 again puts the people of Hawai‘i and across the country at greater risk of foreclosure, echoing the financial crisis when unscrupulous mortgage brokers cashed in on the backs of American families. This information is critical to prevent discrimination against Native Hawaiians and other populations that suffered the most in 2008. Congress needs to do its job and ensure fairness and equality for all Americans no matter their race, ethnicity, or anything else.”

Brent Kakesako, NCRC Board Member, Hawai’i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development, said:

“We believe in the importance of maintaining data practices that ensure all families here in Hawai’i, particularly low- and moderate-income families, are not subject to predatory lending and have access to mortgages to purchase homes.”

Background:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long-supported true financial reform, including a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, and increased capital requirements for the nation’s largest banks. She has supported legislation like the Return to Prudent Banking Act, which would reinstate provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act to keep investment banking separate from commercial banking, as well as preventing too-big-to-fail banks from engaging in speculative trading.

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