Business

Attorneys General Denounce Anti-Consumer Legislation

June 8, 2017, 11:36 AM HST
* Updated June 8, 11:39 AM
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As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Financial Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general urging U.S. House leadership to reject the anti-consumer legislation.

H.R. 10 would gut critical consumer protections adopted in the wake of the financial crisis that harmed so many hard-working Americans. Most alarmingly, it would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent consumer watchdog established as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

“I’m proud to join Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins in fighting to protect Hawai‘i consumers, even when the federal government won’t,” Attorney General Chin said.

“The CFPB has been doing a great job protecting consumers from illegal financial conduct,” Executive Director Levins said. “As drafted, the Choice Act will undermine its ability to continue to do so.”

In a joint letter sent to congressional leadership, the attorneys general urged the House to oppose H.R. 10 and maintain the CFPB, which has proven to be an effective advocate for the rights of consumers and an effective partner for the states in rooting out consumer abuses.

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Since its creation, the CFPB has achieved remarkable results. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the CFPB has handled over one million consumer complaints, and obtained $11.8 billion in relief for 29 million consumers. It has also taken enforcement actions to stem abuses by student loan originators and servicers, for-profit schools, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, payday lenders, and foreclosure rescue companies, among others.

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H.R. 10 would cripple the CFPB by limiting or eliminating its enforcement and rulemaking authority over industries rife with consumer abuse. For example, H.R. 10 would prohibit the CFPB from continuing to regulate the payday loan industry. Payday lending, as extensive research has documented, has adversely affected the lives of millions of low-income Americans across the country. H.R. 10 would strip the CFPB of all authority over payday lending, including its enforcement authority and the ability to adopt sensible and common sense rules to prevent consumers from falling into debt traps that are often the result of payday loans.

“The proposed act will eliminate many of the critical consumer protections implemented as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of, and in response to, the financial crisis,” the attorneys general wrote. “As the chief consumer protection officers in each of our respective States, we write to call your particular attention to those portions of the act that would effectively eviscerate the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the only independent federal agency exclusively focused on consumer financial protection. The undersigned attorneys general support the work of the CFPB and oppose any effort to curtail its authority.”

“A rollback of these significant post-financial crisis rules and regulations would substantially harm consumers and the public in general,” the attorneys general conclude.

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The letter was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State.

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