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Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) Contact: Kirstin ... - page 2 / 11

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INDEPENDENT CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AGENCY

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency will have the sole job of protecting American consumers from fraud and abuse and will ensure people get the clear information they need on loans and other financial products from credit card companies, mortgage brokers, banks and others.

American consumers already have protections against faulty appliances, contaminated food, and dangerous toys. With the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, they’ll finally have a watchdog to oversee financial products, giving Americans confidence that there is a system in place that works for them not just big banks on Wall Street.

Why Change Is Needed: The economic crisis was driven by an across-the-board failure to protect consumers. When consumer protections are handled by regulators whose primary responsibility is to safeguard the profitability of the companies they regulate, consumer protections don’t get the attention they need. The result has been unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices being allowed to spread unchallenged, nearly bringing down the entire financial system.

The Federal Reserve is the primary consumer protection rule-writer, but it has repeatedly failed to act despite repeated demands from Congress. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for consumer protections for non-bank finance companies, but lacks the authority and capacity to examine them.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency

  • Consumer Protections in One Place: Consolidates consumer protection responsibilities currently handled by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Independent: Led by a 5 member board with an independent director. The Chairman of the Financial Institutions Regulatory Administration will have a seat on the board.

  • A Watchdog with Real Teeth: Unites rule-writing, supervision, and enforcement for consumer protection in a single, stand-alone agency with broad authority to investigate and react to abuses as they develop.

  • Able to Act Fast: With this agency on the lookout for bad deals and schemes, consumers wont have to wait for Congress to pass a law to be protected from bad business practices.

  • Educates: Creates a new Office of Financial Literacy.

  • Regulates Shadow Banking Industry: Levels the playing field for insured banks by regulating the shadow banking industry, such as mortgage brokers and payday lenders, for the 1st time and ensures that companies offering customers the same products receive the same regulatory treatment.

  • Accountability: Makes one agency accountable for consumer protections. With many agencies sharing responsibility, it’s hard to know who is responsible for what, and easy for emerging problems that haven’t historically fallen under anyone’s purview, to fall through the cracks.

  • Tougher State Laws: Allows states to pass tougher consumer protections that apply to all lenders, preventing federal regulations from preempting stronger state laws.

  • Works with Bank Regulators: Coordinates with other regulators when examining banks to prevent undue regulatory burden.

  • Bases Supervision on Risk: Focuses resources on companies that pose the biggest risk to consumers

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      mortgage bankers, brokers, finance companies and the largest institutions.

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