Published: February 2014

Limiting the CFPB’s power helps Wall Street, hurts consumers

The deceptively named bill, Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act (H.R. 3193), would replace the position of Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with a five-member commission, would change the voting standard for the Financial Stability Oversight Council from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority vote, and would make the agency subject to the congressional appropriations process rather than the current funding system through the Federal Reserve.

Consumer Action joined consumer advocates in urging members of Congress to oppose H.R. 3193, which seeks to make structural changes and limit the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was established as a centerpiece of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 and took over as the nation’s lead consumer financial regulator in July 2011. Since 2011 the CFPB has been doing its job of protecting consumers and establishing rules and guidelines so that markets will work in an open, transparent and fair way. Important new rules have been put in place, including new standards so that abusive mortgages like those that helped cause the financial crisis cannot return.

However, Washington has a very short memory. Even though we are still emerging from a foreclosure crisis that has affected tens of millions of American families, some in Congress are already pushing to weaken new rules designed, and implemented by the CFPB, to protect taxpayers and keep consumers safe from the faulty financial services that ruined the economy.

The White House issued a statement that openly criticized the bill, arguing that the proposed legislation "would significantly limit the agency's ability to respond effectively to the rapid changes in the dynamic consumer financial products and services market." In addition, "H.R. 3193 would subject the agency's funding to appropriations, dramatically undermining its ability to carry out consumer protections independent of political pressures."

Lead Organization

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)

Other Organizations

Action for the Common Good | AFL-CIO | American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) | Alliance for a Just Society | Americans for Financial Reform | Campaign for Fair Settlement | Center for American Progress | Center for Digital Democracy | Center for Economic Justice | Center for Popular Democracy | Center for Responsible Lending | Communications Workers of America | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumers Union| Demos | International Brotherhood of Teamsters | The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights| Main Street Alliance | NAACP | National Association of Consumer Advocates | National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) | National Council of La Raza | National Fair Housing Alliance | National Housing Resource Center | National People’s Action | National Urban League | New Economy Project | Public Citizen | Reinvestment Partners | The Greenlining Institute | U.S. PIRG | United Automobile, Aerospace &, Agricultural Implement Workers of America | Woodstock Institute

More Information

To view the full letter, please click here.

For more information, please visit AFR's website.

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