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Ali Jost, (202) 730-715
Marcus Mrowka, (202) 730-7759
White House Plan to Cleanup Wall Street, Stabilize Economy & Protect Consumers Is Strong First Step
In Tough Fight Ahead, Need to Push for Accountability and Transparency of Fed, Greater Voice for Front-Line Financial Workers
WASHINGTON - June 17 - Today, Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer of the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) and a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, issued the following statement in response to the White House's fiscal reform plan.
"The White House plan is a significant first step towards reforming and holding accountable a financial system whose irresponsible, risky practices have destabilized our economy and devastated millions of hard working families.
"We have seen first-hand the impact of an out-dated regulatory system that failed to curb the reckless actions of so many financial institutions, pushing millions out of work, driving others out of their homes, and draining retirement savings. From heightened accountability and transparency to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency-the White House proposal would update the regulatory system so that it meets the needs of an increasingly complex financial landscape whose overall health is ever more connected to the lives of everyday Americans.
"Despite this strong move by the White House, we must be on guard for a big fight with the financial industry and its lobbyists, who continue to try to dilute and nullify real financial reform. As the debate moves forward, we need a more robust program to stem home foreclosures. And we need to ensure that the Federal Reserve's operations become more transparent and accountable to the interests of working families and to public officials.
"SEIU-joined by a growing coalition of labor, consumer, and civil rights groups-will not back down until we build a regulatory system that restores stability and economic fairness. The stakes for American families and the long-term health of our economy are far too great.
"Likewise, in order to ensure that reforms truly protect consumers, SEIU believes we need to complement regulation from above with regulation from below. If mortgage brokers, loan officers, personal bankers, credit-card associates and other bank workers had protections and incentives to stand up and sound the alarm on dangerous practices, we would not be in the same financial mess we are today. Moving forward, it will be critical to pass whistleblower protections so front-line financial workers can speak up and stop predatory practices before they lead to large-scale economic crisis."
Buttressing the White House's efforts to overhaul the U.S. financial regulatory system, yesterday, SEIU helped to launch Americans for Financial Reform, a diverse coalition dedicated to giving workers, consumers and communities a real voice in this debate and a fighting chance to clean up Wall Street. In coming weeks, SEIU will continue working with the White House and other partners to pass a fiscal reform package that provides real protections for consumers and strengthens the U.S. economy over the long-term.