Business Owners Call on Senate to Approve Consumer Financial Protection Agency

For Immediate Release

Business for Shared Prosperity
Contact: 

Shonna Carter or David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000

Business Owners Call on Senate to Approve Consumer Financial Protection Agency

US Women's Chamber of Commerce, American Business Leaders for Financial Reform, Small Business Owners Nationwide Call for Strong CFPA

WASHINGTON - As the Senate
considers financial reform, business owners and executives across the nation
organized by Business for Shared Prosperity are calling for a strong, independent
Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to safeguard businesses, consumers
and the American Dream.

"Special interests
lobbying against the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency don't speak
for the business community," said small business owner Lewis Prince, CEO
of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis.
"Politicians love to point out that most new jobs are created by small
business. They should listen to the business owners who didn't wreck the
economy and want real reform to prevent a repeat."

Business for Shared
Prosperity, a nationwide network of business owners, executives and investors,
is releasing a statement signed by hundreds of business people supporting a
strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). Signers thus
far include U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman, American
Business Leaders for Financial Reform Chairman Tim Duncan, American Made
Alliance Founder Wendy Rosen, Atlanta Women in Business Founder Lya Sorano,
American Income Life Insurance CEO Roger Smith, Seventh Generation Chairman
Jeffrey Hollender, Main Street Alliance National Network Director Sam Blair,
and small business owners from Alaska to Florida, Washington State to
Washington DC.

"Our members have
been hit hard by the continuing crisis in business and consumer lending,"
said U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Dorfman. "Some were forced out
of business. Others can't get the credit they need to hire new workers or buy
material even with orders in hand. Small business owners who used their home equity
to secure business loans risk losing both their homes and their businesses. We
cannot let those whose risky, deceptive practices destroyed so many jobs and
businesses, kill the reforms designed to prevent the next calamity."

The statement, which will
be delivered soon to Congress and the White House, says, "The financial
crisis has demonstrated the need for a new independent federal agency to
promote financial product safety and establish clear, enforceable rules of the
road. Business owners and consumers need full and fair disclosure of the costs
and risks of financial products and services. Those pushing misleading products
with hidden risks undercut lenders offering sound mortgages and other
credit... A Consumer Financial Protection Agency will expose unsafe
products and services and encourage accountability and fair competition. It
will help ensure we do not repeat the reckless practices we are paying dearly
for today."

A newly released survey
of more than 1,200 small business owners from 13 states by the Main Street Alliance
found that 67 percent of respondents support the creation of a CFPA; less than
12 percent oppose it. More than two out of three survey respondents agreed, "Congress
should pass strong financial reforms ... to ensure accountability on Wall
Street, promote fair access to credit for small businesses, and prevent another
collapse."

Tim Duncan, Chairman of
American Business Leaders for Financial Reform, whose members include senior
financial executives, said, "Passage of the CFPA will help the financial
services industry get back to innovating in ways that will truly benefit
consumers, the economy and the industry itself. We need to consider the
long-term growth of financial services and avoid the mindset that can't see beyond
the next quarter's results. Community bankers have realized for years that
their own success is based on helping their customers build successful
businesses, borrow wisely, save, and invest prudently for the future. By
putting the best interest of our consumers first, the industry will benefit in
the long run." 

"Small
businesses
have borne the brunt of this crisis, and Wall Street has gone back to
fiddling
- and handing out massive bonuses - while the Main Street economy keeps
burning,"
said Brian Radford, owner of HK on the Bay in Virginia Beach and a
leader with the Virginia Main Street Alliance. "Wall Street dug the
ground
right out from under us, and they'll do it again if we let them. That's
why we
need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to go to bat for consumers,
including small businesses and the customers we rely on."

Atlanta Women in Business
Founder Lya Sorano said, "It has long amazed me that we have recourse
avenues for failed car brakes and defective baby cribs, but have had to muddle
through reams of fine print in incomprehensible disclosure statements to try
and find out whether a new credit card offer is good for us or not, and then
have nowhere to turn when, too late, we know the truth."

For the full statement and a list of current signers: http://www.businessforsharedprosperity.org/Financial%20Reform

The Main Street
Alliance financial reform survey
is available at http://mainstreetalliance.org/wordpress/home/publications/mspp-financial-reform/

To arrange interviews with business people
around the country, contact Shonna Carter or David
Lerner at Riptide Communications 212.260.5000.

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