For Immediate Release

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New Consumer Agency Will Keep Wall Street in Check

Statement of David Arkush, Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

WASHINGTON - For too long, financial regulators have been too cozy with the
financial services industry that they were supposed to be overseeing.
Moreover, not a single federal agency focuses primarily on consumer
protection for credit products. Lenders have run amok, writing their
own rules and creating a maze of unfair and predatory products that
have harmed consumers and destabilized the economy. The lack of
oversight and regulation, along with Wall Street’s unchecked greed,
drove this country into its current financial crisis. Americans deserve
an agency that will put their financial well-being ahead of the
short-term profits of a few Wall Street banks.

The president’s proposal to create a new Consumer Financial
Protection Agency (CPFA) will add much needed oversight of an industry
that has run wild at great expense to consumers and homeowners.

While the proposed agency is welcome news, we must ensure that it is
strong and effective. Congress must give it the resources it needs to
be successful and must ensure that it is independent of the industry it
will regulate.

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Finally, although the president’s proposal is strong, there are key
areas in which it should be improved. If the president and Congress are
serious about ensuring that the new laws are enforced, they should give
consumers the ability to enforce their own rights in court - not depend
on government regulators to protect them. We look forward to working
with Congress and the administration to ensure passage of the strongest
possible consumer protection agency.

 

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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