The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


Program Director

Proposed Consumer Agency Will Protect Against Another Economic Collapse

“Armies” of Bank Lobbyists Oppose It


In testimony before the House
Financial Services Committee
on Thursday, U.S. Public Interest Research Group praised
the centerpiece of the Obama administration's plans to reform the
financial regulatory system.

to a packed hearing, U.S.
PIRG's Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski,
said he strongly endorses
the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

and their armies of lobbyists are opposing the new consumer agency and
defending the status quo," noted Mierzwinski, who has been advocating on
the behalf of consumers for three decades.

the real reason that the economy collapsed is because no agency was responsible
for protecting consumers so companies sold them risky products," he

PIRG strongly supports the proposed agency in part because of its underlying
principles of "independence, its recognition that federal law should
always serve as a floor of protection and not a ceiling, and its shared
enforcement with states" in shielding consumers from predatory lending
and other fraudulent practices by financial businesses, Mierzwinski said in his

other pro-consumer proposals by the Obama administration include new investor
protections and limits on executive compensation policies. "But if the
administration wants to give the Federal Reserve increased responsibilities as
a systemic risk regulator it must democratize it first." Mierzwinski had
a number of other suggestions to improve other parts of parts of the Obama plan
as well.

creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the other reforms
"are necessary to reform our collapsed financial system and inoculate it
against further catastrophic events," Mierzwinski added.

download Mierzwinski's complete testimony, click here.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.