Defending consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an essential part of financial reform. In order for this agency to run properly, the Senate should urgently confirm Richard Cordray as its director as soon as possible.

The Dodd-Frank law, which established a new regulatory framework for Wall Street after the 2008 collapse, is not strong enough to prevent a repeat of the financial bubbles that led to the Great Recession. However, one of the law’s best features was the creation of a consumer protection and education agency. This agency’s jurisdiction is limited to the non-bank financial sector, which nevertheless impacts hundreds of millions of consumers.

GOP lawmakers are against having additional financial regulation, more than the little that currently exists. They are refusing to confirm Cordray unless the agency is converted from an independent entity with a director into a bipartisan committee. Obviously, the idea behind this position is to create an agency without power or authority.

Until now, the opposition in the Senate has been successful in stopping this agency’s work, blocking the appointment of the director who has to establish its regulations.

Consumers were the main victims of the mortgage crisis, falling into the temptation of taking on debt they could not afford, losing their money and homes along the way. Others earned, like Wall Street got large revenues by selling those mortgages assumed by homeowners.

At that time, loan irregularities were public knowledge, but no one protected consumers or educated them about the dangers involved. We think a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could have intervened, the same way it can protect current and future consumers from predatory practices.

Let’s not forget the cause of the latest crisis and the impact it is still having on Americans. The Senate should confirm Cordray and prevent consumers from falling prey to other people’s greed.