Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
AG HERRING JOINS COALITION OF 20 AGs URGING HOUSE TO REJECT ANTI-CONSUMER LEGISLATION
~ "Financial Choice Act" Would Gut Critical Consumer Protections Adopted in Wake of Financial Crisis ~
RICHMOND (June 8, 2017)-As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Financial Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a coalition of 20 Attorneys General urging House leadership to reject the blatantly anti-consumer legislation that would roll back many of the critical protections adopted in the wake of the financial crisis that harmed so many hard-working Americans. Most alarmingly, it would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the independent consumer watchdog established as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
"This proposal would roll back the clock and leave millions of Virginians unprotected from abusive, deceptive, and illegal business practices that too often victimize seniors, veterans and military families, and financially vulnerable Virginians," said Attorney General Herring. "The CFPB has been an important partner for my team and me as we work to protect Virginians and put money back in their pockets. I will continue to fight on behalf of Virginians and urge Congress not to cut the legs out from under this important consumer watchdog."
In a joint letter sent to congressional leadership, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues urge the House to oppose H.R. 10 and to maintain the CFPB, which has proven to be a very effective advocate for the rights of consumers and an effective partner for state attorneys general in rooting out consumer abuses. Attorney General Herring has partnered with the CFPB to bring multiple enforcement actions including against a business accused of abusive practices towards veterans and military families, and to protect seniors from financial exploitation.
Since its creation, the CFPB has achieved some remarkable results, handling more than one million consumer complaints, and obtaining $11.8 billion in relief for 29 million consumers. It has also taken enforcement actions to stem abuses by student loan originators and servicers, for-profit schools, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, payday lenders, and foreclosure rescue companies, among others.
The Act would effectively cripple the CFPB by limiting or eliminating its enforcement and rulemaking authority over industries rife with consumer abuse. For example, the Act would prohibit the CFPB from continuing to regulate the payday loan industry. Payday lending, as extensive research has documented, has adversely affected the lives of millions of low-income Americans across the country. The Act would strip the CFPB of all authority over payday lending, including its enforcement authority and the ability to adopt sensible and common sense rules to prevent consumers from falling into debt traps that are often the result of payday loans.
"The proposed Act will eliminate many of the critical consumer protections implemented as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of, and in response to, the financial crisis," the Attorney Generals wrote. "As the chief consumer protection officers in each of our respective States, we write to call your particular attention to those portions of the Act that would effectively eviscerate the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the only independent federal agency exclusively focused on consumer financial protection. The undersigned Attorneys General support the work of the CFPB and oppose any effort to curtail its authority."
"A rollback of these significant post-financial crisis rules and regulations would substantially harm consumers and the public in general," the Attorneys General conclude.
The letter was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and signed by a total of 20 Attorneys General, also including Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General; George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General; Matthew Denn, Delaware Attorney General; Karl A. Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General; Doug S. Chin, Hawaii Attorney General; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General; Janet T. Mills, Maine Attorney General; Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General; Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General; Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General; Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General; Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General; Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General; Peter F. Kilmartin, Rhode Island Attorney General; T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General; Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General; and Stephen H. Levins, Executive Director of Hawaii's Office of Consumer Protection.
The CFPB often works with Attorney General Herring's recently reorganized Consumer Protection Section which works to educate Virginians on scams, fraud, and their rights as consumers. During Attorney General Herring's administration, his Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $200 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators.
# # #