Treasury’s Financial Regulation Report: A Wall Street Wish List

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

This week the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report to the president that outlines recommendations to rollback critical safeguards, including consumer protections that were put in place in the wake of the Great Recession. The Treasury report comes less than a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation that would deregulate financial institutions and expose our entire economy to a heightened risk of instability.

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The Treasury’s proposals are straight from a Wall Street wish list, as the proposals effectively  gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The proposals would render the CFPB useless at accomplishing its sole mission—protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the financial marketplace—and include:

  • Eliminating CFPB’s supervision.
  • Dismantling CFPB’s independent structure.
  • Removing CFPB’s independent funding.
  • Destroying CFPB’s public complaint database.

These recommendations are not surprising given the Department’s lopsided engagement process. As of June, fewer than 15 consumer advocates, including NCLR, participated in the engagement process by meeting with the Department and commenting on financial regulation, compared to nearly 250 industry and trade groups who gave their input on the proposals. Clearly these recommendations favor Wall Street and do not reflect the perspectives of consumers. If adopted, these recommendations would prove harmful not only to Latinos, but to all American consumers.

A new poll by NCLR and Latino Decisions shows clear support among Latino voters for tougher consumer protections and trust for an independent agency that can regulate financial institutions.

  • Four in five (81%) Latino voters believe that financial companies would be more likely to take advantage of consumers if the government has fewer rules on banks, credit card companies, payday lenders, and mortgage companies.
  • Four in five (81%) Latino voters agree that financial companies should be held accountable with tougher rules and enforcement.
  • A majority of Latino voters (72%) trust an independent consumer protection agency to oversee banks and make sure that the financial industry is honest with the public. This is a deep contrast to the number of Latino voters that believe that the financial industry can receive adequate oversight from the president (24%), the banks themselves (42%), or Congress (43%).

These poll results demonstrate an unequivocal rebuke among Latinos to rollback critical financial protections. As with the Financial CHOICE ACT, Treasury’s recommendations are harmful to consumers as well as our economy and should be rejected.

For more information about the importance of consumer protection for Latinos, please visit us at nclr.us/protectingconsumers.

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