Ensuring the Cops are on the Consumer Beat to Remedy, Punish and Deter Violations that Harm Consumers
The widespread abuse and exploitation of financial consumers causes massive harm and contributes to economic injustice, as predators often target under-privileged communities. Financial fraud also contributes to financial instability and crisis, as illustrated vividly during the 2008 crash. It served as a key ingredient of the 2008 crisis, as millions of fraudulent mortgages and other investment products provided the fuel for a near-total economic meltdown. While there were many consumer protection laws on the books, they were largely unenforced, neglected, or ignored by the financial regulatory agencies, particularly the Federal Reserve, but also the OCC and others. The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) to correct those failures and ensure that protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices was the only priority for a federal agency. Better Markets fights to ensure financial consumers are protected by analyzing and commenting on the CFPB’s rule proposals—usually to counter fierce opposition from industry—and pushing for strong enforcement. The CFPB has shown what a dedicated regulator can accomplish for consumers by returning more than $12 billion to more than 27 million Americans ripped off by financial institutions and predators.