National Survey Shows Majority of Americans Favor Financial Reform
April 12, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
A majority of Americans (59 percent) believe that the President and Congress need to reform the financial sector now, according to a new poll by the Pew Financial Reform Project.
Overall, the poll indicates that there is still a lot of anger, frustration, and confusion about financial reform among Americans. Fifty-three percent of respondents believe the economy is in poor shape, 44 percent believe that another financial crisis will happen within the next three years, and though generally supportive of financial reform only 10 percent report knowing a lot about current legislation.
Forty-three percent of respondents said that creating jobs should be Congress' top priority, followed by making Wall Street repay bailout money (42 percent), preventing another financial crisis (37 percent), and reforming the financial system (27 percent).
"Americans understand that their jobs and personal economic situations are closely tied to the overall health and well-being of the financial sector," said John E. Morton, managing director of Pew's Economic Policy Group.
Although very few of the respondents know a lot about current financial reform legislation in Congress, respondents generally support specific provisions once they know what they are. The most popular proposal is one that would require financial institutions to give consumers better information about home loans and credit cards. Solid pluralities of respondents also supported tougher regulations (35 percent) and preventing banks from trading in stocks and bonds for their own benefit (37 percent).
The poll also highlights the enormous strain the financial crisis and the economic downturn has had on many Americans. Nearly half (46 percent) of voters have lost their own job, have had a family member lose a job, or had a close family or friend lose a job because of the financial crisis.
The Leadership Conference and its coalition members are working to ensure that financial reform contains real consumer protections. The groups are calling for a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would be established to protect consumers from discriminatory and predatory lending practices.