Civil Rights and Consumer Advocates Applaud Strong Protections in Final Financial Reform Legislation
June 25, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Civil rights and consumer advocates are hailing the final financial reform legislation that emerged today from the House-Senate conference committee.
"The House-Senate conference report on the financial reform legislation represents a historic achievement in the fight to protect consumers from the abusive and predatory Wall Street practices that brought our country to the brink of financial collapse and – along with it – cost countless American families their homes, their jobs, their savings, and their financial security," said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The conference committee was tasked with the daunting challenge of reconciling differences between the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed bill. The final bill includes some of the strongest consumer protection provisions in decades and is expected to set up a regulatory structure that will serve consumers well in the future.
"This bill represents meaningful progress from the depths of our financial crisis – reforms that were unthinkable three years ago. The forces of the big banks were all aligned against Americans yet Main Street was able to win important battles," said Heather Booth, director of the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), a broad coalition of civil rights and consumer advocates that includes The Leadership Conference.
A critical piece of the legislation for the civil and human rights community creates a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with broad regulatory powers to protect consumers from abusive lending practices that contributed to the current economic meltdown. The bureau will include a civil rights office focused exclusively on fighting discriminatory lending.
"For years, Wall Street has operated like a casino for the benefit of a greedy few," said Zirkin. "It's time to padlock the casino doors."
The Leadership Conference and its allies in the AFR coalition have been working with Congress for months to ensure that the final bill includes the strongest protections for consumers and effective regulation to hold Wall Street accountable.
The House and the Senate are expected to vote on the final legislation next week. The bill will then go to President Obama for his signature.