Six years after Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law, and five years after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors, a new bipartisan poll shows broad and overwhelming support for strong regulation of financial products and services in general, and for the mission and work of the CFPB in particular.

Ninety-six percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans regard financial regulation as important, according to the survey, which was conducted in June by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending.

Here are some of the poll’s other findings:

  • Three out of four voters support tougher rules to address the kind of reckless practices that caused the financial crisis; only 12 percent believe that Wall Street’s behavior has already changed sufficiently.
  • Nearly 60 percent of Americans still regard Wall Street as a threat to the economy; only 25 percent believe that government intervention has gone far enough or poses a threat to innovation or economic growth.
  • Seven out of ten voters (71%) approve of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) after hearing a description of its purpose.  Eight out of ten Democrats (81%) and nearly six in ten Republicans (59%) regard the CFPB favorably.
  • After hearing arguments for and against the CFPB, 64 percent of voters (including 79 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans, and 63 percent of Independents) take a positive view; only 20 percent (9 percent of Democrats, 45 percent of Republicans, and 15 percent of Independents) see it as an unaccountable bureaucracy and an example of job-killing big government.
  • While many Americans say they have not heard of the agency, those who have are far more inclined to regard it in a positive than a negative light. (The margins are 42 to 9 percent for Democrats, 32 to 14 percent for Republicans, and 38 to 11 percent for Independents.)
  • Majorities of Americans across party lines (70 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Republicans, and 69 percent of Independents) approve of the CFPB’s efforts to restore the ability of financial consumers to band together in lawsuits against banks and lenders that engage in wrongdoing.
  • Two-thirds of Americans support CFPB rules requiring mortgage lenders to verify a consumer’s ability to repay a loan.
  • Sixty-seven percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of payday lenders, compared to just 10 percent who hold a favorable view.
  • A large majority of Americans (84 percent) are concerned about abusive debt collection practices, such as lawsuits filed without evidence to prove a case in court.

For more information, see summary memo and topline poll results below.

Overwhelming Support For Financial Regulation And The Work Of The CFPB – Summary Memo

To: Interested Parties
From: Celinda Lake, Bob Carpenter, David Mermin, and Zoe Grotophorst
Re: Strong bipartisan majorities support financial regulation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Date: July 15, 2016

A recent poll conducted by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting finds overwhelming bipartisan support for strong regulation of financial services and products in order to hold financial services companies accountable and protect consumers against unfair practices.

By wide margins, Americans call for tough oversight and regulation of Wall Street banks, mortgage companies and credit card servicers, as well as specialized companies such as debt collectors, and they will vote these issues. Nearly six in ten voters express support for the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which will mark its fifth birthday next week.

  • More than nine out ten Americans (92%) believe it is important to regulate financial products and services including 72% who say it is very important. Strong bipartisan majorities share this view with most considering it very important. Democrat show the strongest support (96%) for this position, but 89% of Republicans also find it important with 60% saying very important. Nine out of ten independents say financial reform is important with 72% calling it very important.

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • Strong majorities support tougher rules to address the practices that caused the financial crisis, while only 12% believe that Wall Street practices have changed enough that they don’t need further regulation. More than eight out of ten Democrats (82%) support stronger rules, as do two out of three Republicans (66%).

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • Americans are still concerned about reckless practices of Wall Street and the financial services industry posing a threat to the economy. When this view is contrasted with the position that government has intervened too much, hindering innovation and slowing economic growth, six out of ten Americans (59%) believe the financial industry still poses a threat, including a plurality of Republicans (48%) and majorities of Democrats (69%) and independents (59%).

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • When the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010 is described, three-quarters of Americans favor the law including a majority who strongly favor it. The law is favored by eight out of ten Democrats (79%) and independent voters (78%). Two-thirds of Republicans favor the law (65%).5

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • Majorities across political parties (71%) favor the CFPB when its purpose and mission are described. Eight out of ten Democrats (81%) favor the CFPB including 54% who favor it strongly. While Republicans show lower support for the CFPB, still near six in ten (59%) favor it.6

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • When presented with an argument that the CFPB makes rules to protect consumers from dangerous financial products (similar to rules on food, appliances and automobiles) against a strong counter-argument that the CFPB is an unaccountable bureaucracy and an example of job killing big government, a large majority (64%) still support the CFPB. Overall support remains high among Democrats (79%) and independents (67%). Republicans are more skeptical, but still express plurality support (46 %).

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • Two-thirds of Americans (64%) want to continue tight requirements on mortgage lenders to verify a consumer’s ability to repay a loan. Less than one in three (30%) favor more flexibility for lenders on income verification. Republicans showed the strongest support for tighter requirements at 71%, and 46% feel strongly about it.

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • A large majority of Americans (84%) are concerned that debt collectors sue about a million consumers each year without evidence to prove their case in court. Almost nine out of ten Democrats and independents find this practice concerning, and 69% of Democrats find it very concerning. A strong majority (78%) of Republicans find this practice concerning with 61% calling it very concerning.

Financial Regulation CFPB

  • Voters will take their support to the ballot box. Six out of ten voters (61%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate or member of Congress who favors tough rules on Wall Street and protecting consumers. A majority of independents (61%) and a plurality of Republican voters (45%) are inclined to support a pro-regulation candidate.

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