Financial Reform: House Budget Proposal Is A Gift To Wall Street by Jim Lardner, ourfinancialsecurity.org.

Americans for Financial Reform has issued the following statement on the budget proposal but forward by House Republicans last week:

Republicans in the House of Representatives have come out with a budget proposal that, while vague on many points, is all too specific in its attack on Wall Street regulation, the Dodd-Frank Act, and the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The proposal would tie financial (and other) regulators up in procedural knots by requiring them to conduct multiple additional studies before new rules to protect the public interest could be adopted. In addition, it would eliminate a key mechanism for the safe unwinding of a big bank in the event of failure; undermine the ability of regulators to detect and curb systemically dangerous practices; and end the independent funding of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – undermining the effectiveness of the agency created to bring basic standards of transparency and fairness to the banking and lending markets and putting the financial interests it was created to regulate in a position to starve it of the funds needed to do its job.

Like other bank regulators, the CFPB is currently funded in a way that insulates it from financial-industry pressure. Under the House Republicans’ proposal, the agency would become dependent on annual congressional appropriations – a “reform” long sought by Wall Street interests who opposed the Bureau’s creation and know they could count on friendly lawmakers to use the power of the purse to keep the Bureau in line.

This is a budget proposal that ignores public opinion as well as history. Voters who have formed an impression of the Consumer Bureau rated it positively by a 4-1 margin in a national survey conducted last summer by Lake Research on behalf of the Center for Responsible Lending and Americans for Financial Reform: 85% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 63% of Republicans expressed a favorable view of the agency after hearing a description of its purpose.

The Budget Committee, the House, the Senate, and the Administration must say a very firm no to the thinly disguised Wall Street giveaways of this budget proposal.

Americans For Financial Reform And The Center For Responsible Lending

Methodology

  • Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey that was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers between June 25-30, 2014. The survey reached a total of 1,000 likely 2014 voters nationwide.
  • Telephone numbers for the survey were drawn randomly from a voter file. The sample was stratified geographically based on the proportion of voters in each region. The data were weighted by gender, race, age, party identification, education level, and region.
  • The margin of error for this survey is +/-3.1%.

Executive Summary

  • Voters continue to offer broad and deep support for oversight and regulation of the financial industry.

– 93% agree that is is important to regulate financial products to make sure they are fair to consumers, 78% think there should be tougher rules and enforcement for financial companies, and two-thirds agree there should be more federal oversight of financial companies.

  • Voters are also broadly supportive of a wide range of reforms to protect consumers from unfair financial practices.
  • Although voters’ level of concern about these issues has dipped slightly since last year—probably as a result of less media coverage—concerns about the financial industry and support for reform remain strong across party lines.
  • Although over two-fifths do not have an impression of the CFPB, those who do rate it favorably by a 4:1 margin.

– Support for the CFPB increases to 75% after voters hear a description of its purpose.

Strong majorities of voters have favorable impressions of credit unions and community banks, while they are net negative toward big banks and Wall Street financial companies. They have mixed feelings toward the financial industry as a whole.

Responsible Lending Financial Reform Budget Proposal

Both the FDIC and the CFPB receive positive ratings from voters, but the CFPB is less well-known.

Responsible Lending Financial Reform Budget Proposal

Voters are net favorable toward prepaid cards, credit-scoring companies, and credit card companies. The popularity of credit-scoring and credit card companies has increased somewhat in the past year.

Responsible Lending Financial Reform Budget Proposal

See full PDF below.