The House Introduced an Attack on the Consumer Bureau’s Borrower Protections

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized borrower protections in a new payday and car title lending rule earlier this Fall, to the support of hundreds of community groups across the country, including dozens who put out statements. In a dangerous move, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), along with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), have just introduced a resolution to repeal these new borrower protections. Members of the Stop The Debt Trap Coalition respond:

“Payday lending is bad financial policy. It uses the lure of quick cash to trap struggling families, particularly families of color, in a cycle of debt and slowly drain them of what little money they have. The CFPB rule is a commonsense policy that requires lenders to ensure that borrowers have enough money to repay their loans, on time, without being left in an even worse financial position. Congress should stand with consumers and reject this shameful and dangerous bill.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“Arizona voters spoke loud and clear in 2008 to reject triple-digit rate payday lending, however there are no state-based rules that require title lenders to make responsible loans,” said Kelly Griffith, Center for Economic Integrity in Tucson.

Arizona Coalition

“Hastings and Ross must decide whether they stand with predatory lenders or the people of Florida,” said Bill Newton, FCAN deputy director. “FCAN, many other groups, and many individuals have worked for years to see this rule come into being, and our families deserve this protection. What possible reasons could Ross and Hastings have to oppose this rule? We will not allow the payday lenders to simply veto rules they don’t like.

Florida Consumer Action Network

“Georgians pay millions of dollars in fees to predatory lenders whose business model results in consumers being trapped in a cycle of debt. It is outrageous that Representative Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and his colleagues would attempt to undo a rule requiring that lenders consider borrowers’ ability to repay their loans,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch.

Georgia Watch

“Veterans and those currently serving in our Armed Forces are very vulnerable to make irrational decisions when under stress from upcoming or past experiences. Borrowing money is one of those areas where poor decisions have gotten these Hoosiers into a debt spiral where the outcome ends in bankruptcy, divorce, crime, and homelessness . . . Limits are needed on the number of consecutive loans, total cost of loans, and interest rates”, said Brigadier General James Bauerle of the Indiana Military / Veterans’ coalition.

Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network

“Our Representatives in Congress are going to have to decide whether they stand with predatory lenders or the people of Maryland,” said Marceline White, Executive Director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.

Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition

“There’s no middle ground on whether the Consumer Bureau’s payday rule should stand. Congress must leave it alone. Payday lending causes tremendous harm to working families as well as vulnerable seniors and veterans. North Carolina recognized these harms years ago, and since 2001 our legislature has rejected repeated attempts to weaken our good laws,” said Alfred Ripley of the NC Justice Center.

North Carolina Coalition

“We need Congress to stand with consumers, not predatory lenders,” said Kalitha Williams, policy liaison for Policy Matters Ohio. “Ohio has long been the Wild West of payday lending. The consumer bureau rule offers needed protections to prevent exploitation of financially vulnerable families. Ohio advocates worked hard to see this rule finalized and we will fight to keep this rule in place.”

Policy Matters Ohio

“Tennessee consumers need relief from the debt trap offered by payday predators,” said executive director Andy Spears. “The resolution overturning this rule is just what the legalized loan sharks want – a feeding frenzy on the state’s most vulnerable borrowers.”

Tennessee Citizen Action

Texas Fair Lending Alliance (TFLA) members, a coalition of more than 60 community-based and nonprofit organizations across the state, are deeply concerned by the bill filed on Friday to undo the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) payday and auto title lending rule. Attacking the final rule — a rule that involved studying the market for five years, incorporating public comment and assessing the needs of borrowers — ignores the voices of families and communities who seek relief from predatory loans and deserve fair lending standards.

Texas Fair Lending Alliance

An industry-backed group of U.S. House members moved to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule on payday and title lending today. If allowed to take effect, the rule would establish historic, strong nationwide protections to protect borrowers from falling prey to the payday lending debt trap.

The Woodstock Institute

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule takes a common-sense approach to end the debt trap and protect consumers. It took years to get here, and with victory now in sight industry-backed politicians in Congress are attempting to reverse course for their predatory pals in payday lending,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress. He continued, “For years, the payday lending industry has plied powerful politicians at every level of government with campaign contributions – they’ve spent even more on lobbying and efforts to stymie regulators at the CFPB. Make no mistake this industry will do whatever it takes to keep their predatory racket humming along. Millions of Americans are counting on us to fight back and protect these important new rules – and that is exactly what we are going to do. We will fight back and we will win.”

Allied Progress

AFR member organizations from around the country were on Capitol Hill last week lobbying in defense of the Consumer Bureau. Advocates from 17 states held meetings with more than 60 congressional offices in support of the bureau’s payday loan borrower protections.

Americans for Financial Reform

“The line in the sand is clear—you’re either siding with the payday lenders or you’re siding with consumers. Unfortunately, for these members who introduce this CRA resolution, their allegiance is to the payday lenders,” said Yana Miles, Senior Legislative Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.

Center for Responsible Lending

“The bill’s backers claim that consumers need high-cost loans ‘to make ends meet.’ In reality, they need predatory loans like they need a hole in the head,” said Linda Sherry, Consumer Action’s director of national priorities.

Consumer Action

The Final Rule was years in the making and weighs in at 1690 pages of carefully considered text. It balances the need to protect consumers from the debt trap with addressing concerns raised by institutions like credit unions by excluding less risky products like payday-alternative loans from the rule.

Consumer Federation of America

“Americans of all political persuasions should be outraged at the members of Congress who are trying to block modest protections for predatory 300% loans that put families into a debt trap,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center. “Ordinary people, whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, support reform of 300% loans that prey on working families living paycheck to paycheck. The consumer watchdog’s rule adopts common-sense protections that responsible lenders already follow by considering the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Congress should not side with predatory lenders over Americans.”

National Consumer Law Center