Here’s something rural Americans and urban Americans have in common: a high regard for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the work it’s doing to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair, and abusive lending and debt collection practices.
Most voters in rural parts of the country believe that the financial industry is still too powerful and poses a continuing threat to the economy and their financial well-being. They want Wall Street held accountable and are nearly unanimous in their belief that regulating financial services is important.
According to a poll conducted by the Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, an overwhelming 68% of rural voters would like to see more protections for consumers against wrongdoing by Wall Street banks, mortgage lenders, payday lenders, debt collectors and credit card companies; only 19% of these voters favor fewer regulations.
Specifically, 66% of rural voters back new rules that require mortgage lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay before a loan is issued. 66% of rural voters also express support for the CFPB’s underlying mission, while only 17% are opposed.
Why do rural voters care so much about these issues? One reason may be that rural areas tend to have higher rates of poverty and unemployment and lower median household incomes than more densely populated areas. The worst elements of the financial industry often market their products to low-income people, hoping to exploit their economic insecurity and snag them in a cycle of debt.