Groups: #WrongChoiceAct “Will Result in Significant Harm to Working People”


In the wake of America’s recovery from the Great Recession – an economic nightmare in which 11 million people lost their homes through foreclosure, $13 trillion in wealth was lost and unemployment was at 10% – Republicans are intent on sending us back to collapse.

The disastrous Wrong CHOICE Act slashes consumer protections designed to deter abuse by predatory lenders and profiteers on Wall Street.  Striking down safeguards will only lead us back to the days of excessive greed by financial institutions and massive taxpayer bailouts of big banks.

As seen below, labor, investor, small business, teacher, veteran and other groups alike are speaking out against the reckless Wrong CHOICE Act.

AFL-CIO

“If enacted, this bill will result in significant harm to working people who depend on the integrity of financial markets and to our nation’s economy as a whole. Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DoddFrank) to strengthen the regulatory framework that had failed to prevent the 2008 crisis. At its essence, H.R. 10 reflects a level of disregard for the welfare of consumers and individual investors that is difficult to comprehend. It not only guts many of the essential systemic risk reforms adopted after the 2008 financial crisis, it also eliminates many investor protections that have existed since the Great Depression.” [6/5/17]

AFSCME

“On a broad scale, H.R. 10 would significantly increase systemic risk to our U.S. economy.  On an individual scale, it would undermine key consumer protections that help ensure working families are not harmed by predatory financial practices such as risky and inappropriate mortgage lending that led to 2008 financial crises.  The bill would prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) from protecting consumers from fraud and abuse, which would result in increased problems with payday lending, forced arbitration, and other daily economic transactions.  This troubling bill would also weaken investor protections and weaken shareholder rights, including those connected to shareholder proposals.” [6/6/17]

Americans for Financial Reform (79 Community & Public Interest Organizations)

“This legislation would be better dubbed “Wall Street’s CHOICE Act”, as it would have a devastating effect on the capacity of regulators to protect the public interest and defend consumers and investors from Wall Street wrongdoing and the economy from risks created by too-big-to-fail financial institutions. It would expose consumers, investors, and the public to greatly heightened risk of abuse in their regular dealings with the financial system, and our economy as a whole to a far greater risk of instability and crisis.”  [4/25/17]

American Federation of Teachers

“The Financial CHOICE Act also seeks to rewrite the Shareholder Proposal Rule, taking away crucial rights of shareholders to hold companies accountable for risky behavior that harms consumers, workers and the environment. We are deeply troubled by provisions of the act that would threaten prudent safeguards for oversight of companies and markets, including sensible reforms that investors need to hold management and boards of public companies accountable, and that foster trust in the integrity of the markets. Dodd-Frank protections and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are important for American families and for our shared prosperity as a nation. If the House chooses to pass the Financial CHOICE Act, it will be providing Wall Street banks more power than they have had since the Great Depression. I urge you to vote no on H.R. 10.” [6/7/17]

Better Markets

“Contrary to the claims of supporters of the Financial CHOICE Act, it is not the case that financial protection rules and economic growth are mutually exclusive. In fact, durable, sustainable economic growth requires effective rules that ensure a balanced, competitive financial sector works in support of the economically productive real economy. Economic growth and jobs simply will not come from the finance-driven boom-and-bust cycles that have plagued the country since the 1990s. The only way to get financial firms – including, but not limited to, banks – back into the business of financial activities that support the real economy is to limit their ability to conduct high-risk trading activities and complex transactions that enrich Wall Street, but do nothing to promote real jobs and growth on Main Street.” [6/5/17]

19 Consumer, Civil Rights, Fair Lending, Community and Privacy Organizations

The only financial choice this dangerous bill offers is between risky financial practices and a return to pre-crisis greedy, deceptive, discriminatory behavior. The Financial CHOICE Act is designed to destroy the one law – Dodd-Frank — that has held financial institutions accountable, after decimating the economy and causing the Great Recession.” [4/26/17]

California Reinvestment Coalition

“It is difficult to imagine how anyone who lived through the financial crisis could now propose to WEAKEN the regulatory framework that was designed to protect our economy from another crisis, and WEAKEN the one agency that has succeeded in both protecting American families from various forms of financial abuse and in holding bad actors accountable. There are numerous provisions of the bill that are highly problematic, representing threats to consumers and their financial wellbeing, and a gift to scammers and other financial predators who would seek to take advantage of the public.” [4/24/17]

CaLSTRS

“We acknowledge that the primary goal of the revised CHOICE Act is financial deregulation, but there are several provisions that CalSTRS is deeply concerned about, beyond financial deregulation.” [4/25/17]

The Center for Popular Democracy & FED Up

“The Financial CHOICE Act would constrain Fed policymakers’ ability to pursue its full employment mandate by eliminating Fed policymakers’ discretion, allowing intrusive reviews of Fed decision-making, and increasing the number of monetary policy decision-makers who are private officials serving corporate and financial interests, rather than the public. The Financial CHOICE Act would hamper policymakers’ discretion to respond to changes in economic conditions by mandating a so-called “Taylor Rule” that the Fed must follow when setting interest rates.” [4/25/17]

Center for Responsible Lending

“The nearly 600-page bill is replete with destructive policies that roll back or eliminate the essential protections that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) put in place. Moreover, the bill eliminates regulatory powers that pre-date Dodd-Frank. Contrary to its stated purpose to create hope and opportunity, the bill would re-expose consumers, investors, and the public to a host of risky and abusive financial practices, including many of the practices that contributed to the last recession and massive foreclosure crisis.” [4/26/17]

Corporate Governance

“I agree with the stated intent of growing the economy from Main Street up, instead of Washington down. However, as currently written, several provisions will have the exact opposite impact. Freedom is tied to risk and responsibility. Maintaining it requires investment, hard work and the ability of investors to hold their agents accountable. Silencing their directives and recommendations will only lead to further dependency on government.” [4/23/17]

Communication Workers of America

“The Wrong Choice Act, unfortunately, goes in the opposite direction by gutting protections for consumers, making it extremely difficult to hold large financial institutions accountable, and enabling predatory actors to swindle workers out of retirement savings.” [6/7/17]

Consumer Federation of America

“It is by and large a deregulatory wish-list from special interests that repeals many of the significant achievements in the Dodd-Frank Act and other critical laws designed to ensure consumers, investors, and honest market participants are appropriately protected from harm in the marketplace. Without such protections, consumers and investors will be exposed to greater risk of being harmed in concrete ways and the financial system will be exposed to greater risk of instability and crises. This bill will put our financial marketplace in a weaker position than it was before the crisis, making American consumers more vulnerable and more at risk. This bill does not create financial choices for consumers; it creates a financial marketplace of no fair choices. It creates a financial marketplace with higher risk, without a regulator with the authority, resources and independence to minimize risks for consumers. This is not a choice that any consumer would knowingly make.” [4/25/17]

Corporate Reform Coalition

“In the end, proxy access and shareholder resolutions are about choice, the ability of the owners of a corporation to select among candidates to serve them as management overseers, to propose changes in governance and company policies. The Financial CHOICE Act poorly reflects its name if it limits this choice.” [4/25/17]

Fair Arbitration Now

“This bill would prevent these federal agencies from acting in the public interest to enact rules that would restore the rights of consumers and investors to hold financial companies accountable. Further, this proposal would undermine the fundamental purpose of Wall Street reform by aiding and abetting reckless corporate behavior like that of Wells Fargo. We urge you to reject this legislation.” [4/25/17]

 

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

“Specifically, the CHOICE Act eliminates the Office of Financial Research which is tasked with providing information to regulators; undermines the Federal Reserve’s authority to set monetary policy; Guts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of its authority and independence; eliminates limitations on subprime mortgage lending which was one of the causes of the financial collapse; reinstates reckless speculation from banks; and relaxes requirements that limit runaway spending on executive compensation. The bill even blocks the Fiduciary Rule which requires financial advisers to act in the best interest of the client while advising them on their retirement accounts… H.R. 10 will return the American financial system back to the environment that created the 2008 collapse that robbed working families of their savings.” [6/7/17]

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“This bill is nothing more than a repackaging of the Committee’s efforts over the past six years to deregulate the financial services industry, enable payday lending and other predatory services, and unlearn the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis.” [4/25/17]

National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)

“The legislation, broad in breadth and scope, unabashedly seeks to dismantle the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the law passed to remedy flaws in the U.S. economic system that led to the 2008 Great Depression and the loss of homes, jobs, businesses and economic security for millions of Americans. In particular, you must reject the dangerous sections of the bill that aim to sabotage the work and mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).” [4/25/17]

 

National Consumer Law Center

“The bill appears to have been written by a team of lawbreakers and predatory lenders putting together their wish list of how to undo consumer protections. Even by the standards of other anti-consumer protection legislation, this bill is breathtaking in its assault on ordinary Americans, responsible companies who want a level playing field, and safeguards for the economy as a whole.” [4/26/17]

North American Securities Administrators Association

“NASAA’s message to Congress is simple and clear: Please continue your commitment to protecting investors and do not undermine the important and overdue reforms implemented in the wake of the financial crisis, either directly through legislative repeals, or indirectly through a lack of appropriate funding or delayed execution. The financial crisis that struck our country is not some distant memory in the minds of hard-working Americans. The distress that comes with the loss of retirement savings built up over many years is devastating. It is, therefore, incumbent upon members of Congress and regulators to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to Main Street investors and continue to take the steps necessary to protect them. Their confidence in knowing that the ‘cops are on the beat’ is integral to the success and integrity of our nation’s markets” [4/26/17] 

Northstar Asset Management

“Please oppose these radical changes. The proposal process is working and does not need fixes. The legislation would upset 70 years of SEC rulemaking and deliberations on this important and well-functioning corporate democracy process. This existing balance of rights and responsibilities in our investments supports a relationship of trust between capital providers and corporations. Stripping away shareholder rights as proposed by Chairman Hensarling would undermine that relationship. If Congress proves willing to alter rights associated with share ownership, it could undermine investor confidence in the inviolate rights of share ownership and discourage capital investment.”  [4/26/17]

Principles for Responsible Investment

“The proposed legislation would significantly weaken the ability of shareholders, including our signatories, to engage with companies and fellow investors on corporate governance and risk management.” [6/6/17]

Public Citizen

This bill is divorced from reality. It is a fact that the financial crisis caused enormous harm, draining more than $12 trillion from the economy, where millions lost their homes, the jobs and their savings. This tragedy demanded reform. It is also a fact that since passage and then partial implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, the economy has mainly recovered. Unemployment is half its post-crash peak, and loan-making has recovered. The CHOICE Act claims that neither fact is true.” [4/26/17]

State Attorneys General

“The proposed Act will eliminate many of the critical consumer protections implemented as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd- Frank”) in the wake of, and in response to, the financial crisis. As the chief consumer protection officers in each of our respective States, we write to call your particular attention to those portions of the Act that would effectively eviscerate the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the only independent federal agency exclusively focused on consumer financial protection. While the Act purports to protect consumers from over-regulation by federal agencies, its far-reaching consequences would make consumers more vulnerable to fraud and abuse in the marketplace.” [7/7/17]

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

“It is apparent the Act is intended to be a gift to the investment industry and Wall Street special interests. A headline in the April 20, 2017 Washington Post noted that the Act is even more generous than the banks asked for. This is exactly the wrong path. We are still in the aftermath of the financial crisis; we must not forget the lessons that recent experience has taught us about financial abuse, conflicts of interests, and fraud. In a time of sweeping technological change and sophisticated financial scams, we must preserve and update our tools to fight financial fraud.” [4/26/17]

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

“Section 844 of the CHOICE Act would eviscerate the shareholder proposal rule by increasing the requirements to file or re-submit a proposal.  These draconian changes would disenfranchise all but the very largest institutional investors and halt the extraordinary progress—including more independent and diverse boards, enhanced disclosure practices, and stronger investor rights and protections—that have resulted from the rule.” [4/26/17]

U.S. PIRG

“The bill, if enacted, would have a devastating effect on the capacity of regulators to protect the public interest and defend consumers and investors from future Wall Street wrongdoing and the economy from financial risks created by too-big-to-fail financial institutions. It sends the wrong signal to the financial sector that unfettered risk-taking – much of it with other people’s money — is in vogue again. It would expose consumers, investors, and the public to greatly heightened risk of abuse in their regular dealings with the financial system, and our entire economy to a far greater risk of instability and crisis.” [4/25/17]

Washington State Investment Board

“We are deeply troubled by provisions of the Act that would threaten prudent safeguards for oversight of companies and markets, including sensible reforms that investors need to hold management and board of public companies accountable, and that foster trust in the integrity of the markets.” [6/6/17]

Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America

“The CHOICE Act would make it virtually impossible for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to do the vitally important job of protecting consumers from predatory lending and unfair banking practices. The CFPB has enacted a series of reforms to make mortgage loans fairer and simpler for consumers and to reduce the risk of default and foreclosure. H.R. 10 would create massive loopholes in the rules that have been implemented to discourage the kind of unaffordable mortgages that were at the heart of the foreclosure crisis.” [6/7/17]

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

As a grateful nation, we must protect the financial wellbeing of our service members and veterans so they can focus on defeating our enemies or successfully transitioning back to civilian life.  This includes strengthening – not weakening – enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. If enacted, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 would put those who have taken an oath to defend this country and our way of life in financial harm’s way.” [6/6/17]

Zevin Asset Managemen

“The proposed legislation would upset 70 years of SEC rulemaking and deliberations on this important and well-functioning corporate democracy process. The existing balance of rights and responsibilities in our investments supports a relationship of trust between capital providers and corporations. Stripping away shareholder rights as proposed by Chairman Hensarling would undermine that relationship. Indeed, radically altering the rights associated with share ownership could ultimately undermine investor confidence.” [4/25/17]