Take Action This Week on Banking!

Financial reform in the Senate is at a critical juncture, as Senate Democrats attempt to achieve a bipartisan bill. Conservative Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) appears to be in the driver’s seat. Corker is an advocate of putting the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) into the Federal Reserve, an institution almost as unpopular with the public as the IRS.

Yesterday, the front page of the New York Times revealed that Corker had successfully moved to limit the authority of the new consumer protection agency to directly regulate payday lenders, debt collectors and other non-bank financial companies (you know those charming institutions that charge 400% interest on small loans?). Not surprisingly we learned that these crooked institutions, who prey upon the poor, fill Corker’s coffers.

On the plus side, other Democratic Senators are fighting back. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are pushing a strong version of the Volker rule, which would crack down on proprietary trading and restore the depression-era wall separating Main Street banking from Wall Street gambling. Other Senators want to cap the size of banks, and still others are working on strong amendments to close the loopholes in the regulation of derivatives, Warren Buffet’s “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

The final draft of the bill has not yet been unveiled, so now is a critical time to weigh in on these fights, saying "no" to the Fed and exemptions for payday lenders, "yes" to the Volker rule, a size cap, an end to loopholes for derivatives and yes to a strong independent CFPA. Call your Senator using the toll free number provided by SEIU 866-544-7573. This number will be open and available to consumers until March 31. Or you can call Senate Banking Chair Chris Dodd at (202) 224-2823, or send an email at www.BanksterUSA.org.

We can't let the Banksters win this one!

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


It looks like Congress is snagged again. But, as consumers we can DO SOMETHING! WITHDRAW WHATEVER FUNDS YOU CAN from the big banks and put them in your local bank or credit union. If thousands/millions of people did this we might see some action. It has to come from the people. It isn't going to come from the Congress.

It's such shame that reactive policy making seems to be the science of the Senate's decision making. A proactive approach would have saved the economy from predatory loaning. When is the Senate going to learn!

As for me I don't really believe that we can do anything good just by withdrawing our funds from the banks and pumping them to other banks. They all belong to the same system. But I agree that we MUST change something, and that the initiative must come from the consumers, not from the Congress.

> On the plus side, other Democratic Senators are fighting back. It's really true? Are they doing everything they can?