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!