WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rohit Chopra, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), will testify before the Senate Banking Committee where he is expected to address the major early success of the Biden administration’s initiative to rein in industry “junk” fees, including a plan to cap credit card late fees at $8 and save American families $9 billion every year. Consumers have already saved a staggering $4.25 billion amid the CFPB’s initiative as many big banks chose to preempt the bureau’s actions by voluntarily revamping their overdraft and non-sufficient fund fee practices. With the CFPB under a full-scale, industry-fueled assault in federal courts and the MAGA Congress that threatens the agency’s very existence, government watchdog Accountable.US called the successful junk fee crackdown a shining example of what consumers stand to lose if the CFPB is shuttered or stripped of its independence.
Egg on Faces: In April, Senate Banking Committee Republicans sent a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra demanding he “promptly rescind” the CFPB’s proposed rule cracking down on abusive credit card industry late fees. The Republicans’ impassioned defense of ‘junk fees’ and their supposed “legitimate purposes” came after committee members took over $2.2 million from banking trade groups opposed to the rule and the eight largest credit card issuers. During today’s hearing, will industry-friendly Committee Republicans continue to criticize the CFPB for putting $4.25 billion back in the pockets of hard-working Americans?
Not long after the CFPB set its sights on excessive overdraft fees, many big banks backed off the exploitative practice including those that admitted such fees were not needed to stay highly profitable,” said Liz Zelnick, Director Of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power. “Consumers have already saved billions thanks to the CFPB junk fee crackdown that is just getting started, so why are Senate Banking Republicans complaining? The latest CFPB success story exemplifies what American consumers stand to lose if predatory industries and the MAGA politicians in their pocket get their way and shutter the CFPB.”
“The megabanks that continue to nickel and dime consumers with junk fees have been reporting billions of dollars in increased profits – making clear the practice is based on corporate greed, not a legitimate business need,” added Zelnick. “Follow the money to see why Senate Banking Republicans think it’s good business to charge people a $35 overdraft fee on a gallon of milk, and why they disdain the CFPB’s effort to fix it. While these Republicans prioritize their industry donors, the CFPB has pressed forward to protect consumers across the country.”
The CFPB’s junk fee effort builds on the agency’s wildly successful track record protecting consumers over the relentless opposition from Republicans in Congress and industry groups. A record that includes recouping $16 billion in relief for approximately 192 million consumers in spite of long-running right wing and industry crusade to defund, defang and do away with the agency — including a lawsuit headed to the Supreme Court brought by predatory lenders, and a flurry of anti-CFPB bills pushed by House Financial Service Committee Republicans who have taken millions of dollars from Wall Street banks.
READ MORE ON JUNK FEES FROM ACCOUNTABLE.US:
- Analysis: Senate Banking Republicans Pen Love Letter to ‘Junk Fees’ After Taking Over $2.2M from Banks That Abuse Them