WASHINGTON, DC — Ahead of October 3rd oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court over a lawsuit that poses an existential threat to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and consumer protections for millions, today Accountable.US, American Economic Liberties Project, and Democracy Forward held a virtual media briefing offering an in-depth look at the plaintiff—a top trade group for troubled predatory lenders—the industry’s motives, the case’s implications for consumers, and the history of how this fallacious and baseless legal argument made it all the way to the high court. *LISTEN TO THE AUDIO FROM TODAY’S PRESS BRIEFING.
The experts discussed how Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), if affirmed, would inhibit the Bureau from protecting consumers and honest small businesses in the financial sector, in addition to threatening the stability of the economy. The case could also threaten funding for programs like Medicare, Social Security, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This lawsuit is the crown jewel in a long-running, well-coordinated effort by the financial industry and politicians in their pocket to defund and defang the CFPB that has successfully returned billions of dollars to victims of predatory financial schemes and abuse.
“The Supreme Court should reject the Appropriations Clause argument, full stop. The Court should fix this error, and let the CFPB get back to doing what it was created to do: protecting consumers. We should be concerned, however, if the Court cracks the door open a little bit, maybe by trying to create a special rule about how the CFPB has to be funded. That result will be bad for consumers and bad for democracy, as we are likely to face more challenges, with anti-government interests eager to expand this new doctrine,” said Joe Gaeta, Director of Oversight & Engagement, Democracy Forward.
“Payday lenders and other financial predators don’t want to comply with the law, and they are willing to bring down our whole financial system for their own gain,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “SCOTUS must reject their efforts, overturn CFPB v. CFSA, and preserve the CFPB’s ability to protect American consumers and small businesses.”
“Predatory lenders notorious for charging criminally high interest rates and tricking Americans into endless cycles of debt want to tie up the nation’s top consumer watchdog with bureaucratic red tape,” said Liz Zelnick, Director of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power Program. “This lawsuit brought by the payday loan industry is the culmination of a decade-long, highly-coordinated, well-funded effort to gut the CFPB by people with a selfish interest in having less regulation to benefit their bottom line. Those in the MAGA Congress now cheering on predatory lenders in this case would rather represent their financial industry donors at the expense of everyday families. If the Supreme Court gives the predatory lenders what they want, these lawmakers will be complicit in the worst rollback of consumer protection in U.S. history.”
Accountable.US also discussed a new report and campaign, called Defend American Consumers, that details CFSA’s long history of mistreating consumers and their deep ties to the MAGA Congress defending triple-digit interest rates that trap vulnerable families in endless cycles of debt.