Committee Republicans Earn Keep With Industry Lobbyists By Denying Bureau’s Clear Constitutionality and Defending Junk Fees — One Even Calling Costly Overdraft Fees a “Safety Net”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report finding that in 2023 alone, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau returned over $140 million to consumers harmed by predatory financial firms, while introducing several new rules and enforcement measures to protect consumers from junk fees and other harmful practices. Meanwhile, industry groups, including the American Bankers Association (ABA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) have been quick to rebuke the CFPB for these efforts, arguing the new rules would lead to “reduced competition and limited access to credit” and amount to “price-controls.” Accountable.US found that so far in 2023, House Financial Service Committee (HFSC) and Senate Banking Committee Republicans have been rewarded $559,000 from these same entities that had CFPB enforcement actions against them or spoke out against the CFPB’s rulemakings and regulatory actions.
The new report comes as HFSC Republicans predictably went to bat for their financial industry mega-donors today by aggressively attacking Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra during his semi-annual report and smearing the agency’s efforts to lower costs for consumers by reining in corporate price-gouging and hidden junk fees – from barring banks and credit unions from charging fees for basic services, limiting most credit card late fees to $8 down from as much as $41, or removing medical debt from consumer credit reports. Hostility against the Bureau from Republican committee members ranged from personally smearing the Director, repeating industry talking points in defense of junk fees that cost consumers billions of dollars every year – one even calling overdraft fees a “safety net” — defending small business lending discrimination, denying the agency’s clear constitutionality that is rooted in history, and celebrating a lawsuit brought by predatory lenders designed to strip the agency of its independence. By any objective measure, these lawmakers earned their keep with greedy CEOs and lobbyists representing Wall Street, big banks, predatory lenders, and debt collectors.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to lower costs for everyday families by going after junk fees and other harmful industry practices. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are working to keep costs high under greedy financial industry hidden fees and tricks, all because corporate CEOs and lobbyists reward their obstruction with millions of dollars. Republicans in Congress continue to make excuses even for corporations caught ripping off everyday Americans because they have been bought and paid for by financial industry CEOs and lobbyists. Industry money has driven these lawmakers to try to nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s independence which guarantees the agency is not for sale to the highest corporate bidder.”