Washington D.C. – The new Republican-led House Financial Services Committee continues to demonstrate its intent to serve as a platform for financial industry grievances and wish lists while ignoring consumer concerns. A review from government watchdog Accountable.US of the Republican witness list of a subcommittee hearing today entitled “Revamping and Revitalizing Banking in the 21st Century,” found conflicts of interest and credibility concerns that suggest their testimony should be taken with a grain of salt.

While the Biden administration is cracking down on junk fees that financially drain working families, House Republicans are busy giving a megaphone to a wealthy banker whose business thrives off abusive service charges and overdraft fees. House Republicans also invited a well-known parrot of Wall Street-talking points who defended the CFPB under the Trump administration as it gutted consumer protections – but thinks the Bureau shouldn’t exist at all when it’s run by those who put consumers first. Credibility will be in short supply at this hearing. The extreme MAGA House agenda will be on full display today as they prioritize enriching greedy special interests over the needs of everyday families.”

Accountable.US’ Director of Economic Security and Corporate Power, Liz Zelnick

What You Need to Know About the Today’s Republican Witnesses:

  • Jim Reuter, the president and CEO of the Colorado-based FirstBank, is a longtime member of the American Bankers Association (ABA). As the Biden administration and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) set its eyes on “junk fees,” including overdraft fees and credit card late fees, Reuter’s FirstBank made $43.4 million in 2022 from service charges on deposit accounts, including $17.3 million from overdraft fees alone.

  • John Berlau, senior fellow and the director of finance policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—is a conservative free-market think tank that promotes less regulation for financial markets. Berlau has made a career of disseminating industry talking points and praising government regulators along partisan lines. Berlau defended former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger claiming she had “caught much flak” for implementing policies that lowered regulations but called on former President Donald Trump to remove then-CFPB Director Richard Cordray, and has repeatedly claimed the CFPB is unconstitutional under the Obama and Biden Administrations.
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