Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

“Cop on the Beat” Aims to Stop Predatory Lending and Other Abuses; Some in Congress Already Trying to Weaken Consumer Protections

WASHINGTON — Less than two weeks from now, consumers who use bank accounts, credit cards, loans and other financial services will have a new source of protection: the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which opens on July 21. The Greenlining Institute and other advocates pushed for a strong, independent CFPB to be included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed last year.

“Communities of color were terribly victimized by predatory lending during the housing bubble, and that helped send the whole economy into free-fall,” said Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar. “Until now, there was no government agency whose full-time job was to protect consumers from financial fraud and abuse. This new bureau is exactly what our communities need.”

CFPB will create rules to ensure that the terms of loans and other products are disclosed in clear, plain language, restrict unfair or deceptive practices, and educate consumers about financial products and services. Greenlining spokespeople are available to explain the role of the new bureau in both English and Spanish. Greenlining’s CFPB fact sheet with more detailed information is available online in both English and Spanish, and media outlets are encouraged to publish and post this information.

Karina Orocio learned first-hand why CFPB is needed. Speaking at an anti-foreclosure rally in January, Oricio described how her parents, whose knowledge of English is limited, were tricked into refinancing their Redwood City, California home with a loan whose payments quadrupled, causing them to lose the house.

“What happened to my parents was wrong,” Orocio said. “Lenders shouldn’t be able to trick and mislead people, and we need this new bureau to stop this kind of abuse.”

“Unfortunately,” Aguilar added, “some in Congress are already attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before it even opens for business. They want the bureau to be a lapdog, not a watchdog. All of us need to let our representatives know that we need strong consumer protections, and efforts to weaken CFPB are unacceptable.”