Business Owners Want Strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency, Say Senate Should Stop Protecting Wall Street, Announces Business for Shared Prosperity

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As financial industry lobbyists try to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) in the Senate, hundreds of business leaders and small business owners nationwide are calling for a strong, independent watchdog. In a statement organized by Business for Shared Prosperity, they say the CFPA would help business, especially small businesses that generate the most new jobs and innovation, and help prevent another meltdown.

A Consumer Financial Protection Agency will expose unsafe products and services and encourage accountability and fair competition. It will help ensure we do not repeat the reckless practices we are paying dearly for today.

As financial industry lobbyists try to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) in the Senate, hundreds of business leaders and small business owners nationwide are calling for a strong, independent watchdog. In a statement organized by Business for Shared Prosperity, they say the CFPA would help business, especially small businesses, which over the past 15 years have created two out of three net new jobs and spurred innovation - producing 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

In the statement, business leaders assert, "The financial crisis has demonstrated the need for a new independent federal agency to promote financial product safety and establish clear, enforceable rules of the road. Business owners and consumers need full and fair disclosure of the costs and risks of financial products and services… A Consumer Financial Protection Agency will expose unsafe products and services and encourage accountability and fair competition. It will help ensure we do not repeat the reckless practices we are paying dearly for today."

U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman, American Business Leaders for Financial Reform Chairman Tim Duncan, American Made Alliance Founder Wendy Rosen, Main Street Alliance National Network Director Sam Blair, Atlanta Women in Business Founder Lya Sorano, American Income Life Insurance CEO Roger Smith, KCI Technologies Chairman Emeritus Jack Kinstlinger and Seventh Generation Executive Chairman Jeffrey Hollender have signed the statement along with CEOs and small business owners from Alaska to Florida, Connecticut to California, Washington State to Washington DC.

U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman said, "The extraordinary abuse of small businesses and everyday Americans by a financial industry that has taken unwarranted profits through predatory practices must be stopped. It is time for our political leaders to act to support the financial protection and wellbeing of all Americans."

"Special interests lobbying against the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency don't speak for the business community," said Small Business Owner Lew Prince, CEO of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis. "Politicians love to point out that most new jobs are created by small business. They should listen to the business owners who didn't wreck the economy and want real reform to prevent a repeat."

"Honest and affordable credit is fundamental to business success and nurturing the innovation needed to keep the U.S. competitive in the world economy," said Alan Gregerman, President of Venture Works, Silver Spring, MD. "A lack of appropriate regulation has hurt America and American businesses. We can and must do better."

Tim Duncan, Chairman of American Business Leaders for Financial Reform, whose members include senior financial executives, said, "Passage of the CFPA will help the financial services industry get back to innovating in ways that will truly benefit consumers, the economy and the industry itself. We need to consider the long-term growth of financial services and avoid the mindset that can't see beyond the next quarter's results."

Atlanta Women in Business Founder Lya Sorano said, "It has long amazed me that we have recourse avenues for failed car brakes and defective baby cribs, but have had to muddle through reams of fine print in incomprehensible disclosure statements to try and find out whether a new credit offer is good for us or not."

"Small businesses have borne the brunt of this crisis, and Wall Street has gone back to fiddling - and handing out massive bonuses - while the Main Street economy keeps burning," said Brian Radford, Owner of HK on the Bay in Virginia Beach and a leader with the Virginia Main Street Alliance. "Wall Street dug the ground right out from under us, and they'll do it again if we let them. That's why we need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to go to bat for consumers, including small businesses and the customers we rely on."

A survey of more than 1,200 small business owners from 13 states by the Main Street Alliance found that 67 percent of respondents support the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

"It's high time we did something to rein in lenders that take advantage of unsuspecting borrowers with 'fine-print' clauses," said Jon Tepper, President of J. Tepper Group, a Mass.-based business consulting firm. "If we don't act now, banks and mortgage companies will be back to 'business as usual,' leading to another financial disaster."

Mark Kellenbeck, COO of Oregon-based Cascade Management, which specializes in real estate management, said, "The American free market requires fairness and integrity for it to thrive. The CFPA will bring long overdue protections to the market, which will level the playing field and allow true competition to serve the American public once again."

For the full statement and a growing list of signers: http://www.businessforsharedprosperity.org/Financial%20Reform

To arrange interviews with business people around the country, contact Bob Keener at 617-610-6766 or bobkeener@businessforsharedprosperity.org

Business for Shared Prosperity Statement Supporting Consumer Financial Protection Agency

We, the undersigned business owners, executives and investors, support the creation of a strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). This will help restore consumer confidence in the economy and benefit business, especially small businesses, which create most of the nation’s new jobs. Small business owners often rely on credit from a variety of sources, including use of personal credit cards and home equity loans, to start, run and expand their businesses.

The financial crisis has demonstrated the need for a new independent federal agency to promote financial product safety and establish clear, enforceable rules of the road. Business owners and consumers need full and fair disclosure of the costs and risks of financial products and services.

Those pushing misleading products with hidden risks undercut lenders offering sound mortgages and other credit. Reckless credit practices fueled the economic crisis that has driven businesses into bankruptcy and homes into foreclosure, destroyed jobs and wealth, and severely undermined our communities and economic prospects. Many businesses that survived the initial meltdown are being hurt by credit cuts and denials, abrupt interest rate and fee hikes, and other financial practices.

A Consumer Financial Protection Agency will expose unsafe products and services and encourage accountability and fair competition. It will help ensure we do not repeat the reckless practices we are paying dearly for today. Consumers, businesses and our economy will be better off with the establishment of a strong CFPA.

Business for Shared Prosperity is a network of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors committed to building enduring economic progress on a strong foundation of opportunity, equity and innovation.

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