Business Organizations to Senate: Don’t Drop Consumer Financial Protection Agency

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As the fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency hangs in the balance, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, S. Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Business for Shared Prosperity, American Made Alliance, Main Street Alliance, American Business Leaders for Financial Reform and Small Business Owners nationwide tell Congress to pass strong, independent CFPA.

Businesses and consumers need a CFPA with independent rule-making and enforcement authority, not a weak bureau subservient to regulators concerned with protecting large banks rather than protecting small businesses and consumers.

A growing number of business organizations, representing small and larger businesses across the country, are telling senators to stand up for businesses and consumers by approving a strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). These include the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, American Made Alliance, Main Street Alliance, American Business Leaders for Financial Reform, Oregon Small Business Council, Richmond, VA Metropolitan Business League and Atlanta Women in Business, which along with business owners and executives across the country, have signed a statement supporting the CFPA organized by Business for Shared Prosperity.

In the statement sent to Senators today, business leaders say we need a strong, independent CFPA to promote financial product safety, establish clear, enforceable rules of the road, and “help ensure we do not repeat the reckless practices we are paying dearly for today.”

Tim Duncan, Chairman of American Business Leaders for Financial Reform, said, “Businesses and consumers need a CFPA with independent rule-making and enforcement authority, not a weak bureau subservient to regulators concerned with protecting large banks rather than protecting small businesses and consumers. Business leaders who care about the long-term success of their companies and our country understand that a healthy economy is based on earnings, savings, trustworthy credit and fair competition -- not on ripping off American families and businesses. Inadequate regulation fueled the current crisis and inadequate reform will assure a repeat.”

“Small businesses are paying the price for an economic crisis they did not create,” said Frank Knapp, President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the CFPA saying that it would choke off credit to small businesses, they are obviously out of touch with the real crisis in small business lending. While the U.S. Chamber cries crocodile tears for small businesses, it really represents the financial institutions responsible for today’s economic crisis and the pain of small businesses.”

“The reckless practices of our financial industry have devastated businesses, families and our economy,” said U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman. “Banks that profited from predatory lending are choking businesses now by cutting lines of credit or pulling them entirely for firms that have been in business for decades. It is time for Congressional leaders to support the financial protection and wellbeing of all Americans by establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.”

“While the big financial institutions were saved by the government, small businesses don’t have that luxury,” said Lya Sorano, founder of Atlanta Women in Business. “We need real financial reform to alleviate the severe pressure on small businesses now and prevent a future meltdown. In the 1990’s, Washington made the mistake of not listening to Brooksley Born, whose attempts as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate the derivatives markets were thwarted every step of the way. We need to make sure we don’t make the same mistake today by failing to establish a strong, independent CFPA.”

A recent 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.

Other CFPA statement signers include the Illinois Main Street Alliance, Maine Small Business Coalition, Washington Small Business for Secure Health Care Coalition, Virginia Main Street Alliance and Businesses for a Healthy Montana. In addition, hundreds of individual business owners and executives have signed the statement from around the country, and more are signing every day. The full statement appears below.

For the list of current signers:
http://businessforsharedprosperity.org/Financial+Reform/CFPA/Business+Statement+Signatories

To arrange interviews with business organization leaders and business owners and executives around the country, contact Bob Keener at 617-610-6766.

Business 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.

http://www.businessforsharedprosperity.org

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