The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to track down people in the financial service industry who use difficult-to-detect scams to cheat people out of their money. In the few years it’s been in existence, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already returned billions of dollars from criminals in big Wall Street banks and other financial corporations. It was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that held Wells Fargo accountable when the bank set up millions of fake bank accounts using the names of real Americans without their permission.
The bureau punishes financial companies that engage in criminal fraud, and then uses the money to create educational materials designed to help Americans become away of the most common financial services scams. So far, $589 million dollars has been taken from corporate con artists by the bureau. In just 6 years, 29 million Americans have received financial restitution as a result of the bureau.
Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative John Ratcliffe introduced H.R. 1031 and S. 370, a pair of bills that will, if signed into law, completely close down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and create no alternative means of protection for consumers from financial scams. Donald Trump has said that he is willing to sign a bill that destroys the bureau.
Republican eagerness to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is motivated by lobbying from powerful banks that send massive amounts of money to the campaigns and PACs, enabling the re-election of GOP politicians to Congress term after term. When Citibank broke the law and defrauded its customers, the bureau forced the company to pay $35 million dollars in restitution. Chase Bank was forced to pay $30 million for its criminal activities. PayPal had to pay $10 million. These banks are looking for a way to resume their profitable criminal activities without paying the price, but they can only do so if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau no longer stands in their way.
Reacting to Republican efforts to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters said, “Republicans mean to disarm our consumer protections, expose the American public to financial predators, and ultimately steer us in the direction of another Great Depression.”