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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Consumer Protection

Priorities

  • Protecting and Strengthening the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFPB - The 2007-2008 financial crisis was the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression: Nearly $13 trillion in household wealth simply disappeared, with the retirement and savings accounts of many swept away. All told, around 9 million individuals were displaced from their homes, many of whom may never again have the opportunity of homeownership. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which has had an deep-seated impact on the financial services industry. Regulators have taken important steps to implement Dodd-Frank. As a result, regulators are on the lookout for systemic risk, have taken steps to prevent future bailouts, have added transparency and structure to the once-opaque derivatives market, reined in credit ratings agencies, and implemented new investor protections. Consumers now have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on their side, which has provided billions in relief to millions of consumers through its enforcement actions, while also regulating industries that have historically lacked strong federal oversight. As Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Waters continuously fights to preserve and strengthen Dodd-Frank from partisan and industry attacks to weaken this historic legislation and leave consumers vulnerable to another crisis.

 

  • Ending Predatory Practices by For-Profit, Post-Secondary SchoolsCongresswoman Waters has been a longtime advocate in the fight against the unlawful and predatory actions of for-profit post-secondary institutions. Since her time as a Councilwoman in Los Angeles, she has fought to hold for-profit institutions accountable to the students they purport to serve. She continues to be a leading voice in Congress on this issue protecting our most vulnerable students and veterans’ right to a quality education will not riddle them with burdensome and expansive debt, but  will provide them with the opportunity to earn a living and lead productive lives.

 

  • Eliminating Risky Financial Products - The recent financial crisis was sparked by banks and other institutions steering everyday consumers into risky financial products such as subprime mortgages which ultimately led to millions of foreclosed homes or pay day lending loans with exorbitant interest rates that plunged the American consumer further into debt. Congresswoman Waters believes Congress and the federal financial regulators must put an end to their distribution because they are robbing hard-working people of their life savings and robbing the nation of its middle class.

 

Accomplishments

  • Credit Cardholders’ Bill of RightsCongresswoman Waters was an original co-sponsor of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights (H.R. 627).  The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights protects cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases, excessive fees, due-date gimmicks, and double-cycle billing. The legislation also cracks down on misleading and deceptive marketing by credit card companies, prohibits them from issuing credit cards to minors, and curbs practices that result in high fees on low-income consumers with weak credit histories.  In addition, the bill empowers cardholders by giving them information and rights they need to make important financial decisions.

 

  • Support and Defense of the CFPB - Congresswoman Waters is the lead Democrat supporting and defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. With her support, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to date has already returned $5.3 billion to 15 million consumers who have been subjected to unfair and deceptive practices. She has worked with the Bureau to create rules-of-the-road to make sure predatory mortgages never again strip wealth from American families and endanger our economy. Congresswoman Waters has also worked with regulators to institute rules to protect retirees and other investors from the practices that wreaked havoc on savers in 2008.

 

  • Introduction of the CLASS Act - In response to the predatory practices at the nation’s for-profit colleges, Congresswoman Waters, alongside Senator Richard Durbin, introduced the CLASS Act, which forbids schools from including mandatory arbitration and class action ban clauses from enrollment agreements. Mandatory arbitration and bans on class actions effectively prevent students from having their day in court when harmed by a for-profit college. Congresswoman Waters believes that students should have the right to join together and exercise their legal rights to obtain relief if they believed they have been wronged or harmed.

 

  • Divestment from Pay Day Lending OperationsCongresswoman Waters recently held a first-of-its-kind panel of lawmakers and religious leaders to discuss the impact predatory payday and small-dollar lending practices are having in communities across America. Additionally, Congresswoman Waters has also called the country’s most notable endowments and state retirement plans to begin to take steps to divest their interests in one of the country’s largest payday lenders.

More on Consumer Protection

July 27, 2017 Press Release

Congresswoman Waters Joins Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren to Fight for Consumer Protections

March 17, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C., Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued a statement on the Department of Education’s new proposal to further steps to protect students for predatory for-profit institutions of higher education. As part of an ongoing rule making negotiation centered on debt relief for defrauded students, the Department’s latest suggestions include eliminating mandatory arbitration and class action ban clauses in enrollment agreements.

March 9, 2016 Press Release

Ranking Members Scott and Waters: Student Borrowers Deserve Immediate Debt Relief after Attending Schools Engaged In Deceptive & Predatory Practices

 

Democratic Leaders on Education and Financial Services Committees Press for Relief to Groups of Students Who Have Been Victims of Predatory Practices

 

January 4, 2016 In The News

Sarah Wire asked members of California’s congressional delegation about goals for 2016.

They ranged from the professional — Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said he has ideas about reining in the National Security Agency and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) is looking for bipartisanship — to the lighthearted — Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) wants to see more of his kids’ swim meets and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) hopes to see Cal State Fullerton win the College World Series.

November 10, 2015 Press Release

LOS ANGELES – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement on the fiftieth anniversary of the Higher Education Act:

 

“Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 – a landmark piece of legislation that decades later is still opening doors for students all across our country.”

 

November 5, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, introduced the Students Before Profits Act, a bill recently introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Christopher Murphy and Richard Durbin, and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren, and Sherrod Brown. This legislation protects students against deceptive practices by predatory for-profit institutions of higher education.

September 14, 2015 In The News

When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen visited Cleveland in July, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown accompanied her at a couple of events and used the opportunity to make a suggestion: Be cautious about hiking interest rates.

August 6, 2015 Press Release

LOS ANGELES -- Yesterday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and her fellow California Delegation Democrat colleague, Karen Bass, joined in sending a letter to the California State Senate President pro Tempore, Kevin de Leon and the Speaker of the California Assembly, Toni Atkins, urging them to support legislation that will impose a moratorium on the Ellis Act, a California law that is increasingly being abused to evict hundreds of veterans, elderly persons, and families.

 

June 22, 2015 In The News

WASHINGTON — Too little, too late.

That is how some consumer groups and lawmakers describe new federal guidelines meant to encourage banks and other financial companies to hire, promote and properly treat racial minorities and other historically disadvantaged groups.

June 17, 2015 Opinion Piece

In February, federal prosecutors began a 90-day examination to determine whether to bring cases against individuals for their role in the 2008 financial crisis.

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