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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

May 18, 2015 Opinion Piece

As ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, I've spent the years since the financial crisis trying to provide relief to Americans devastated by the plague of home foreclosures. 

It’s been challenging work.  Programs the government put in place to aid borrowers often were insufficient, hard to understand and needlessly complex.  Though the process created many problems, one silver lining is that we’ve learned important lessons about how government can more effectively help individuals victimized by predatory practices in the financial marketplace. 

April 28, 2015 Opinion Piece

Originally appeared on Medium.

Pamela Hunt started working when she was just 14 years old. She’s now a 55-year-old home health care worker in Ledyard, Connecticut, and is the mother of eight children. Like so many Americans, she boldly decided to go back to school after long desiring a career change.

March 23, 2015 In The News
The Securities and Exchange Commission faces new pressure from Congress to make it harder for lawbreaking companies to hold on to important privileges that help them raise money in the markets.
February 3, 2015 Press Release

Waters Statement on the President's Budget Request

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the release of President Obama's fiscal year 2016 budget request, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, and member of the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, applauded the President for including a number of important spending increases for HIV/AIDS programs, Alzheimer's research and for the government agencies that are charged with policing Wall Street.

January 9, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, the Root Magazine listed Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) as number two on its list of “People to Watch in 2015,” acknowledging her efforts as the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Financial Services and for her leadership in “tackling” economic issues important to moderate and middle income Americans.

 

September 16, 2014 Press Release

Waters Applauds CFPB Action Against Corinthian Colleges

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, expressed support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's announcement that it would take legal action against Corinthian Colleges, Inc. for its predatory lending practices.

 

September 10, 2014 Press Release

Citing the countless Americans who have experienced heartbreak, frustration and devastation as a result of incomplete or erroneous information on their credit reports, today Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, released a proposal that would make sweeping reforms to our nation's consumer reporting system.

July 22, 2014 Press Release

As the House of Representatives considers the harmful Republican financial services and general government funding proposal, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, offered three amendments designed to provide adequate resources to our financial regulators.

June 11, 2014 In The News

The request for discussion of the bill, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters last year, is in connection with CFPB research on the effects of medical debt on consumers' credit scores.

Following the May 20, 2014, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report on findings that consumers' credit scores may be overly penalized for medical debt, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), called upon House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), to hold a hearing on the issue and her proposed legislation to address the problem.

May 27, 2014 Press Release

At a time when student debt has reached record levels, and studies show those with excessive debt may be unable to gain access to credit for important purposes like a home purchase, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) is taking steps to ensure that predatory financial products are not taking additional dollars out of the pockets of our nation's graduates.

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