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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

October 15, 2012 In The News
Maxine Waters and big banks are rarely on the same page.
 
But as the California congresswoman prepares to become the top Democrat on the House Financial Services panel, she is engaging in an aggressive outreach effort with some of the very institutions that she has heavily criticized for their role in the financial crisis and recent home foreclosure scandals.
 
From organizing industry roundtables to one-on-one meetings with Wells Fargo's CEO to holding fundraisers targeting banking donors, Waters is opening the door to big banks and Wall Street.
 
July 25, 2012 In The News

By Suzanne Barlyn

July 25 | Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:22pm EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require certain investment advisers pay fees to help fund adviser examinations conducted by regulators.

July 25, 2012 Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) today introduced the Investment Adviser Examination Improvement Act of 2012, which would provide the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the authority to impose and collect user fees on investment advisors for the purpose of increasing the number and frequency of SEC examinations.  This bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank and Michael Capuano.  The Congresswoman's statement on the introduction of her bill is below:

July 12, 2012 In The News

WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) - A fresh burst of scandals, including allegations that major banks tried to manipulate global benchmark interest rates and another case of missing customer funds at a futures brokerage, has raised Washington's ire on both sides of the political aisle.

May 18, 2012 In The News

Corporate settlement policy unlikely to be changed by Congress

5/17/2012
COMMENTS (0)

WASHINGTON, May 17 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers showed little support on Thursday for tinkering with a regulatory policy of settling cases without requiring defendants to admit to misconduct.

May 8, 2012 Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters sent the following letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, commending him on his strong stance [Article: https://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/07/479207/paul-ryan-volcker-rule/ ] in favor of the concepts expressed in the "Volcker Rule." In addition, Rep. Waters asked him to join her in the effort to ensure transparent and workable implementation of the rule. The full text of the letter is below:


Chairman Paul Ryan

December 14, 2011 In The News



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October 28, 2011 Press Release

Congresswoman Waters (CA), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, today led 15 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives, renewing her call for U.S. bank regulators to publicly release information regarding the steps that mortgage servicers are taking to prevent illegal foreclosure practices.

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