- 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 Schools - Congresswoman 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.
- Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights - Congresswoman 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 Operations - Congresswoman 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
by Charles J. Lewis
Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, a veteran of Wall Street and housing finance, says he hopes to play a major role in the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two failed government-sponsored companies that have helped homebuyers get mortgages, but which are now in government custody.
Last week, the Obama administration urged Congress to consider options on reforming the two companies, which have cost taxpayers $154 billion so far, making them the most expensive bailout in the financial crisis.
`To play an active role'
By Stacy Kaper
Of all the things missing from a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the inconclusive Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report on the causes of the financial meltdown, the most obvious was any sense of irony.
Lawmakers' chief criticism of the report — that it broke down into a partisan skirmish with a fractured and confusing narrative about the causes of the crisis — was only mimicked and amplified by their own behavior.
Republicans criticized a government report on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis as biased and political on Wednesday. Democrats fired back that Republicans want to roll back federal regulations of the financial industry.
by Peter Schroeder
A hearing intended to explore the underpinnings of the financial crisis provided a fresh opportunity for lawmakers to fight ongoing partisan battles.
Six of the ten members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) appeared before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday to discuss the panel's report, which marks the first official governmental take on the financial crisis that drove the recession.
by Sewell Chan
The government inquiry into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis was the focus of intense partisan bickering Wednesday at a House hearing.
Republicans called the final 545-page report a political exercise whose findings were mostly preordained, while Democrats defended its main conclusion: that Wall Street risk-taking and regulatory negligence combined to produce an avoidable disaster.
Seeking to assuage corporate executives, top U.S. regulators on Tuesday insisted that expected rules on holding collateral, or margin, will focus on financial institutions, rather than commercial companies worried about new costs that could limit their hedging activities.
"Proposed rules on margin requirements should focus only on transactions between financial entities rather than those transactions that involve non-financial end-users," said Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler at a Capitol Hill hearing on the $600 trillion derivatives market.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Committee, delivered the following remarks.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, led her Democratic colleagues on the full Committee in defense of funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission. She delivered the following remarks:
"Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) delivered the following opening remarks:
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining me for this panel on 'Surviving the Recession and Accelerating the Recovery.'"
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Capital Markets Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at a press conference today on funding for the SEC, which under the Republican budget plan would revert to FY 2008 levels. Congresswoman Waters was joined by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the Financial Services Committee's Ranking Member, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Financial Institutions Subcommittee: