Faith Leaders, Consumer Advocates, Call on Senators Manchin and Capito to Stand Strong Against Financial Scammers, Protect Consumer Watchdog

For Immediate Release

Contact Linda Frame

(Charleston) - West Virginians need and deserve a strong watchdog to keep big banks and shady lenders from ripping them off and Senators Manchin and Capito should not be fooled into doing the bidding of these special interests who want to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, faith leaders and advocates said today.

Leaders from the West Virginia Council of Churches, Covenant House, the Partnership of African American Churches and the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy spoke out today in support of the Consumer Bureau or CFPB, created in the wake of the Great Recession to keep unregulated financial products like subprime mortgages from ever again threatening the economy.

Currently, the CFPB is run by a single director who has the ability to make decisions and move the work forward quickly and effectively. The result has been $11.8 billion returned to consumers who have been ripped off by banks and other financial services, as well a strong set of rules governing industries like debt collection and payday lending that are well known for their abusive practices.

But a strong push is underway by lobbyists for big banks and shady lenders to replace the director with a five-member commission – a clear attempt to make it inefficient and ineffective.

"We all know that if you want to kill a good idea and not look like you are doing it, call for a study or turn it into a commission," Ellen Allen, Executive Director with the Covenant House said. "That is exactly what is going on here, and real people are going to be hurt if we allow it to continue."

"It's no surprise that big banks, payday lenders and the like want to get rid of an agency that has caught them in the act of cheating and lying and forced them to repay the customers they stole from," said Linda Frame with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

"Senators Manchin and Capito are smart enough to see through their transparent attempts to keep the CFPB from functioning and we hope we can count on them to support the people of West Virginia who deserve to know that someone is looking out for them," said Reverend Jeff Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches.

"Because payday lending is illegal in West Virginia, our working families have saved $48 million each year in fees. Now is not the time to force consumers to fend for themselves," said Reverend James Patterson, Executive Director of the Partnership of African American Churches. "West Virginians need a consumer watchdog they can count on to keep their wallets safe. We also need Senators Manchin and Capito to keep the CFPB intact and stop payday lenders at our borders."

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