Saturday, June 10, 2017

House votes to dismantle key Dodd-Frank regulations
"The Financial Choice Act would let the president fire the heads of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) at will, and the CFPB would rely on Congress for funding. This would allow members of Congress to de-fund the agency. Yana Miles, senior legislative counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit research and policy organization, said this move would politicize the agency. “The director of an agency would be moving with the political wind,” Miles said. “If there is a law on the books that already says if there are big problems with how someone handles an agency, there is process for removing them, why make it at-will? That just politicizes the agency.” In addition, the bill would limit the CFPB’s ability to use and make public their consumer database, which allows people to make complaints against companies. This database lets the agency identify patterns of abuse and allows the public to learn more information about companies — so limiting its use is dangerous for consumers. The Choice Act would also allow financial institutions to get exemptions from requirements that test how banks would weather a financial downturn. In terms of oversight over mortgages, Miles said the bill “blows truck-sized loopholes” through standards that prohibit creditors from disregarding a consumer’s ability to repay the loan when they make a high-priced mortgage loan. “This is what caused the financial meltdown. When we remove safeguards put in place specifically to avoid another recession, we’re asking for another recession,” Miles said. House Republicans made the claim that Dodd-Frank is harming small businesses and has harmed the country’s economy. Before the House voted on the bill, Rep. Hensarling said the credit unions and community banks were “suffering under load of the Dodd-Frank Act.” But that argument that the law hurt lending isn’t supported by the facts."