Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This week: Call in for consumer financial protection and Wall Street accountability

This week we're joining with groups across the country to ask you to call your Senators to demand creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and stronger regulatory reform of the financial industry--it's time to hold Wall Street accountable for the damage they've done to the economy, including $11 trillion in lost family wealth, $14 trillion in bailouts, and more than 8 million jobs.

Join a National Call-In Week, today through March 4, and speak out now. Find contact information here or dial this toll-free number provided by SEIU: 866-544-7573 (note--as of yesterday this number asked you for a zip code and then connected you automatically with one of your senators--to reach the other you'll have to dial directly).

The first senators to consider reform legislation, including the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, are those that sit on the Banking and Agriculture Committee: Sen. Lincoln (AR), Sen. Bennet (CO), Sen. Dodd (CT), Sen. Bayh (IN), Sen. Tester (MT), Sen. Menendez (NJ), Sen. Schumer & Sen. Gillibrand (NY), Sen. Reed (RI), Sen. Johnson (SD), and Sen. Warner (VA).

But even if your senator isn't on this list, make the call--we need a groundswell from across the country in favor of strong reform. In the first nine months of 2009, the financial services industry spent over $344 million on lobbying, while the US Chamber of Commerce spent $2 million on advertising, including ads attacking the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. As Paul Krugman points out, the House already passed a fairly strong reform bill, but Senate Republicans are blocking further movement, and Democrats are wavering. That's why you need to call this week. Money talks--we need to speak out too!

Tell your Senators:

  • To vote for financial reform that creates an independent consumer protection agency--not just a new department under an existing regulator
  • To empower the agency to rein in the kind of financial products--deceptive mortgages and exorbitant overdraft fees--that are enriching banks at the expense of struggling families
  • That creation of an independent CFPA will streamline federal regulation, increase industry accountability, and reduce the profitability of the kind of high-risk, high-consumer-cost products that precipitated the foreclosure crisis.
For more background, see this report by Demos Foundation. And thanks for calling!

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