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Sad realities illustrate dire importance of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

By Heather Arkwright, Public Citizen communications intern.

With the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law coming up next week, it is imperative that the Obama administration kick the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) into gear—before more innocent people are taken advantage of.

Take, for example, Mildred Morris, a single mother in West Virginia who used her car title to secure a $700 loan to pay for her son’s freshman college dorm fee, the Center for Public Integrity revealed Friday.  Fast Auto Loans, the company Morris used, charged an interest rate of 300 percent annually, a ridiculous sum, especially considering that her loan was just for $700.  After months of payments adding up to more than $1,000, Morris gave up and Fast Auto Loans drove her car away.

The CFPB would regulate companies such as Fast Auto Loans to make sure that loans provide value—not landmines—to borrowers.  However, the big guys on Wall Street are trying to pass bills to stall the bureau, ensuring that it’s “business as usual” for them and more fees, financial tricks and snares for everyone else.

Here at Public Citizen, we advocate for the CFPB to be set in motion without the hands, feet and interests of Wall Street involved.  We believe that Elizabeth Warren, the acting director of the bureau, would ensure that the rights of the American people—not the Big Banks—are the ones being protected.

Urge President Barack Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, before more cars are commandeered by unfair loan companies.

Sign Public Citizen’s petition to appoint Elizabeth Warren. (More than 32,000 of you already have!) It’s imperative that a leader is in place before the launch of this important consumer agency.