Oct. 2, 2017
In the Wake of Corporate Scandals at Equifax and Wells Fargo, Congress Has A Chance to Do Right By Consumers
Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen
The scandals engulfing Wells Fargo and Equifax aren’t unique, but are symptomatic of a larger trend of big banks and corporations escaping accountability for widespread wrongdoing and greed. One important way to protect all consumers is for the U.S. Senate to vote to uphold the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau rule that allows consumers to band together to sue financial bad actors in court. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other big business proponents are pushing lawmakers to repeal the rule – evidence of the business forces’ latest attempt to ensure they can cheat consumers with impunity.
Congress also should immediately:
• Pass legislation that provides free credit freezes for all consumers;
• Investigate whether Equifax executives engaged in insider trading by selling shares of Equifax stocks weeks before the hack was made public;
• Urge Equifax and Wells Fargo finally to do right by their customers and remove forced arbitration clauses from all of their contracts; and
• Encourage institutions to disclose their lobbying and political expenditures so the American public can better understand corporate influence-peddling.
Congress has an opportunity this week to stand with hardworking Americans and demand real accountability from big banks and corporations that place profits over the interests of regular folks who play by the rules and have no fancy lobbyist to defend their interests.