Nov. 1, 2017
Trump’s Savage Attack on Veterans, Servicemembers and Consumers Is a Gift to Big Banks
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: President Donald Trump today signed a Congressional Review Act resolution overturning the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule, which would give individuals their day in court against abusive and criminal financial companies. Lobbyists for small banks and credit unions have opposed the CFPB rule even though 97 percent of credit unions (PDF) have no arbitration clauses in their credit card contracts and only 8 percent of banks and credit unions – primarily large banks – have the clauses in their checking account agreements. According to media reports, Trump was joined at the signing by bank executives and lobbyists who have opposed the measure.
By signing this resolution, President Donald Trump is allowing banks and other financial institutions to rip off American consumers with impunity. Make no mistake: This is a savage and brutal attack on American veterans, servicemembers and consumers – and Main Street Americans will pay the price for years, if not decades, to come.
The CFPB rule was a no-brainer that would give individuals their day in court against corporate actors who swindle, cheat or mislead their customers. Evidently, the GOP’s love fest with banks and corporate lobbyists is stronger than their desire to protect consumers from corporate rip-offs and abuses. Adding insult to injury, the president was surrounded by his corporate allies as he signed this heinous measure in a ceremony that was closed to the public and the press.
This rule was overwhelmingly popular with voters in both parties. More than 300 advocacy organizations signed a letter supporting the rule, and nearly 100,000 citizens signed a petition urging the U.S. Senate to protect consumer rights. In addition, The Military Coalition (PDF) – representing 5.5 million servicemembers – the American Legion, 29 military groups (PDF) and leading veterans supported the rule. Literally hours after proclaiming November to be “National Veterans and Military Families Month,” Trump has shafted veterans and military families.
Overturning the CFPB’s arbitration rule is a shameless payback to corporate interests at the expense of the American people, one that voters across the ideological spectrum will not soon forget.