Consumer Coalition Lobbies Ahead of Financial Reform

A number of advocacy groups locked at the elbows this morning to call for widespread changes in the financial markets, in step with expected policy changes to financial regulation set to be unveiled by the Obama Administration on Wednesday. The new initiative is called Americans for Financial Reform, and includes members from all types of interest groups, from former Soros fund managers, to AARP legislative policy directors to firms such as the National People’s Action. During a conference call to announce strategy, and to rail a little against the financial markets, the speakers expressed their support for Obama’s upcoming announcement for a new regulatory regime, as long as such an entity is publicly accountable. “Wells Fargo is pulling money on a die casting plant,” in the United States, said George Goehl, from the National People’s Action, “yet Wells Fargo received $25m in Tarp money.” Goehl hinted that this decision seems unfair considering that Americans’ jobs could be lost as a result and that the Federal funding would be better directed more broadly into the country’s economy. The coalition intends to make its biggest impact through lobbying for stronger consumer protection services. “We want to expand strengthened and enforced regulation. Only 6% of subprime loans were covered by the Community Reinvestment Act,” adds Jim Carr, COO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in response to a question posed by HousingWire, adding that if the 1970s Act would have been properly implemented in the new millennia, “we wouldn’t have this crisis.” Members of the association did not seem automatically opposed to new initiatives, such as APD Solutions, a new capital provider of socially responsible investing, despite its affiliation with Australia’s Macquarie Group a global financial firm of the caliber the coalition vilified today. “Unfair and deceptive mortgage products that disproportionally targeted disadvantaged families destroy communities,” Carr argues, echoing a common refrain among consumer advocates. In the short-term, however, the Americans for Financial Reform hopes to conduct “more specific work around REO,” according to Carr. Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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