Financial Reform

Broadband is the "new electricity"

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

The House should pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill on the House floor this week. Among other provisions, it allocates $65 billion to make fast broadband more available -- especially in rural and tribal areas -- and more affordable. That total includes about $14 billion to subsidize access and about $42 billion to deploy broadband. Also, broadband providers would be required to use a new pricing label based on the easy-to-read FDA nutrition labels.

Photo of "Rural Broadband Buildout Project" by Maryland GovPics, via Flickr, some rights reserved.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Consumer Advocates Urge Court to Block Use of Findings of Unlawful Trump-Era CFPB Taskforce

Democracy Forward, the attorneys for U.S. PIRG, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Professor Kathleen Engel, filed a motion for summary judgement Friday in U.S. Court in our lawsuit against the Trump-era CFPB's so-called Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law.

Will Executive Order Slow The March of the Mega-Banks?

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

President Biden's recent Executive Order on promoting competition in the economy includes several specific recommendations on improving competition in the financial sector. It proposes that the CFPB give consumers more choices by giving them control of their financial data. It proposes that regulators strengthen oversight of bank mergers, which for years have been routinely rubber-stamped. While it doesn't specifically address the payment system oligopoly that raises the prices everyone pays, lowering swipe fees is also a logical outcome of the EO.

Cover photo of the Marriner Eccles Federal Reserve Building, Washington, DC by Rafael Saldaña via Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.

House to take key vote to protect consumers today

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Today, the U.S. House takes a key vote. HR2668, the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, would restore the FTC's Section 13(b) authority to hold wrongdoers accountable and compensate consumer-victims harmed by their actions. The Supreme Court had recently ruled that the power, used for over 40 years to recover billions, was not clearly articulated in law.

Cover photo via Flickr by Mr. Blue MauMau, some rights reserved.

House to vote on restoring FTC powers to compensate victims of corporate crime

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Next week, the full House of  Representatives is expected to vote on HR2668, critical legislation to restore Federal Trade Commission authority to disgorge ill-gotten gains from corporate wrongdoers to use to compensate victims of the crime. This spring, the Supreme Court had held that the power was not clearly defined in law, even though courts had upheld the authority for many years, allowing the FTC to return billions of dollars  to consumers.

-- Cover graphic of FTC Building via Flickr, by Boston Public Library, Some rights reserved.

Virtual wallet, payment app complaints skyrocket

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Consumers increasingly are using digital peer-to-peer payment (P2P) apps for convenience. However, that convenience can quickly turn to inconvenience as the result of these apps’ often-confusing design, poor customer service and propensity for being used for scams and fraud. The number of written complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about these apps and other financial tools in the “mobile or digital wallet” category has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching new heights in 2021.

Cover photo by grinvalds via IStock 

Don’t let Sacklers off the hook for role in opioid crisis

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

We’re backing legislation to prevent the billionaire Sackler family from using the corporate bankruptcy of its company Purdue Pharma (makers of Oxycontin and other opioids) to avoid personal liability in ongoing lawsuits by some 24 state Attorneys General attempting to bring some justice to the families of the victims of the opioid crisis. Congress held a hearing Tuesday, June 8 at noon ET.

Credit CARD Act of 2009 didn’t break the world, it fixed a broken marketplace

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Twelve years ago today I was in the Rose Garden for the signing of the Credit CARD Act. It ended many unfair practices by banks intended to gouge consumers.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Statement: Credit bureaus need to do more than extend free weekly credit reports for another year

Our statement in response to the announcement by the Big Three credit bureaus that they would extend weekly free credit reports for another year in response to the pandemic. They can and  should do much more.

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