Chamber Of Commerce Attacks Proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Maybe you forgot about the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in all the health care sound and fury, but it’s still out there, and financial companies are still very much against it. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching an ad campaign that shifts the focus from credit card companies to smaller businesses that they insist will be affected, although the scope of the proposed agency is still kind of unclear.

The Chamber of Commerce insists that the CFPA reserves the right to exert control over mom and pop stores—their example is a local butcher—who extend credit to consumers. The language of the CFPA indicates it would monitor any business that directly or indirectly offers a financial product. So does that cover small-scale lines of credit from a shop owner to his customers? We don’t know. And we’re not sure that just because a business is small, it shouldn’t have to follow some basic rules for how it extends credit. At any rate, you may start seeing or hearing the ads soon:

The business lobby intends to expand its campaign to include nationwide TV and radio ads later this month. Its lobbying push could feature other small-business owners, such as accountants, landlords and event planners.

Also, if you want a good laugh, please check out this outrageous statement by a lobbyist who argues that financial institutions are here to help, not take advantage. (If I were king, lobbyists would have to wear clown makeup.)

“We want to protect consumers. The CFPA doesn’t accomplish that goal,” says Scott Talbott, lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents big financial companies such as Citigroup, GMAC Financial and Capital One. “Each state could write its own laws. This will destroy uniformity, increase costs and confuse customers.”

“Chamber Ad Campaign Targets Consumer Agency” [Wall Street Journal]
“Industry lines up to fight consumer protection agency” [USAToday]