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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/15/16

Make No Mistake -- This Business With Wells Fargo Isn't Over

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
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Why are the giant banks still fighting to kill off the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

Why have Republicans advanced a bill to take the legs out from under the CFPB?

Why did one Republican presidential candidate after another -- including Donald Trump -- promise that if they were in charge, they would repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, including the CFPB?

We got a hint a few days ago: Wells Fargo proved that giant banks still think the rules don't apply to them. Nope. They think they can cheat their customers, stuff their pockets with money, and still walk away.

Over the past five years, Wells Fargo created more than 2 million checking and credit card accounts that weren't authorized by its customers. Employees who had strict sales quotas to hit would secretly open and transfer money in and out of those fraudulent accounts, costing thousands of customers millions of dollars in fees.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went after this fraud with everything they've got. Late last week, the CFPB announced that Wells Fargo customers are getting all of their money back and Wells Fargo will pay a record-breaking $100 million fine to the agency.

Make no mistake -- this business with Wells Fargo isn't over. How could the bank create more than 2 million fake accounts without senior executives knowing? How could the bank fire more than 5000 low-level employees for misconduct without stopping to wonder whether there was a problem with the firm's incentives or culture? I think there are more questions for Wells Fargo to answer.

But the CFPB has done its job: spearheading an investigation, watching out for consumers, imposing a fine, and making the whole stinky mess public. And that's why the big banks and their Republican friends want to leash up the CFPB -- because this is a government agency that is working for the people.

The consumer agency investigates giant frauds, but it also helps people one at a time. The CFPB complaint hotline has a website and a phone number you can use when you have a problem with your bank, credit card, mortgage company, or student loan servicer. So far, the hotline has processed nearly a million complaints, big and small. Not only does the CFPB work to get you a response on your complaint, but they also use the information to find those large, widespread cases of fraud and abuse.

Incidents like Wells Fargo come to light the more people contact the CFPB about banks' bad behavior, so if you have a complaint, submit it here (or bookmark this website).

The Wells Fargo case is one more reason we need to fight for a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The big banks and financial institutions hate the CFPB, and they have bills pending in the House and Senate to get rid of it. The Republican Party's 2016 platform calls for the CFPB to be "abolished." The only way to stop the right-wing attacks on the consumer agency is for all of us to fight back.

The CFPB is on our side -- but we need to use it and to fight for it.

Thanks for being a part of this,


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Elizabeth Warren was assistant to the president and a special adviser to the Treasury secretary on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She single-handedly set us this bureau, putting in place the building blocks for an agency that will (more...)

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