By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR
In less than six years since opening its doors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has brought transparency to the remittance industry, stopped credit card companies from adding on products that consumers never agreed to, and required mortgage lenders to ask applicants for proof of their income before making home loans. Its creation is one of the most important accomplishments of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
Despite the CFPB’s hard work on behalf of American families, efforts are underway to dismantle the agency. One such attempt is the “Financial Choice Act of 2017,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s vehicle to de-regulate the financial industry and dismantle the CFPB.
While Congress works to roll back the very safeguards put in place to protect us from another financial crisis, a new NCLR and Latino Decisions poll shows wide opposition among Latino voters to the deregulation that led up to the financial crisis and shows clear Latino support for tougher consumer protections.
The poll found that 81 percent of Latino voters—a key demographic in American elections—believe that financial companies would be more likely to take advantage of consumers if the government has fewer rules on banks, credit card companies, payday lenders, and mortgage companies. Among Latino millennials, the belief that fewer rules leads companies to take advantage of consumers exceeds 75 percent. Consensus that fewer rules means consumers are taken advantage of also reaches across political lines. According to the new poll, 85 percent of Latino Democrats, 70 percent of Latino Republicans, and 78 percent of Latino Independents believe that fewer rules negatively impact consumers.
The new poll also found that 75 percent of Latino voters agree that the financial industry is still engaged in the kind of reckless practices that led to the financial crisis. Among Latina women, 76 percent agree that companies would take advantage of consumers if the government has fewer rules.
Among Latino millennials, 84 percent agree that the financial industry is still engaged in reckless practices. These trends continue across political parties: 71 percent of Latino Democrats, 66 percent of Latino Republicans, and 84 percent of Latino Independents believe consumers would be taken advantage of if government has fewer rules.
Finally, rather than de-regulate the financial industry, 81 percent of Latino voters agree that financial companies should be held accountable with tougher rules and enforcement. Support for tougher financial rules and enforcement is especially high among Latina women (83 percent) and Latino millennials (88 percent).
Agreement that financial companies should be held accountable with tougher rules and enforcement is overwhelming shared by Latino Democrats, Latino Republicans, and Latino Independents, who support such regulation at 80 percent, 72 percent, and 87 percent, respectively.
These poll numbers demonstrate the overwhelming support for consumer protection among Latino voters and a clear opposition to the type of de-regulation that would expose average consumers to the heightened risk of abuse. Latinos, who were among the hardest hit by the financial crisis, understand that consumer protection helps ensure that our American economic engine—American workers and consumers—can maintain and build wealth for this generation and the next.