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Waters Applauds Senate Action to Protect Consumers from Trump-Era Predatory Lending Practices

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of S.J. Res 15, sponsored by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), which would overturn the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) so-called “true lender” rule, allowing for the protection of consumers from predatory lending and ensuring nonbank lenders cannot evade state consumer protections and small dollar interest rate caps.

“From day one, I pushed back on actions by Trump’s appointees at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to help financial institutions at the expense of consumers. Trump’s appointees to the OCC abused their authority to expose consumers to triple digit interest rates and force people already struggling financially into worse circumstances, including bankruptcy. Instead of working with banks to help consumers during the pandemic, the OCC chose to help predatory lenders while also undermining the Community Reinvestment Act.

“I’m pleased that the Senate has passed this resolution of disapproval in a bipartisan way to uphold sensible protections for consumers at a time when they need them the most. Now it is time for the House to act. I will call on House leadership to bring this resolution to the floor for a vote as soon as possible.”

On March 11, 2021, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a virtual hearing entitled, “Slipping Through the Cracks: Policy Options to Help America’s Consumer During the Pandemic,” and considered draft legislation to overturn the OCC’s true lender rule. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) subsequently introduced H.J. Res. 35, which is the House companion bill to S.J. Res. 15.

On December 4, 2020, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter to then President-Elect Joseph R. Biden urging his appointees to rescind the OCC’s true lender rule.

On June 1, 2020, Chairwoman Waters issued a statement regarding the OCC’s issuance of a final rule on interest rates on transferred loans, which also undermined protections for consumers during the pandemic.

On May 18, 2020, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter to Jerome Powell, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, following up on conversations to ensure that the Federal Reserve and Treasury programs and facilities to respond to the COVID-19 crisis do not support predatory lenders. 

On May 1, 2020, Chairwoman Waters also wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza, encouraging them to deny predatory payday lenders access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and prioritize providing loans to millions of responsible small businesses. 

On February 5, 2020, Chairwoman Waters convened a full committee hearing entitled, “Rent-A-Bank Schemes and New Debt Traps: Assessing Efforts to Evade State Consumer Protections and Interest Rate Caps,” where witnesses urged regulators not to take these kind of actions to weaken protections against bank payday loans.  

On April 30, 2019, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing entitled, “Ending Debt Traps in the Payday and Small Dollar Credit Industry,” where witnesses discussed how predatory payday loans create a wealth draining debt trap in our communities.

In August 2018, then Ranking Member Waters issued a statement warning about the Treasury Department’s dangerous recommendations about rolling back payday lending protections.

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