Reining in Wall Street

STANDING UP FOR CONSUMERS IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETPLACE—For more than 20 years, Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski has helped us stand up against big banks and credit card companies.

A Consumer Cop On the Financial Beat

You work hard for your money. You should be able to save, invest and generally manage your money without fear of being trapped, tricked or ripped off by the institutions you are trusting with your financial future. And from the 2008 economic collapse, we know how big of an impact those institutions can have on our economy when they play fast and loose with our money. 

Since 2009, the solution has been clear. We need to have fair, clear, transparent and enforceable rules that protect consumers in the financial marketplace. Now, we know we can get there through the work of an agency that has those principles at the core of its mission — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.   

The CFPB Gets the Job Done

Despite the fact that the CFPB is not widely known, we’ve already seen their financial oversight return nearly $12 billion to consumers … in just five years. The CFPB holds big banks, debt collectors, and lenders accountable. Here are a few examples of some of the cases the CFPB has taken on:


When American Honda Finance used discriminatory pricing to rip off African-American, Hispanic, and Asia/ Pacific Island borrowers who paid too much for car loans, the CFPB returned $24 million to these consumers.


The Department of Justice and 47 states joined the CFPB in a $216 million action against JP Morgan Chase Bank for illegal debt collection practices affecting over half a million Americans.


When it was discovered that Wells Fargo employees were opening unauthorized debit and credit accounts using their customer's information, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for fraud.


The CFPB fined Equifax andTransUnion — two of the three largest credit reporting agencies — $5 million for selling inflated credit scores to consumers that were different from ones actually used by lenders and returned $17 million to those harmed by the deception.

But the CFPB doesn't just help consumers get their money back, it levels the financial playing field. The CFPB has several specialized departments for veterans, senior citizens, new homeowners, college students, and low-income consumers that seek to educate the public on how to stay safe and provide them with the tools they need to keep their finances secure.

Tell Your Senators: Stand Up For Consumers

Almost every day we hear about some new way of tricking, trapping and ripping off consumers. And despite the fact that tricks like these led directly to the 2008 financial collapse, some Wall Street banks are spending upwards of a million dollars every day to roll back the rules and the CFPB — the very agency that was created to keep them in check. Now, many legislators in Washington want to defund or destroy the CFPB.

Effective consumer protections aren't some sort of luxury we can't afford — they're hallmarks of a great country. As founders and leaders of the movement to create and protect the CFPB, we're working to make sure that our success not only sticks, but that we can build upon it.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB Criticizes Banks Re Account Opening and Overdrafts, Offers Consumer Tips | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the CFPB is holding a field hearing in Louisville on problems consumers face when opening bank accounts. It finds that big banks frequently offer consumers expensive accounts where they risk overdraft fees instead of affordable accounts. Further, the CFPB finds that the practices of specialty "bad check" credit bureaus make it harder to open accounts. The CFPB issued warnings to both the banks and credit bureaus while providing consumers with new tips and advice.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Anthem Customers and Others: Some Advice On Steps To Take After Data Breach | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED (9 Feb.) Retail store data breaches make a mess, but an easy one to clean up and the few consumers who become fraud victims are quickly made whole. The Anthem hackers, on the other hand, reportedly obtained a mother lode of information that could be used to commit a variety of serious frauds, including obtaining your tax refund. Read our tips here. Here's the first: Don't click on any emails claiming to be from Anthem; some may be malicious.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB announces major investigation of bank overdraft fee practices | Diane E. Brown

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, and possibly end $39 lattes.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

Arizona PIRG Applauds President for “Bold and Important” Recess Appointment of Richard Cordray to Head New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Today, President Obama took a bold and important step to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps by announcing a recess appointment of his well-qualified nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The confirmation of a director also grants the bureau, which has been running since July 2011, all of its new powers to protect consumers.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

New Consumer Agency Takes Over as Nation’s Consumer Bank Cop

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially opened its door today, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and consumer groups across the nation issued a report documenting “10 reasons” consumers need the new CFPB.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

Arizona PIRG Applauds U.S. House Committee Vote to Advance Landmark Consumer Agency to Replace System that Failed

Today, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee approved landmark reform legislation establishing a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), despite attacks from industry opponents. Although several exceptions to the agency’s coverage must still be addressed on the House floor or in the Senate, overall, according to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG), the CFPA bill as passed creates an independent agency with broad authority to protect consumers in the financial marketplace.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

PRESIDENT PROPOSES NEW CREDIT SAFETY AGENCY FOR CONSUMERS

State and national consumer protection organizations applauded President Obama’s proposal to create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ensure the safety, fairness and sustainability of credit. The agency would have broad powers to ensure that credit and payment products do not have predatory or deceptive features that can harm consumers or lock them into unaffordable loans.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

Statement of Diane E. Brown, Arizona PIRG Executive Director, On U.S. Senate Passage of the Credit Card Act

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) commends the U.S. Senate on overwhelming passage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. While the  U.S. House has already passed a similar Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights, we expect that the House will simply pass the identical Senate bill so Congress can send a final bill for the President to sign before Memorial Day.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

NEW CREDIT SAFETY AGENCY PROPOSED FOR CONSUMERS

More than fifty diverse organizations, including the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG), supported legislation introduced today by key Members of Congress to create a new federal agency to ensure the safety, fairness and sustainability of credit and payment products. 

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