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AFFIL's Notes to Senators Kerry and Brown

May 28, 2010

Following up on our thank you letter to Senator Scott Brown regarding preemption, we also sent notes to both MA Senators about three more financial reform votes.  Here’s the text of the letter we sent to both:

We are writing to thank and commend you for voting twice with consumers and taxpayers on the Senate financial reform bill, S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act.  We thank you for your votes to invoke cloture on the bill (Roll Call 160), and for its final passage (Roll Call 162).

However, we are very disappointed by your vote in favor of the “motion to instruct” the conference committee to exempt auto dealers from the consumer watchdog agency.  Auto dealers are the number one source of complaints to the Better Business Bureau every year, and abusive auto lending has been shown to be especially harmful to members of the military.  Exempting these lenders from the agency’s oversight will allow them to continue issuing abusive, predatory loans to consumers in Massachusetts and around the nation.

The bill does not currently grant an exemption for auto dealers, and we believe that it includes strong measures to curtail Wall Street’s gambling, regulate the shadow derivatives markets, protect consumers’ investments and prevent future economic meltdowns.

We ask that you urge your colleagues who are serving on the conference committee to support the strongest provisions of the House and Senate bills, while rejecting the efforts of lurking Wall Street lobbyists to weaken or delay passage of a strong final law.

The conference committee should finalize a bill that includes a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency or Bureau with jurisdiction over auto lenders, preserves authority for state attorneys general to enforce the laws, opens up the shadow markets where derivatives are traded, and ends, once and for all, ‘too big to fail.’

Thank you for your attention to our concerns.

Best regards,

Sarah Byrnes

Executive Director

Americans for Fairness in Lending

Jim Campen

Professor Emeritus of Economics

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Nadine Cohen

Managing Attorney

Consumer Rights Unit

Greater Boston Legal Services – on behalf of GBLS’ low income clients

Russ Davis

Executive Director

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice

Lizzi Weyant

Staff Attorney

MASSPIRG

Chi Chi Wu

Staff Attorney

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients)

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