For Immediate Release - August 18, 2009

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Urges Congress to Support Legislation Creating the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency

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BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley, along with the Attorneys General of 23 other states and jurisdictions, sent a letter to United States House and Senate Leadership urging Congress to support legislation establishing the federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper co-sponsored the letter. The current financial crisis, caused by irresponsible subprime lending and inadequate oversight, has demonstrated the need for comprehensive and effective consumer protection and enforcement at the federal level. The establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as proposed by President Barack Obama, combined with joint enforcement by state officials, the Attorneys General believe, will protect consumers, promote sound credit practices and restore confidence in the financial markets. There is clear need for effective regulation of consumer financial products that crosses existing regulatory lines.

"Today, we urge Congress to consider this proposal, which we believe will help combat unfair and deceptive practices in the financial services industry. Not only will this legislation enhance consumer protections at the federal level but it also allows for joint federal and state enforcement to ensure that Attorneys General can continue to combat fraud and abuses in the financial marketplace to protect consumers," said Attorney General Coakley.

The Attorneys General note in their letter that despite the best efforts of state and federal regulators to combat problems such as irresponsible lending, the establishment of the federal Financial Consumer Protection Agency should do the following:

  • Promote sound credit practices;
  • Insure fair dealing in the marketplace by establishing clear regulations;
  • Establish joint enforcement authority for both state and federal regulators of any new rules issued by the CFPA to maximize compliance with such rules;
  • Preserve the states' ability to fight unfair and deceptive practices;

Today's letter highlights the need for stronger consumer protections. While states have been leaders in finding innovative responses and solutions to newly evolving unfair and deceptive acts and practices, the Attorneys General urge Congress to support additional enforcement resources to fight fraud at all levels of the financial marketplace

Attorneys General from the following states and jurisdictions joined Massachusetts in today's request to Congress: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Guam.

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S upporting Materials

Letter in support of legislation to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency pdf format of 2009_08_18_finance_protection_letter.pdf