Guest Host: John Donvan

A homeowner uses a magnifying glass to read the fine print on a document as she meets with bank representatives in the hopes of renegotiating and lowering her mortgage payments at an event organized by the non-profit organization Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on September 28, 2009. NACA provides the opportunity for borrowers to meet with counselors and bank representatives on the spot to renegotiate their loan terms and prevent foreclosure on their home.

A homeowner uses a magnifying glass to read the fine print on a document as she meets with bank representatives in the hopes of renegotiating and lowering her mortgage payments at an event organized by the non-profit organization Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on September 28, 2009. NACA provides the opportunity for borrowers to meet with counselors and bank representatives on the spot to renegotiate their loan terms and prevent foreclosure on their home.

It’s been nearly a decade since the financial crash that caused the Great Recession. In that time, the federal government stepped in to try to help stabilize the markets (remember those bank bailouts?) and shield consumers from negative effects by calling for companies to rein in bad practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established in 2011 to oversee the effort to make the financial sector more responsible and transparent. Now, the CFPB has suffered a major blow to its mission.

With an assist from Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Republicans voted to overturn a new rule that allowed for people to participate in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions. This means the the millions of Americans who were affected by the Equifax breach or the Wells Fargo fraud scheme cannot bring action as a group. Such matters will be sent to forced arbitration instead.

What else does this mean? Well, for one thing, if you didn’t read the fine print of consumer contracts before, you might want to get in the habit. Could we soon see a full loosening of regulations on Wall Street … and a return to the behavior that led to the last financial crisis?

Guests

  • Renae Merle Reporter covering Wall Street and white collar crime, The Washington Post; @renaemerle
  • James R. Copland Senior fellow and director for legal policy, Manhattan Institute; @JamesRCopland
  • Lisa Gilbert Vice president for legislative affairs for Public Citizen; @Lisa_PubCitizen

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