Americans for Financial Reform is a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition working to lay the foundation for a strong, stable, and ethical financial system.

Letters to the Regulators: AFREF Comment to SEC/FinCEN on Customer Identification Programs for Private Funds and Venture Capital

The Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund submitted a comment to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) supporting the proposal to require the $125 trillion in Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) and Exempt Reporting Advisers (mainly Venture Capital) to implement Customer Identification Programs to better understand who the beneficial owners of their funds are.

In The News: Capital One’s Discover deal faces opposition from community groups (S&P Global)

More opposition came from Patrick Woodall, managing director for policy at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit coalition consisting of more than 200 consumer, civil rights, labor, business and investor organizations. “It would be irresponsible for the regulators to approve this merger after Capital One has repeatedly broken its promises made to secure previous mergers,” Woodall said. “It shut down two-thirds of its branches after promising to maintain its geographic footprint. It stopped making home purchase and home improvement mortgages after promising to maintain service levels.”

Blog: Top 10 Reasons to Block the Capital One-Discover Merger

Today, Americans for Financial Reform and many allies will take our case directly to federal banking regulators and demand that they block the proposed Capital One-Discover merger. Federal regulators have rubber stamped thousands of bank mergers over the past few decades, consolidating the industry to create risky megabanks, reducing choices and raising prices for depositors and small businesses. The wave of mergers beginning in the mid-1990s contributed to the contagious fragility of the banking system during the 2008 financial crisis. Here are the top 10 reasons to block this merger:

News Release: Hearing Highlights Arguments Against Capital One Takeover of Discover

Since Capital One announced plans to take over Discover, reasons to oppose the creation of this new megabank have only grown. As federal regulators convene a hearing today on this risky merger, they must face the key arguments, which public interest groups will make, against it: the merger would reduce competition in the already concentrated credit card industry, it poses risks to the stability of the financial system, it would raise network fees for merchants, and it does not deliver for communities.

Fact Sheet: Proposed Capital One-Discover Merger Fails to Meet Bank Merger Act Requirements

The proposed acquisition of Discover by Capital One would create the sixth-largest bank in the United States, with $624 billion in domestic assets. This transaction fails to meet the public interest conditions under the Bank Merger Act that directs banking regulators to reject mergers, like the Capital One-Discover transaction, that fail to further the convenience and needs of communities.

Fact Sheet: Antitrust Implications of the Proposed Capital One-Discover Merger

The proposed Capital One takeover of Discover would create a mammoth bank that would undermine competition, raise prices, and harm consumers. The merger would create the biggest credit card lender — holding nearly one-third of credit card loans to consumers with non-prime credit scores — and put Capital One in a position to use its market power to raise prices on virtually captive consumers.

In The News: US agency says apps that let workers access paychecks before payday are providing loans (AP)

Christine Zinner, policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, said the paycheck advance products “are nothing more than workplace payday loans, with consumers (being) more easily preyed upon since the money is only a tap away on a cell phone.” “People can easily become trapped in a cycle of debt by re-borrowing, requesting advances 12 to 120 times each year, just to pay basic household expenses and make ends meet,” she said.

News Release: Much Needed Workplace Payday Loan Rule Will Help Curb Predatory Loan Practices

Today’s interpretative rule by the Consumer Financial Product Bureau on workplace payday loans (or the so-called Earned Wage Access products) will clearly label these products as loans, subjecting them to the laws, disclosures, and protections that consumers deserve if they choose products that are effectively high-cost loans. As a result of this proposal, companies offering these loans will have to follow basic rules such as the 55-year-old Truth in Lending Act to disclose the annual percentage rate of these loans.

Blog: Standing in Solidarity with Garment Workers in Nike’s Supply Chain

Nike makes some of the most popular and expensive shoes — many pairs are around $300 — but behind the brand, thousands of women in South and Southeast Asia work for low pay to make Nike’s flagship sneakers. On July 16th, we joined women labor leaders in the U.S. who responded to the call from Asian garment workers, Global Labor Justice, and the Asia Floor Wage Alliance to demand justice for workers in Nike’s supply chain.

Letters to the Regulators: Letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Support of the Title Acceptance Pilot Program

Americans for Financial Reform Education Funded joined with the National Consumer Law Center, the Consumer Federation of America, and other advocacy groups to express our support for recent announcements from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reflecting their intention to explore carefully-crafted pilot programs aimed at reducing closing costs for homeowners–specifically, a “title acceptance” pilot program.