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Historic Wall Street Reform Signed Into Law

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, July 21 - Responding to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, President Barack Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The bill reins in Wall Street and protects consumers, investors, and taxpayers from further financial meltdowns.

“CoPIRG applauds Senator’s Bennet and Udall and Representatives DeGette, Perlmutter, Polis, Markey and Salazar for standing up for Main Street in the face of some 2,000 Wall Street lobbyists who spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 18 months to weaken reforms targeting the practices that sparked the financial mess they caused for consumers and taxpayers,” said Danny Katz, Director of CoPIRG.

“Thanks to them Americans will now be able to count on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will give small investors and homeowners new protections, will rein in risky bank derivatives practices, toughen regulation of financial firms and, when necessary, set up procedures to shut them down instead of bailing them out,”  added Katz.

The new Bureau will not regulate predatory car dealer practices, but a last-minute compromise gives the Federal Trade Commission new authority over car dealers who initiate loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is certainly the biggest consumer protection bill since the creation of deposit insurance after the 1929 crash.

“And the CFPB – passed despite the public efforts of all the banks and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to kill it – is not the only grand achievement of the Congress. The bill’s new regulation of the shadow markets for derivatives, for example, was strengthened in conference committee, which is something that rarely happens,” Katz continued.

Ed Mierzwinski, Director of CoPIRG’s Consumer Program in Washington DC who worked tirelessly for over a year to get strong consumer protections into the bill said last minute changes to the conference report’s budgetary mechanism appeased several Senators who had opposed an earlier conference report.

“We thank Majority Leader Reid, Senator Dodd and the Senate leadership for their commitment to meaningful reform that puts consumers and taxpayers ahead of the self-interest of the banks,” said Mierzwinski.

“We thank Senators Brown (MA), Snowe and Collins for rising above Washington’s partisan divide and standing with the American people in making possible an open and more secure financial future for all Americans. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will help consumers and the economy recover from the financial meltdown that cost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in home and retirement fund value,” added Mierzwinski.

“We look forward to working with the President and the Congress to implement these reforms and to continue to seek additional protections for consumers, taxpayers and investors,” he concluded.

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