Building Better Consumer Protection

Ed. Note: This was originally posted on the CFPB Blog.

Should the price of credit be clear up front? Here at the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we think the answer is yes – and we think that’s a critical part of consumer protection. We are pleased to have the chance to talk about these and other issues as we join 26 Federal agencies and partner organizations observing the annual National Consumer Protection Week.

Too many families that work hard and play by the rules are stretched to the breaking point. They have taken on debt to pay for college, a home, and other needs. The latest economic crisis is just one more blow in an increasingly dangerous economic world.

There was a time when the basic terms governing consumer financial products were pretty easy to see. But that has changed. Today, too many lenders hide complex terms among pages and pages of fine print in credit agreements, making it hard for borrowers to compare one product to two or three others.

The CFPB is working to change that. When prices and risks are clear up front, consumers can make the choices that are best for themselves and their families. In other words, we want a credit market that works for consumers.

During this week, we will be listening directly to American families, and we’ll outline our vision for protecting consumers. Richard Cordray, Assistant Director for Enforcement and the former Attorney General of Ohio, will discuss how we can partner with the states to ensure consistent enforcement of consumer financial protections across the nation. Holly Petraeus, the Director of the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, will talk about the unique challenges facing the men and women in the armed services. And I will travel to the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC, to hear directly from families who are turning their finances around in the wake of the economic crisis.

Right now we are laying the foundation of this new consumer agency. Part of our work will be to level the playing field by making the consumer credit markets fair, transparent, and competitive – and making them work for American families. National Consumer Protection Week gives us a chance to celebrate this important work and find new ways to empower consumers across the country.

You can get involved right away by visiting our main NCPW page, or using the #NCPW tag on Twitter to talk about what you’re doing this week to become a more informed consumer. And, for more information about the new consumer bureau, please visit our “Learn About the Bureau” page.

Elizabeth Warren is an Assistant to the President and a Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Related Topics: Economy, Ohio
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