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Collins, Ayotte stand in way of new consumer protection bureau

KUDOS TO Senator Elizabeth Warren for coming out swinging against the big banks at her first Senate Banking Committee hearing, urging regulators to finally hold the banks accountable (“Warren rips deals with big banks,” Page A1, Feb 15).

As the story also notes, Warren is also leading the fight to defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and to have the Senate confirm its director Richard Cordray, a 2012 recess appointee by the president, to a full term.

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Unfortunately, while most other New England senators back a strong CFPB, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine are among a group of senators who sent the president a letter saying the bureau must be weakened and its independence eliminated as a condition of Cordray’s confirmation. Among other demands, they want the CFPB to become the only bank regulator whose funding is controlled by the politicized congressional appropriations process. If Collins and Ayotte win, Wall Street will cheer at first.

But this obstinacy can only prolong uncertainty in the financial markets, which prevents banks from making loans and prevents consumers and homeowners from further recovering from the 2008 financial crisis caused by a lack of regulation of this very kind.

Deirdre Cummings

Legislative director

MassPIRG

Boston

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