Enacting Wall Street reform is something President Obama has worked on since long before he took office, and he is committed to signing a bill that holds Wall Street accountable, protects and empowers American consumers with the strongest consumer protections ever, and ends taxpayer bailouts once and for all. Since the legislation making its way through Congress includes these major reforms, we're of course seeing special interests and their lobbyists working furiously to weaken or kill it in order to maintain a status quo that benefits them and their bottom line.
Just today, we learned that payday lenders have spent over $2 million on lobbying efforts in an attempt to exclude themselves and their practices from some of the reforms contained within this bill. This is an industry where some companies offer struggling families a loan to get through to their next paycheck, only to charge enormous interest rates over 400 percent. And they do this without any oversight for American consumers.
We cannot accept loopholes or carve outs for payday lenders. The President will not allow for these kinds of loopholes. Passing this legislation means enacting the strongest consumer financial protections ever and forcing payday lenders--just like credit card companies and banks with overdraft plans--to provide clear, understandable information so that Americans can make financial decisions that work best for them. At the end of the day, every American consumer should have the peace of mind of knowing that they are going to be treated fairly and that they’re not going to be hit with surprise terms, fees or charges by companies that extend them credit. The President is willing to have this fight, because he believes there's a clear choice in this debate, and that's whether to be on the side of the American people or on the side of the status quo.
If some in this industry want to spend their money trying to preserve deceptive and predatory lending practices, that’s their choice. But the President will not accept these efforts to water down this legislation, and he will continue to do everything he can to hold these industries accountable and empower and protect American consumers.
Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director