Washington, DC– The Senate just voted 67-31 and passed Senate Bill 2155, also nicknamed the #BankLobbyistAct. S. 2155 rolls back bank data reporting requirements used to ensure banks treat all borrowers fairly. John Taylor, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement:
“The Congressional Budget Office has already reported that this bill increases the risk of bank bailouts and provides relief for banks already bailed out in the Great Recession. I am afraid allowing financial institutions to circumvent rules with this new bill is an open invitation to the banks to resume their risky business. That will create new risks for borrowers and our entire financial system.
“This is a giant step backward for consumers. This bill allows banks to hide data that reveals evidence of discrimination in lending. This isn’t a regulatory relief bill, this is a bill to help banks keep secret the information they already collect. If this bill becomes law, policymakers, borrowers and consumer rights groups will know less about how well or how poorly banks are meeting credit needs in underserved communities, where families have the most difficulty accessing mortgage credit. This legislation will grow economic inequality rather than our economy, as its name falsely suggests.
“Now we must all remain vigilant as the bill moves to the House, where Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has expressed he will be attempting to attach dangerous provisions from the Financial Choice Act which would increase both risk and secrecy to our financial system.
“It’s disappointing to see Democrats and moderate Republicans join the ultra-conservative members of Congress in supporting this hurtful bill. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have again proven that their allegiances to Wall Street are stronger than their promises to Main Street. The list of cosponsors and supporters on both sides of the aisle are a testament to the strength of the financial lobby and their sway over politicians as we enter an election year.
“I would like to applaud Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV) for their tireless bravery defending fair lending and the necessary data to eradicate widespread discrimination in our current banking system. “
Under S. 2155, 85% of banks will now be exempt from reporting 25 new HMDA data fields to the public- including items like borrower credit scores, mortgage loan terms and the points and fees assessed in a sale. Banks are still required to collect this information for their underwriting files. The bill also weakens several Dodd-Frank protections, including the Volcker Rule, enacted after the financial crisis to alert regulators and civil rights watchdogs to predatory banking practices.
Photo Credit: Chris Li, Unsplash