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Waters Statement in Opposition to Bill That Would Help Megabanks and Predatory Lenders Escape Accountability

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following floor statement in opposition to H.R. 4545, a bill that makes it more likely that bad actors, including megabanks and predatory lenders, would avoid or delay accountability when they break federal law.

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4545 is yet another harmful bill that would help out Wall Street and predatory lenders.

It has become a theme for the Majority to claim that their legislation is meant to provide relief for small community banks, when in fact the legislation plainly benefits the nation’s largest banks, including abusive megabanks like Wells Fargo, and even payday lenders.

H.R. 4545 is yet another example. The bill would allow any bank, as well as any nonbank supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to appeal negative supervisory determinations made by regulators in the examination process.

H.R. 4545 makes it more likely that bad actors, including predatory megabanks like Wells Fargo, would avoid or delay accountability when they break federal law.

It takes our system of financial regulation in exactly the wrong direction. Megabanks like Wells Fargo already treat the fines they are required to pay for violations of the law as simply the cost of doing business – they don’t need more escape routes to avoid accountability for their wrongdoing.

I have made it clear many times that abusive megabanks with egregious patterns of harming consumers should face steep penalties from regulators. Last year I introduced H.R. 3937, the Megabank Accountability and Consequences Act, which would require the federal prudential banking regulators to fully utilize existing authorities—such as the ability to shut down a megabank and ban culpable executives and directors from working in the banking industry—to get tough on megabanks that repeatedly engage in practices that harm consumers.

Congress should be focused on measures that strengthen consumer protections, provide tailored, responsible relief for community banks, and ensure that abusive megabanks are held accountable. This bill, which would help megabanks and predatory lenders to get off the hook when they break the law, should be rejected.

I urge Members to oppose the bill. I yield back the balance of my time.

Following her statement, Ranking Member Waters offered an amendment that would narrow the scope of the bill to provide targeted relief for community banks and credit unions. The amendment was voted down by House Republicans and the bill was passed.


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