Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, delivered the following opening statement at a full committee markup:
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning. Today we will mark up a set of bills on a range of issues, including credit reporting, housing, diversity and inclusion, and investor protection.
I have long said that our credit reporting system is deeply broken. Consumers make more complaints about the credit reporting process to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau than any other issue. It is exceedingly common that credit reports are filled with errors, consumers are penalized on their credit reports when they are preyed upon with unfair and deceptive products, adverse information stays on credit reports for too long, and credit information is sometimes unfairly used to make hiring and employment decisions. Of course, all three of the major consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, have experienced data breaches in which sensitive consumer data was exposed. One of our first hearings convened this Congress brought the CEOs of the three major credit reporting agencies before the Committee to hold them accountable for the data breaches that each of them have experienced, as well as their deeply troubling treatment of consumers. I am very pleased that we are now advancing a long overdue series of bills to fix many of the problems with the credit reporting sector, including bills by Representatives Adams, Beatty, Lawson, Lynch, Pressley and Tlaib.
I am also pleased that today we will consider several bills aimed at increasing diversity in the financial services sector. Corporate and federal boards are badly lacking in racial, ethnic and gender diversity. According to the Alliance for Board Diversity, over 80 percent of new board directors at Fortune 500 companies in 2017 were white males. In the Federal Reserve system we have a long way to go as well. While the Federal Reserve system was established in 1913, it wasn’t until 2017 that Raphael Bostic became the first African American and first openly gay man to serve as the president of a Federal Reserve Bank. So, at this markup we will consider bills by Representatives Beatty, Maloney and Meeks that are designed to improve diversity in corporate boardrooms, C-suites and at the Federal Reserve banks.
We also have before us several housing bills focused on home appraisals, including a bill to alleviate the current shortage of certified appraisers, and a bill to create a national registry of appraisers in training and create greater transparency regarding fees paid for appraisals, introduced by Representatives Sherman and Clay respectively. We will also consider a bill to preserve affordable rural housing by Representative Clay.
Lastly, we will consider several capital markets and investor protection bills, including bills by Representatives Axne, Sylvia Garcia, and Porter. These bills are respectively aimed at enhancing protections for whistleblowers, ensuring transparency through disclosures about outsourcing, and improving civil enforcement.
I would like to extend my thanks to all of the Members for their hard work on these bills and look forward to advancing the legislation.