I just received the following statement from Sen. Tim Kaine’s office regarding his signature on two letters — see here and here — earlier this week regarding rules pertaining to, respectively, regional financial institutions and community banks and credit unions. Sen. Kaine has come in for some criticism over the past day regarding these letters, including this piece in the Huffington Post and this one in The Intercept.
The statement from Kaine’s office emphasizes that Kaine is, in fact, a “strong supporter of Dodd Frank’s financial protections,” but that rules also need to be “tailored to the character of individual institutions.” Following the statement from Sen. Kaine’s office (bolding added by me for emphasis), I’ll post more detailed background information on Kaine’s voting record regarding consumer protections, predatory lending, etc .
Sen. Kaine is a strong supporter of Dodd Frank’s financial protections because certain financial institutions wreaked havoc on the American economy, hurting millions of Americans in the process and believes we need strong rules to stop that chaos from happening again. He also believes it’s important that the rules are tailored to the character of individual institutions so that we don’t accidentally choke off capital access to the families and small businesses in our communities that create jobs. The toughest regulation should be on the biggest and riskiest institutions. Credit unions, community banks and regional banks need to be carefully regulated, but the nature of the regulation can be different to ensure scarce resources are efficiently spent allowing regulators to focus on the bad actors.
Further background from Sen. Kaine’s office:
Senator Kaine has been attacking predatory payday lending practices since before Dodd-Frank ever became law. In 2009, Governor Kaine implemented a state employee payday loan alternative program. He wrote that the Obama Administration should take a closer look at abusive practices in the payday lending industry, condemning the loans’ triple-digit interest rates and disproportionate impact on poor and non-white borrowers. Kaine cited steps that Virginia had taken to offer a cost-effective alternative for those who need small-dollar loans as an example that the federal government, other states, and the private sector might want to follow.
In the Senate, Senator Kaine has continued to advocate for strong protections against dangerous and abusive financial practices. On June 4, 2015, Kaine wrote to the CFPB, asking the agency to issue “the strongest possible rules” to rein in the “unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts” of payday lenders that scheme to trap borrowers into a cycle of debt. Senator Kaine has also voted against multiple measures that would have undermined the independence of the CFPB and voted in favor of a measure that declared that the CFPB “has authority and autonomy to continue to protect consumers from predatory lending, misleading or abusive behavior in the financial marketplace.” These actions and other actions Senator Kaine has taken to protect consumers—particularly servicemembers and minorities—demonstrate Senator Kaine’s staunch conviction that the CFPB has an important role to play in ensuring that the financial industry treats consumers fairly.
Below are some of the steps Senator Kaine has taken to ensure a strong CFPB.
Tim Kaine has encouraged a strong CFPB and other consumer protection measures in the following ways:
· Sent a letter in June 2015, urging the CFPB to issue strong payday lending rules
· In March 2015, voted against Perdue/Toomey amendment (page 52 of PDF) to undermine CFPB by bringing it under Congressional appropriations process
· In March 2015, voted for Merkley amendment to protect independence of CFPB “…relating to consumer financial protection, which may include measures ensuring that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has authority and autonomy to continue to protect consumers from predatory lending, misleading or abusive behavior in the financial marketplace, or other unscrupulous practices”
· In March 2013 voted against Shelby amendment to unnecessary undermine the independence of financial regulators to do their jobs: “that relate to the finalization of rules with positive cost-benefit analyses promulgated by a financial regulator, including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Financial Research, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission”
· Sent a letter in September 2013, urging the CFPB to examine tax lien and foreclosure programs in light of media reports of many consumers losing their homes because of abusive practices in those programs.
· Sent a letter in November 2015, urging the CFPB to protect former offenders who are issued prison release cards by prison banking services
· Co-sponsored the Military Consumer Protection Act, which would empower the CFPB to oversee and enforce compliance with certain existing provisions of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act, in June 2015
· Sent a letter to the CFPB and other agencies in June 2015, urging that they investigate unfair housing practices
· Sent a letter to the CFPB in August 2014, asking the agency to investigate unfair debt collection practices against servicemembers