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Obama: “Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy”

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The full transcript is here. Here’s an excerpt:

…these reforms include a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent predatory loan practices and other abuses to ensure that consumers get clear information about loans and other financial products before they sign on the dotted line.  Because this financial crisis wasn’t just the result of decisions made by large financial firms; it was also the result of decisions made by ordinary Americans to open credit cards and take on mortgages.  And while there were many who took out loans they knew they couldn’t afford, there were also millions of people who signed contracts they didn’t fully understand offered by lenders who didn’t always tell the truth.

This is in part because the job of protecting consumers is spread across seven different federal agencies, none of which has the interests of ordinary Americans as its principal concern.  This diffusion of responsibility has made it easier for credit card companies to lure customers with attractive offers then punish them in the fine print; for payday lenders and others who charge outrageous interest to operate without much oversight; and for mortgage brokers to entice homebuyers with low initial rates only to trap them with ballooning payments down the line.