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Bonamici Introduces Bill to Strengthen Protections for Students, Young Consumers

June 27, 2019
Press Release

 

WASHINGTON, DC [6/27/19] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chair of the Education & Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced legislation to restore and strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers.

 

The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act would reopen the Office for Students and Young Consumers, which the Trump administration closed last year. It was the only office in the federal government charged with protecting young Americans from abuse by the financial services industry and was responsible for returning more than $750 million to students and student loan borrowers.

 

“Strong consumer protection laws are critical to making sure that investments in higher education lead students to a better future,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “The Trump administration has failed student borrowers and young consumers by weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and rolling back crucial protections, so Congress must stand up on their behalf. The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act will restore and strengthen the Office for Students and Young Consumers, providing a strong advocate for this population.”

 

Porter, a consumer protection expert and member of the House Financial Services Committee, is co-leading The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act. A summary of the legislation can be found here.

 

The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act would restore and strengthen the CFPB’s Office for Students and Young Consumers by:

  • Establishing the position of the Assistant Director and Student Loan Borrower Advocate as head of a statutorily mandated Office for Students and Young Consumers. The Advocate is charged with:
    • empowering students, young consumers, and their families to make better informed decisions regarding consumer financial products and services;
    • identifying new risks to consumers and referring cases for enforcement; and
    • making recommendations to Congress about how to protect young consumers
  • Empowering the Office for Students and Young Consumers to work with private and Federal student loan borrowers to resolve complaints against lenders, servicers, and debt collectors;
  • Requiring information sharing between the head of the Office and senior officials across the federal government to make sure the Office can carry out its duties;
  • Giving the Office new tools to demand data from industry about risky practices, and requiring annual reports on the student loan marketplace, campus banking, and risks to young consumers; and
  • Giving Congress new tools to hold CFPB accountable for the requirements in this Act.

 

Bonamici is a steadfast advocate for stronger consumer protections and has repeatedly stood up for student borrowers and young consumers. The House recently adopted her amendment to the Consumers First Act with strong bipartisan support. The amendment would require the Bureau to issue an annual report to Congress on risks to students and young consumers.

 

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