Bonamici, Porter Introduce Bill to Protect Students, Young Consumers from Financial Abuse
WASHINGTON, DC [9/22/21] – Today Congresswomen Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced legislation to reopen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers.
The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act will restore and strengthen the Office for Students and Young Consumers, which was the only office in the federal government charged with protecting young Americans from abuse by the financial services industry. Before it was closed by the Trump administration in 2018, the office was responsible for returning more than $750 million to students and student loan borrowers who had been cheated or misled.
“I’ve heard from too many students and young consumers who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous student loan companies and for-profit colleges,” said Suzanne Bonamici, Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. “The Office for Students and Young Consumers provided a strong advocate for this population before it was recklessly shut down by the Trump administration. We must restore this important office and provide students and young consumers with the protections they need.”
“We should protect every American from scammers, including our young people,” said Congresswoman Katie Porter. “By closing the CFPB’s Office for Students and Young Consumers, the Trump Administration made it much easier for for-profit colleges and predatory lenders to cheat students. Congress has a duty to get justice for young people targeted by these abusive schemes, and restoring this vital institution within our consumer protection agency will help us fulfill that mission.”
The Students and Young Consumers Empowerment Act will restore and strengthen the CFPB’s Office for Students and Young Consumers. The bill will:
- Establish the position of the Assistant Director and Student Loan Borrower Advocate as head of the Office for Students and Young Consumers 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;
- Empower the Office to work with private and Federal student loan borrowers to resolve complaints against lenders, servicers, and debt collectors;
- Require 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;
- Give the Office new tools to demand data from industry about risky practices;
- Require annual reports on the student loan marketplace, campus banking, and risks to young consumers; and
- Give Congress new tools to hold CFPB accountable for the requirements in this Act.
A summary the legislation can be found here, and the text of the legislation can be found here. It is co-sponsored by Representatives Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), and Ed Case (HI-01).