Obama Defends Protection Agency, Says It Will Prevent Abuse by Banks

Sunday, June 21, 2009

President Obama defended his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in his weekly radio address yesterday, saying it would tamp down the kind of deceptive lending practices and complicated contracts he said often hurt consumers.

Obama proposed the agency as part of his administration's rewrite of rules governing the financial sector. The proposals are now before Congress, and industry lobbyists are pushing back against the proposed agency. They say it would create overlapping layers of regulation and put government in the middle of legitimate business decisions.

Speaking in his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said new regulations are needed to prevent the type of abuses that contributed to the recent financial meltdown. "It's no coincidence that the lack of strong consumer protections led to abuses against consumers," he said. "The lack of rules to stop deceptive lending practices led to abuses against borrowers."

With the creation of the agency, Obama said "those ridiculous contracts -- pages of fine print that no one can figure out" would be banned at banks and other financial institutions.

"Some argue that these changes -- and many others we called for -- go too far," Obama said. "And I welcome a debate about how we can make sure our regulations work for businesses and consumers. But what I will not accept, and I will vigorously oppose, are those who do not argue in good faith. Those who would defend the status quo at any cost."

-- Michael A. Fletcher

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