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DBA International Responds to Wall Street Journal

posted on 2009-10-20 by Roger Knauf


A Consumer Financial Protection Agency Would Offer Many Benefits

Your editorial "Another Scary Czar" (Oct. 8) appropriately airs many concerns that the financial services industry has about the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). Our organization recognizes the problems and potential excesses CFPA poses. However, one regulator for both originating creditors and debt buyers could eliminate confusion for the financial services industry and consumers alike. CFPA must be given pre-emptive rule-making authority over states, or this super agency will be an ineffective paper tiger with little authority to create protection for consumers nationwide. Debt buyers today operate under state-by-state regulation, with different rules and attitudes about enforcement. Several states have sought short statutes of limitations—as little as three years—along with extinguishing the creditors' rights to collect overdue bills, hoping to protect consumers from the excesses of a small minority of debt collectors. Shortening the time period in which creditors can collect on past due debts further tightens credit standards in order to limit a lender's risk. It leaves many creditors with no choice but to rush to the courtrooms seeking judgments, with the cost of that unnecessary litigation passed on to the consumer. Credit is a simple idea that has become a part of our national fabric, from the loans that make purchasing a home possible, to the revolving credit that makes smaller purchases convenient. It's incredibly hard to protect simple ideas in a single piece of complex legislation. CFPA could be a viable solution to consumer protection, but with federal pre-emption, this one agency could have the ability to protect all consumers and businesses equally. Roger Knauf Executive Director DBA International McLean, Va.