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Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.

Ms. CHU. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would give additional responsibility to the Commissioner who is already in charge of oversight of the Bureau's activities pertaining to the protection of older consumers, minorities, youth, and veterans. It would require research on how language barriers can lead to unfair and abusive lending practices, and a report to the full Commission on ways to protect consumers from potentially unfair and deceptive practices.

Take the case of Ms. Huang, who went to a car dealership and negotiated a car sale with a salesperson in Chinese. But then when she went to sign the contract, it was totally in English, and she didn't understand it. When she got it translated later, she discovered that she bought a different car with an extremely high interest rate. She went back to the car dealership for redress, but they refused. She was so upset that all she could think of to do was go back to the dealership and wrap herself in a white sheet and hold a sign that said ``Cheaters'' and walk up and down in front of the dealership in protest. Well, that gained attention. It turned out that many other immigrants had been cheated in this manner as well, so I sponsored a bill in the California State Assembly to address these deceptive practices. But that is just one State and one small fix.

Now I know that the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Act does not include oversight of automobile loans, but Ms. Huang's story highlights how persons with language barriers can be victims of deceptive practices. We need someone on a national level looking out for people like Ms. Huang and staying on top of ways people are being duped because of language barriers. And that is just what my amendment will do.

I urge support of my amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. CHU. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that this does not create any overly burdensome responsibility. Instead, it supports the goal of the legislation. It protects those persons who might be the victims of such unfair and deceptive practices.

What this does is clarify that this specially designated Commissioner would take into account how language barriers might be impacted by such abusive practices, and it makes sure that that is done.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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