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Senator Roland W. Burris Lauds Minority Benefits of Wall Street Reform Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator Roland W. Burris Lauds Minority Benefits of Wall Street Reform Legislation

U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris continues to push for meaningful financial reform legislation, while highlighting the broad benefits the Dodd bill would bring to disadvantaged and minority communities.

Currently, 16% of African Americans and other minority households do not have bank accounts, compared with only 4% of non-Hispanic white households. African Americans, among other minorities, are more likely to utilize payday lending services. These disproportionate effects of the financial crisis on African Americans and minorities across the country can in large part be traced to minorities' general lack of access to credit and other financial services.

To expand access to credit, the reform package currently under consideration on the floor of the United States Senate creates a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to rein in the deceptive practices that may drive African Americans away from banks, including expensive automatic overdraft programs. Once created, the Bureau will also have the authority to enforce credit card laws to ban rate hikes on existing credit card balances. For African Americans who use credit cards, the law will provide them more clarity and transparency on rates and charges.

Additionally, the Wall Street reform bill authorizes the Treasury Secretary to establish a multiyear program of grants, cooperative agreements, financial agency agreements, and activities to expand access to mainstream financial institutions by low and moderate-income individuals. The Treasury Secretary will also establish multiyear demonstration programs with eligible entities to provide low-cost, small loans to consumers as alternatives to payday loans. Entities awarded a grant would be required to promote financial literacy and education opportunities to each consumer provided a loan.

"The passage of Wall Street reform will help put an end to the financial hardships that currently threaten the economic security of minority households across the country," said Senator Burris. "Comprehensive reform with a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will expand credit access for minority populations and end the discriminatory lending practices that for years have driven minorities away from essential financial services and products."

Overall, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will write consumer protection rules for all entities that offer financial services or products, and has the ability to enforce regulations on banks with $10 billion in assets.

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