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Consumer Financial Protection: Opinion of People Aged 50+: State Surveys

AARP commissioned a set of six statewide surveys to understand public opinion on consumer financial protection (CFP) issues. Telephone surveys were conducted in April 2010 with residents aged 50+ of Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Montana, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Results indicate a public appetite for consumer financial protections in each state, with strong support across all political parties.  This suggests that CFPs hold the potential to unify in these politically divisive times.

Key findings show that among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, significant majorities in each state favor:

  • Requiring banks to explain in plain language the terms, conditions, and fees associated with mortgages and credit card debt.
  • Requiring investment companies to disclose the costs, risks, and benefits of all the financial products they market and sell using plain language and a user-friendly format.
  • Protecting people from predatory lending practices, such as excessive fees and penalties, on products ranging from mortgages to credit cards to automobiles.
  • Requiring financial advisors to tell clients upfront about fees or commissions they earn and any conflicts of interest that potentially could bias their advice.
  • Requiring banks to only sell mortgages, loans, and other products that meet their customers’ needs and stay within the customers’ budgets.
  • Prohibiting the federal government from taking away a state’s right to enforce stricter consumer protection laws.

The interviews were conducted via telephone by Woelfel Research, Inc. during April 2-8, 2010.  Representative samples of approximately 500 residents age 50 and older from each of the six states completed interviews.  Media inquiries should be directed to 202-434-2560.  All other questions should be sent to the authors: Colette Thayer at cthayer@aarp.org and Gerard Rainville at grainville@aarp.org.

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