The economic down turn decimated retirement accounts, costing older Americans billions. With the Senate set to take up financial reform, AARP is calling on congress to put consumers first, not the financial institutions.
AARP recently commissioned a statewide survey in South Dakota to understand public opinion on consumer financial protection issues. The results show nearly unanimous support for numerous consumer financial protections.
“Our recent polling shows that South Dakotans 50+, regardless of party affiliation, people want these protections and that now is the time for Congress to act.” added Jennings. “They want clear information so they can make better, more informed decisions and greater transparency about the financial products available to them. The Senate must act now to safeguard the pocketbooks of Americans”
Polling revealed broad agreement among Republicans, Democrats and Independents for a number of initiatives. Key findings include:
- 96% favor requiring banks to explain in plain language the terms, conditions and fees associated with mortgages and credit card debt. (Including Republicans (98%), Democrats (98%), and Independents (95%).)
- 88% favor 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. (Including Republicans (91%), Democrats (86%), and Independents (88 %).)
- 89% favor protecting people from predatory lending practices, such as excessive fees and penalties, on products ranging from mortgages to credit cards to automobiles. (Including Republicans (91%), Democrats (87 %), and Independents (89 %).)
- 92% favor requiring financial advisors to tell consumers upfront about fees or commissions they earn and any conflicts of interest that potentially could bias their advice because financial advisors should put consumers’ interest ahead of theirs when making recommendations. (Including Republicans (92 %), Democrats (91 %), and Independents (94 %)
- 86% favor banks only selling consumers mortgages, loans and other products that meet the customer’s needs and stay within the person’s budget. (Including Republicans (87%), Democrats (86 %), and Independents (86 %).)
- 76% favor the federal government not being allowed to take away a state’s right to enforce stricter consumer protection laws. (Republicans (83%), Democrats (69%), and Independents (76 %).)
“AARP is calling on South Dakota’s senators to pass a strong bill that includes, among other protections, a strong and independent consumer watchdog, rules that forbid the financial industry from selling products they know their customers can’t afford or don’t understand, and greater transparency in an industry that has historically operated behind closed doors,” said Jennings.