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Americans For Financial Reform is a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 200 civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups formed in the wake of the 2008 crisis.


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Americans for Financial Reform is a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 200 civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups. Formed in the wake of the 2008 crisis, we are working to lay the foundation for a strong, stable, and ethical financial system – one that serves the economy and the nation as a whole. AFR has been called “the leading voice for Wall Street accountability” in Washington (by Zach Carter of the Huffington Post).

Through policy analysis, education, and outreach to our members and others, AFR builds public will for substantial reform, including:

  • Fair rules of the road for consumers and a strong, effective Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to set basic safety standards and protect families—and the market as a whole—from loans designed to trick and trap
  • A banking system that helps people buy and stay in their homes and invests in communities and businesses to create good jobs and strong neighborhoods
  • An end to the casino economy that allows Wall Street to make “heads we win, tails they lose” bets with our money
  • An end to megabank bailouts and financial institutions that are “too big to fail”
  • Executive compensation that rewards long-term value creation, not excessive risk-taking, with meaningful shareholder review
  • A transparent and accountable Federal Reserve, independent of banking industry control
  • Transparency for all financial products and markets
  • Meaningful limits on the political influence of the financial sector, so that the job of rewriting the rules is not left to the inside players who caused the problems we now face

A separate project, the AFR Activism Fund, pursues these goals through a range of nonpartisan advocacy activities. AFR is a project of The Leadership Conference Education Fund (a 501C3). The AFR Activism Fund is a project of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (a 501C4). Neither the Leadership Conference nor the AFR Activism Fund receives tax-deductible contributions.

 

AFR “did many things right…” It was an “adept inside player, pulling together and skillfully managing a broad and diverse alliance of Washington-based and state and local citizens’ organizations” winning “respect for its expertise on the full complement of complex financial and consumer protection issues that made up the legislative package. And the coalition was strategically adroit, matching political opportunities with the capabilities and resources at its disposal.” – Larry Kirsch and Robert H. Mayer, Financial Justice (Praeger Books, 2013)

Creating a small team to organize the overall campaign for reform was a brilliant move. Instead of each nonprofit putting a little time into fighting for this or that provision, AFR coordinated the efforts of dozens of groups, magnifying the work of each one by helping them speak with a single voice… The staffers and lobbyists and lawyers for the megabanks outnumbered them by a zillion to one, but the AFR people were there – day in and day out – hammering on the need for financial reform. They worked their hearts out.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

 

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AFR Statement: AFR Applauds Bipartisan Bill to Restore Glass-Steagall
April 10, 2017 – 1:42 pm 

“The Warren-McCain bill would restore the Glass-Steagall firewall and update it for the 21st century by fully addressing new developments like the massive growth in the market for complex derivatives and securities lending. By forcing the separation of commercial and investment banking, it would break up “too big to fail” banks that combine both activities, and reduce their power over the financial markets and the economy.”

Joint Statement: Advocates deliver 350,000+ petition signatures calling for Congressional action on Glass-Steagall
September 21, 2016 – 12:30 pm 

“Advocates from Take on Wall Street, an alliance of labor, consumer, community, religious, and netroots organizations, were on Capitol Hill this morning, telling key Congressional leaders to support a new Glass-Steagall Act. The groups delivered a petition with more than 350,000 signatures, calling on House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), as well as Senate Banking Committee chair Richard Shelby and others, to follow through on a policy backed by both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms.”

AFR in the News: There Are Real Reasons to Bring Back Glass-Steagall (American Banker)
August 30, 2016 – 11:57 am 

AFR’s Marcus Stanley writes: “The 2008 crisis was catastrophic for the global economy not simply because nonbank financial institutions failed, but because the problems in nonbanks spread throughout the financial system and threatened to bring down giant megabanks that combined commercial and investment banking, such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Glass-Steagall firewalls between Wall Street trading markets and ordinary commercial banking are directly relevant to stopping this kind of contagion.”

AFR in the News: Sanders wants Clinton to break up big banks. Will she? (CNN Money)
July 28, 2016 – 2:13 pm 

“[A]lexis Goldstein, a senior analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, thinks banks might be too complacent. She notes that a recent poll shows that 75% of Americans think banks need to tougher laws. ‘I think it’s clear that voters are still very unhappy about this,’ says Goldstein. She thinks it will be hard for either party to ignore the voter outrage.”

AFR in the News: Should We Break Up the Big Banks? (MSNBC)
January 7, 2016 – 11:03 am 

“I think you need an all-of-the-above approach: you use the law that bears Barney Frank’s name, which requires the breakup of any bank that is too big to fail without harming the economy; you pass new legislation, the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act, which is a bipartisan piece of legislation – Senator Warren’s on it, and Senator McCain is on it. And then you need to involve the public and the grass roots in order to build this new voice that’s going to hold these people accountable.” — AFR’s Alexis Goldstein

AFR Statement: The Case for the “21st Century Glass Steagall Act” Is Stronger than Ever
July 7, 2015 – 3:33 pm 

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I.-Me.) have reintroduced their “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act,” which would restore the historic division between traditional (or commercial) banking world and the casino world of trading and speculating. Five years after passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the case for this bipartisan legislation is stronger than ever.

AFR in the News: 5 questions for Hillary Clinton on Wall Street (CNN)
May 25, 2015 – 9:19 pm 

“‘A candidate could both support legislative change and tie commitments to that to how they’re thinking about appointments,’ said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. Donner added that it’s also important what kind of economic advisers candidates surround themselves with.”

Nearly 600,000 Americans Ask Senators to Support “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act”
July 9, 2014 – 6:17 pm 

“At the Capitol this afternoon [July 9], Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received petitions in which nearly 600,000 Americans call for action on the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Warren along with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I-Maine), would address the problem of Wall Street banks that have become too complicated, too conflicted and too powerful, as well as simply too big.”

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Articles tagged with: Investor protection and corporate governance 

AFR Statement: Trump Speech Obscures Agenda Favoring Wall Street
March 1, 2017 – 7:57 pm 

When it comes to the economy, unfortunately the President hasn’t drained the swamp. Instead, he is filling the government with Wall Street insiders who are now attacking rules put in place to keep big Wall Street banks and predatory lenders from ripping off consumers and prevent another disastrous financial crisis.

Joint Letter: Public Interest Groups Urge Financial Industry Leaders to Call a Halt to Anti-Investor Tactics of Trade Associations Seeking to Overturn DOL Protections for Retirement Savers
February 9, 2017 – 4:43 pm 

“Financial services companies that support giving retirement investors investment advice that is in their best interests should stand up against the aggressive anti-investor lobbying tactics of their trade associations seeking to overturn the Department of Labor’s (DOL) conflict of interest rule, according to three national organizations that have supported DOL efforts to strengthen protections for retirement savers.”

AFR Testimony: Testimony to SEC Investor Advisory Committee Hearing
December 9, 2016 – 4:17 pm 

In the new political environment, it is likely that there will be a heavy emphasis on the capital formation mission of the SEC. The IAC should play a critical role in reminding the Commission that investor protection is crucial to stable and effective capital formation. …Improving financial entity disclosures is crucial if we are to improve market discipline for large financial entities and investor discipline for funds.

AFR Statement: House committee votes to undermine Investor safeguards
June 16, 2016 – 10:58 am 

“If these measures became law, long and painful experience suggests they would cause capital to move from sound and regulated investments into dangerous and unregulated investments. The net effect would be to weaken regulatory oversight, reduce transparency, and generally undermine the regulatory framework that helped make America’s financial markets the deepest, most vibrant markets in the world.”

AFR Statement: DOL retirement investment rule deserves Senate backing, not blocking
May 24, 2016 – 1:28 pm 

The Senate will vote today on a resolution to disapprove the Department of Labor’s rule requiring retirement advisers to put their clients’ best interests first. The principal sponsors of the Senate resolution – Johnny Isakson of …

Joint Statement: Why Lawmakers Should Stop Trying to Derail DOL Fiduciary Rulemaking
September 11, 2015 – 9:26 am 

“We urge you to reject any such proposal that weakens or delays these crucial protections, whether it is based on H.R. 1090 or a phony Wall Street ‘alternative’ to DOL rules. Instead, you should stand with your hard-working constituents saving for retirement who deserve financial advice that is in their best interest, no matter who provides it.”

AFR Testimony: Expansion of ERISA Fiduciary Duty Protection is “Long Overdue”
August 12, 2015 – 1:33 pm 

“Over the forty years since the existing DOL rule was written, retirement markets have transformed and workers have become overwhelmingly reliant on self-directed savings. Due to the loopholes in the current rule, brokers providing advice on such self-directed savings can easily evade the fiduciary protections that Congress intended to provide to workers saving for their retirement through employment-based plans.”

Letter to Regulators: AFR Calls on Department of Labor to Protect Retirement Investors
July 22, 2015 – 11:15 am 

“This is a huge problem – one that, over time, can easily add up to a difference of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings. Under the current rules, some of the financial professionals offering retirement investment advice are legally bound to look out for the best interests of their clients; but other professionals, while perceived as having such a duty and clearly benefiting from the perception, are free to put their own interests first, even if that means saddling their clients with needlessly high fees or inappropriate risks.”

 
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