Poll: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Wall Street Reform

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WASHINGTON – The vast majority of Americans – Republican, Democrat and Independent – favor strong oversight of the financial services industry, including a strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a new poll released yesterday.

The poll, by Lake Research Partners, found Americans want financial firms held accountable and financial reforms to take effect as soon as possible by a margin of three-to-one. And they want the new consumer protection agency – created by last year’s Wall Street reform bill – to be up and running as planned, not diluted by the financial industry’s current attempts to weaken its funding and structure.

The poll was conducted for AARP, the credit union-backed Center for Responsible Lending and Americans for Financial Reform, a broad-based coalition of consumer and community groups.

The main findings were: after hearing arguments in support of and in opposition to financial reforms, voters across party lines solidly support the Wall Street reform law; voters favor a single federal agency with the sole mission of safeguarding the public from deceptive financial practices and predatory products; and, voters believe safeguards will help restore the economy and not, as some on Wall Street say, stand in its way.

The poll comes as Republicans in Congress are working to repeal major provisions of the Wall Street reform bill. A bill expected to be passed by the House Thursday would water down the new consumer bureau and is supported heavily by Wall Street lobbyists.

The poll found that 63% of voters, including 61% of independents, want more government oversight of financial companies; just 25% want less government oversight.

Almost three-quarters of voters (74%) want a single agency to police financial services, with 83% of Democrats, 73% of independents and 68% of Republicans in favor.

Almost all voters (93%) want credit card issuers to provide clearer explanations of their rates and fees.

More than three-quarters (77%) want to make it harder for lenders to offer loans with risky or confusing features, such as teaser rates.

More than 70% (73%) favor banning payments from lenders to mortgage brokers for putting homeowners into higher-rate mortgages.

The majority of voters, 63%, want the law to take effect, rather than be repealed.

The random survey of 804 likely voters was conducted from July 10 to July 13.


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