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Rep. Gregory W. Meeks Releases Statement on his Opposition to Banking Bill

May 22, 2018
Press Release

 

Washington, DC - Today, senior member of the Financial Services Committee, Representative Gregory W. Meeks, voted in opposition to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155).  Rep. Meeks issued the following statement on his vote in opposition to S. 2155:

“In my twenty years of Congress, I have had to take a number of difficult votes on comprehensive legislation that only passed through Congress because of compromise.  Today’s vote on S. 2155 is no different, especially as a New Yorker that represents one of the most racially and ethnically diverse districts in the nation, including professionals that work in the financial services industry and blue collar workers alike. In fact, one of my main goals over the years has been to better align the private interests of Wall Street with the public interests of Main Street, because the two cannot survive without the other.

“My decision to vote in opposition to S. 2155 came about after much deliberation since the bill includes many provisions I support.  For example, the bill includes language from House bills that are supported by minority-owned banks and credit unions which are institutions that continue to drive economic development in underserved communities. These institutions have legitimate regulatory burden concerns. 

“S. 2155 also includes an important provision I co-sponsored that would encourage the consideration of alternative data – including a borrower’s on-time payments of rent, utilities, and cell phone bills – in the mortgage underwriting process. This provision could help make homeownership a reality for individuals who would otherwise have too scant of credit histories to qualify for a traditional 30-year mortgage in today’s market.

“Unfortunately, my conscience could not bring me to vote in favor of S. 2155 largely because of the bill’s exemption for a majority of banks from important mortgage disclosures enacted to detect discriminatory practices.  My fear is that this provision will only assist the Trump Administration in its overall effort to curtail important civil rights regulations that foster greater trust in the financial sector and ensure a level playing field for good actors in the market.   

“Just today, it was reported that the so-called Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is considering watering down how regulators enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the civil-rights era anti-discrimination law. Last week, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary made a similar announcement with respect to weakening fair housing rules.  I must consider S. 2155 within this broader context. 

“In good conscience, I simply cannot vote for any proposal that would help this Administration chip away at laws that I and my colleagues – both past and present – worked so hard to enact and preserve.  Such a vote would go against the very core of what I stand for.”