Congress Could Repeal Consumer Protection Bank and Credit Card Rule

As early as Tuesday, the House could vote to repeal regulations designed to help consumers take joint legal action against banks and lending companies. Last week, measures were ‎introduced in the House and Senate to repeal a new "arbitration" rule created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious coalition that advocates for banks and lending institutions to be more transparent, releases the following statement: 

‎"When we are wronged by financial institutions, we need to be able to hold them accountable. 

‎"Beyond the consumer protections the new rule delivers, the rule pushes banks and credit cards to be more transparent because these businesses don't want to be subject to consumer collective actions lawsuits."

"It's a mistake for Congress to repeal these consumer protections." 

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Consumer Bank and Credit Card Rule Under Threat

On Thursday, Members of Congress took aim at a new banking and lending rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senators and Representatives introduced companion measures to repeal the bureau's rule that makes it easier for consumers to take joint legal action against banks and lending companies.

‎"Congress should not repeal rules that make banks and lenders more transparent and accountable,"said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt watchdog group, Jubilee USA. "We cannot forget that it was a lack of accountability and transparency in the financial sector that helped create a global financial crisis."

Congress could vote to repeal the consumer rule as early as Tuesday.‎ Senators and Representatives are using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate the regulation. Congress has used the CRA 14 times since the beginning of the year. 
"Unfortunately, Congress took similar actions earlier this year that weakened our protections against financial crises and voided transparency rules that protect poor countries," said LeCompte.
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Jubilee USA Statement on Final G20 Declaration

The annual G20 Summit concludes in Hamburg, Germany and leaders of the G20 release their final declaration.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

“The G20 concluded with some progress on financial stability issues like debt, transparency and taxes. On climate we see the United States backtracking. On trade, the divisions will continue to grow until the G20 can look at trade policies that are more fair to workers and the poor.

"The G20 needs to look at how a global bankruptcy process can further promote economic stability.‎ While more needs to be done to stop the next financial crisis, the G20 moved efforts forward on debt policies to prevent predatory financial behavior and protect poor economies from crisis.

"With the adoption of the G20 Hamburg Action Plan and support for the Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing, G20 member countries are encouraged to pass stronger regulations on responsible lending and borrowing.

"The efforts on tackling corruption, tax evasion and avoidance continue to move forward at the G20. The developing world is losing at least a trillion dollars a year because of these issues. We need to solve this problem quickly because these revenues are vital to combating poverty and supporting economic growth." 

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Jubilee USA Director Issues Statement on NAFTA Negotiating Objectives

The White House released objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.‎

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

Trade agreements can be powerful tools for reducing global poverty and the new negotiating objectives recognize the need for trade to promote global development.

"I'm encouraged that access to medicines and improving dispute settlement mechanisms are included in the new trade negotiating goals.

"While I applaud efforts to resolve trade disputes transparently, we need to be sure that disputes can be resolved in ways that don't violate the sovereignty of a country."

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¿El G20 impulsara nuevas medidas de política publica para abatir la desigualdad?

El G20 se reúne en Hamburg, Alemania en su encuentro anual.

Eric LeCompte, director ejecutivo de la organización de base religiosa Jubilee USA, hizo las siguientes declaraciones públicas:  

“Al mirar la manera en cómo el G20 está tratando de abatir la desigualdad y proteger al mundo de una crisis financiera, vemos progreso. No obstante, necesitamos ver más acción”.

“En aras de prevenir una crisis financiera, necesitamos reglas globales que pongan un paro a la corrupción y la evasión contributiva. Necesitamos un procedimiento de quiebras global que pueda evitar que ocurra una crisis financiera en el futuro”. 

“Un aspecto importante de este encuentro es que los líderes del G20 están impulsando nuevas medidas de política pública para prevenir una crisis de endeudamiento. Las nuevas Guías Operacionales para el Desarrollo Sustentable del G20 hacen un llamado a los países miembros del G20 para aprobar legislación que detenga la corrupción e implante un marco legal que promueva prácticas responsables para prestar y coger prestado”. 

“Cabe señalar que aun cuando los lineamientos nuevos del G20 se quedan cortos al determinar si es o no es sustentable la deuda de un país, estas guías representan un progreso para proteger a las poblaciones más vulnerables de una crisis económica”.  

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Will the G20 Support New Debt and Tax Policies‎ to Tackle Inequality?

The G20 meets in Hamburg, Germany for their annual meetings.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

“When we look at how the G20 is trying to tackle inequality and protect the world from financial crisis, we see some progress and we need to see some more action. 

"To prevent financial crisis we need global rules that stop corruption and tax avoidance. We need a global bankruptcy process that can prevent the next financial crisis from happening.  

"‎An important aspect of this summit is that G20 leaders are supporting new policies to prevent debt crisis. The new G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Development call on G20 member countries to pass stronger laws to stop corruption and enforce responsible lending and borrowing.

"While the new G20 guidelines fall short on determining whether or not a country's debt is sustainable, the guidelines are progress in protecting vulnerable people from economic crisis."

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Audit of Mozambique Debt Reveals Corruption

Ahead of President Trump's first G20 meeting in Germany this weekend, Mozambique released an audit exposing violations of the country's laws to secure now-defaulted loans. Nearly $2 billion in loans were secured by the government of Mozambique but hidden from the public and Parliament. Last week, Business Insider reviewed CIA data and ranked Mozambique as one of the most indebted countries in the world. The United Nations Development Programme ‎lists Mozambique as one of the least developed countries in the world at 181 out of 188 countries. 

“We know that the financial crisis in Mozambique was caused by corruption at the national and international level,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “It seems a group of Mozambique's leaders and creditors conspired to steal from some of the world's poorest people.”

The financial scandal and debt crisis facing Mozambique will be discussed in Hamburg by G20 leaders in the context of new responsible lending and borrowing guidelines during their annual two day meeting. Finance Ministers for the Group of 20 supported these "Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing" at their March meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany.

“The G20 is calling on its member countries to pass stronger laws to stop corruption and enforce responsible lending and borrowing,” said LeCompte who serves on United Nation debt expert groups. “While the new G20 guidelines fall short on determining whether or not a country's debt is sustainable, the guidelines are progress in protecting vulnerable people from economic crisis."

The Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing are available here

The Executive Summary of the audit of Mozambique is available here

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G20 Focuses on Debt, Taxes and Inequality

The G20 meets in Hamburg, Germany on Friday and Saturday for their annual meetings.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"The G20 is focusing on inequality and inclusive economic growth during their meetings in Hamburg. These issues impact all of us, let alone the poorest people in our world.

"Behind closed doors the G20 conversation on inequality will get specific on debt and tax issues.

"‎It's important that the G20 will likely support new global guidelines on responsible lending and borrowing during their meetings. It's critical that the G20 continues efforts to thwart tax evasion and corruption."

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Puerto Rico Power Utility Files for Bankruptcy

The Puerto Rico power utility PREPA, filed for bankruptcy protection under the Title III process created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"It's important that Puerto Rico's power utility filed for Title III bankruptcy protection. We can expect a more favorable debt restructuring for the people of Puerto Rico than the previous debt deal.

"In order for Puerto Rico to get out of this crisis, all debt should be dealt with through one comprehensive process. This is another reason that it is good news ‎that PREPA files under the same process that is being used to resolve most of the island's debt."

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European Union Votes on Corporate Transparency Regulations

The European Parliament is set to vote on landmark corporate transparency rules known as "country-by-country" reporting. Under the new law all major multinational corporations, including US businesses that work in Europe, will publicly disclose taxes and other payments made to governments in countries where they operate. The European Union (EU) Parliament likely will vote in favor of the regulations before Wednesday and then the EU Council will make the final decision. ‎

“This is exciting news. Europe is moving forward the most comprehensive rules to date to stop bribery and encourage corporations to pay taxes where they operate,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. LeCompte served on United Nations expert groups that focused on these new rules. “Unfortunately as we are making progress in Europe less comprehensive transparency regulations are threatened with repeal in the United States.”

‎As new transparency regulations in Europe move forward, similar US provisions are under attack. Section 1504 of the US Dodd-Frank Act requires oil, gas and mining industries to perform similar US reporting to the European measure. Congress slowed the US provision from moving forward earlier this year and then the US House of Representatives voted to repeal Section 1504 entirely. ‎Jubilee USA leads a campaign to prevent the Senate from repealing the transparency meassure.

“Corporate transparency rules are vital for combatting corruption and ensuring that our economy protects vulnerable communities,” said LeCompte.

The EU legislation includes an exemption for corporations to not disclose information if the disclosure would threaten commercial interests.

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Puerto Rico Board Meets on Anniversary of Debt Legislation

Puerto Rico's oversight board is holding its eighth public meeting in San Juan at the Sheraton Hotel Convention Center. In executive session on Tuesday, the board rejected a debt restructuring deal between bond holders and‎ Puerto Rico's power company known as PREPA.

“The PREPA deal was a bad deal and the board was right to reject it,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. LeCompte testified to Congress and the oversight board on the ‎island's debt crisis. "Puerto Rico needs significant debt relief and the PREPA deal fell short of a serious debt haircut."

The PREPA restructuring now likely moves to the Title III bankruptcy process. The process was created by Puerto Rico debt crisis legislation.

“The Title III bankruptcy process is important because it can deal with all of Puerto Rico's debt. All of the island's debt should be restructured in this one comprehensive process that can deeply cut the debt,”‎ said LeCompte.

This week, Judge Laura Taylor Swain continued the Title III bankruptcy proceedings and earlier this month appointed a team of federal judges to act as mediators in the bankruptcy process. The team will meet with representatives of Puerto Rico and its creditors for the first time on July 12.

“Puerto Rico's debt has a human cost. Nearly 60% of kids on the island live in poverty,”‎ noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Congress made a promise to reduce child poverty on the island and the debt needs to be restructured in ways that will lift kids out of poverty."

The oversight board meets on the one year anniversary of President Obama signing a law that created the board and established a Congressional task force to make recommendations to reduce child poverty. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) established the Title III bankruptcy process and protections for Puerto Rico from debt lawsuits.

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Legislation Combats Shell Company Corruption

Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) heralded the House introduction of the Corporate Transparency Act at press conference at the House Triangle. The bill aims to prevent shell companies from hiding corrupt and criminal activity. ‎

“Dictators use financial secrecy to steal money from their people and human traffickers use shell companies," said Eric LeCompte Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "We need Congressional action that protects vulnerable communities from being exploited through financial secrecy."

The legislation requires US corporations to disclose in a private registry that is available to law enforcement, the names of the owners who benefit from a business.

"The leadership of Representatives Maloney and King is critical as we work to promote a more transparent financial system,”‎ noted LeCompte.

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