Fix the System That Led to Collapse

Article excerpt

We all now understand that the tricks of finance that crashed the housing market u and the economy u were the same tools used to afford bigger homes, nicer cars, luxury vacations.

When used by responsible, financially savvy and gainfully employed people, these tools provided a great resource to reach the American dream u in style.

When sold to those who are less secure, have less-stable employment, weak credit and arenAEt as well-versed in the tricks of finance, it can be a disaster. That disaster eventually affected each of us in the form of job loss, pay cuts, lower property values, foreclosure or less access to credit.

Four suburban members of Congress have a key role in fixing the lack of oversight that contributed to this mess. Those members of the House Financial Services Committee, which will consider a proposed fix later this month, are U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert, Don Manzullo, Melissa Bean and Bill Foster. The proposal on the table would consolidate jobs from other agencies to form a comprehensive Consumer Financial Protection Agency. One primary mission is to apply the same regulations to mortgage lenders, banks, payday loan outfits, credit cards and other financial institutions.

"Nearly a dozen federal agencies have authority to enforce consumer protection laws," said Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand. "But no one has it as primary mission. a Some have little or no protection at all under this system."

The goal, Rand said, is "making sure all financial products are safe. …