Castor Endorses Wall Street Reform Overhaul
Dec 8, 2009 -
Congresswoman Kathy Castor released the following statement today regarding the comprehensive Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:
“We must quickly and comprehensively reform Wall Street so that the economic collapse we experienced never happens again. We need more accountability and more oversight to rein in the free-dealing that has plagued Wall Street for far too long.
“Last year, I voted against the Wall Street bailout bill because it did not address the root causes of the economic crisis. It gave too much money and attention to help Wall Street rather than the hard-working middle-class families across America and in the Tampa Bay area.
“The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 finally will make direct help available to my neighbors and prevent such predatory lending practices from happening again. I opposed the huge Wall Street bailout last year because it did far too little to help middle-class families in the housing squeeze. Our community needs direct help during these rough economic times. With this bill the House of Representatives will pass critical, long overdue reforms. We no longer will be bailing out banks. Instead we will be helping homeowners.
“The legislation, which I support, ends predatory lending practices and requires home loan lenders to make sure borrowers can repay the loans they are sold. That’s common sense reform in the best interest of our neighbors. I heard from thousands of Floridians who attended the four foreclosure assistance workshops I organized about how they had been taken advantage of by their lenders. Now there will be penalties for irresponsible lending and strong consumer protections for mortgages.
“We will accomplish many of my goals by creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Its mission will be to protect homeowners and small businesses – rather than banks and Wall Street. At last, we will make sure that when borrowers take out a loan, they understand the details of their mortgages.
“We are also giving a much-needed boost to minority- and women-owned businesses. Last week I held a small-business workshop to link business owners with experts in federal contracting. I heard first hand the challenges business owners face in landing federal contracts, so I am pleased this legislation will expand opportunities.
“I have worked to improve this legislation by writing amendments to protect Florida homeowners.
“To greatly help Florida homeowners, I have offered an amendment that will allow more homeowners to qualify for refinancing under the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Currently the initiative is available to homeowners whose first mortgage doesn’t exceed 125 percent of the market value of their home. My amendment ups that to 150 percent because many Florida homeowners are more than 125 percent underwater with their mortgages.
“I also propose a provision that will automatically convert trial modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program to permanent fixes for homeowners who have paid modified mortgage payments on time for three consecutive months.
“I also propose attaching a provision to the Wall Street Reform bill that will require monthly reports of loan modification requests received, processed, approved and denied under the Home Affordable Modification Program. The Treasury Department must be aggressive in ensuring that trial loan modifications are offered to at-risk homeowners.
“Another amendment I authored will direct returned TARP dollars from banks to families living in areas disproportionately affected by foreclosures. TARP money will finally help homeowners, not big Wall Street banks.
“With these critical reforms in place, our economy can better get back on track, we can end unnecessary bailouts of Wall Street banks and we can focus our attention and our resources on those who need the most help.”