ACORN ain't dead yet | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 27, 2010

ACORN ain't dead yet

Posted By on Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 6:22 AM

ACORN may soon be gone as a national organization, but its long-nourished local grassroots haven't withered. A successor organization, Arkansas Community Organizations, continues the fight here.

I was reminded of its continuing work by a news release distributed by ACO decrying the slick Chamber of Commerce ad campaign against financial reform legislation and its promise of protection for consumers and small businesses from financial scams and unequal access to credit. This kind of advocacy is precisely why the wingers and suits have worked so tirelessly to bring down a ragtag organization that survived so long against their hoarded gold on grit and principle.


Today Arkansas members of Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition urging Congress to pass strong legislation to overhaul the financial system, issued a statement urging Arkansans to be skeptical of slick television ads sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce.  The ads are part of a $3 million campaign by the Chamber to oppose a Consumer Financial Protection Board included in the legislation to reform our nation’s financial system.  The coalition believes that a new consumer protection agency is needed to safeguard individuals and small businesses from high cost financial scams and to ensure equal access to credit on fair terms.
“How many times have we heard about bait and switch tactics employed by credit card companies, mortgage brokers and auto loan companies that trick consumers into getting caught up in financial scams,” said Maxine Nelson, a retired RN and member of the Watson Chapel School Board.  “I am so pleased that the President and Congress are working to create one agency dedicated to consumer protection.”
“The Chamber’s ads are deceptive.  Years ago the Federal Reserve had the power to make rules that could have stopped the predatory lending binge in the home mortgage market that triggered the collapse of the big banks and investment firms.  Instead they sat by and watched mortgage brokers, lending companies and Wall Street financiers gorge themselves on money made from high risk loan schemes,” added Ms. Nelson.  “We need an agency that has the mission and the power to make rules and enforce them so that we can better protect consumers and prevent this crisis from ever occurring again.”
“Last fall the Main Street Alliance surveyed 142 small business owners in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, White Hall and Little Rock on their opinions about financial reform.  Our survey found that sixty-three per cent of respondents saw the need for strong financial reform and the same percentage believed that a Consumer Financial Protection Agency was needed,” said Bishop Leroy Hampton, a business owner in Pine Bluff.  “The national Chamber does not speak for me and others in the business community.  We need access to credit on fair and equal terms.  We need an agency that can help level the playing field.”
The link to the Main Street Alliance report is:
“So buyer beware.  Don’t believe the ads you will see on TV.  The Chamber thinks that it’s fine to bail out Wall Street.  But they are dead set against legislation that will protect Main Street from financial piracy or guarantee small businesses fair access to credit,” concluded Ms. Nelson.

Members of the coalition also pointed out that the Department of Defense has also given its support to the creation of a consumer protection agency.

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