Survey Shows Seniors’ Support For Consumer Financial Protection Issues

With Democrats attempting to push legislation for the Consumer Financial Protection Agency forward, the future of financial services regulation faces a cloudy future regarding the size and scope of financial protections for consumers.  With both sides of the aisle weighing in, the AARP recently released the results a nationwide survey to understand public opinion for 50+ consumers on consumer financial protection issues. The results show nearly unanimous support for numerous consumer financial protections including those for mortgage lending products, credit cards and retirement accounts regardless of party affiliation.  Not surprisingly, some of the results of the survey appear to reflect seniors’ lack of trust in the current state of the financial services industry.

Some of the findings from the survey are:

  • Almost all respondents (96%) favor requiring banks to explain the terms and conditions of loans, including mortgages and credit card debt, in plain language people can understand. Support is consistent across all political parties, with over 9 in 10 members of all parties backing this requirement: Republicans (98%), Democrats (95%), and Independents (96%).
  • More than 9 in 10 (93%) favor requiring companies that manage 401(k) retirement plans to explain the fees they charge to participants and to clearly state those fees on participants’ annual statements. Again, support is strong across political parties with endorsement by over 9 in 10 Republicans (93%), Democrats (94%), and Independents (92%).

  • 92% favor requiring investment companies to disclose the costs, risks, and benefits of all the financial products they market and sell using plain language and a user-friendly format. Again, results show support of more than 9 in 10 respondents across parties: Republicans (91%), Democrats (91%), and Independents (95%).
  • Overall, 90% favor holding financial salespeople who engage in deceptive marketing accountable, with consistent support from Republicans (92%), Democrats (89%), and Independents (90%).
  • Almost 9 in 10 (89%) favor protecting people from predatory lending practices, such as excessive fees and penalties, on products ranging from mortgages to credit cards. Support is strong across political parties, with positive responses from 86% of Republicans and 91% of Democrats and Independents.
  • Two-thirds (66%) favor allowing states to enact consumer protection laws that are stronger than federal law. This figure is fairly consistent across political parties: Republicans (68%), Democrats (67%), and Independents (66%).
  • Approximately six in ten people (59%) do not think people and banks that sell financial products always make sure the product is suitable for the individual buying it. This sentiment is shared by similar numbers of Republicans (64%), Democrats (55%), and Independents (59%).

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