These have been turbulent times for the American economy. On Main Street and on Wall Street, the past year has tested the resilience of the greatest wealth-creation engine the world has ever known. Now, as America continues its journey on the path to recovery, we in the financial-services sector want to take this opportunity to speak directly to you the consumer about what we’ve all been through, and what it means going forward.
First, let us recommit to providing you the kinds of accountable and professional guidance you’ve come to expect from us. Navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of the economy -- exotic investments, complicated home mortgages, impenetrable credit-card provisions and the like -- requires a flexible hand and a sharp eye. Most of all, it requires a total commitment to service.
That’s why we’re here.
In fact, that’s why we’ve been actively working with members of Congress as they consider proposals to impose a new and risky regulatory scheme on vital segments of our industry. Adopting such a scheme would put government bureaucrats between you and your money. That is why we oppose these proposals, and why we’re doing everything in our power to reshape them.
Everything we do, we do for you.
There are some who insist that our economy’s recent problems stemmed largely from a lack of government regulation of banks and other financial institutions. These activists would “fix” things by imposing layers of burdensome new rules on the very activities you’ve come to count on. They would even create a so-called Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- with another government “czar” -- to police your most personal financial details.
“Implied in this belief is the notion that some people, such as the government bureaucrats, can make informed decisions about the value of products and services, while others, such as the American consumer, cannot.”
So said Sen. Richard Shelby, the leading Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. We couldn’t agree more -- and it isn’t just Republicans who recognize the dangers of over-regulation. Responsible Democrats are also concerned about what an intrusive regulatory regime could mean for our fragile financial recovery. Accordingly, we have been working hard with members on both sides of the aisle to try to restore reliance on your own good judgment, and on good old American common sense.
That’s what got us here, and that’s what will sustain us in the years ahead.
There were those who expected the financial-services industry to slink away in embarrassment after the setbacks of the past year, and after the need to accept government bailouts simply to stay in business. Never again, they thought, would we play such a critical role in the life of the nation’s economy.
These people misjudged us. The issues involved are too important. The profits are too large. And the public is too preoccupied with other matters -- protecting their health care from yet another government takeover, for instance -- to pay close attention to our little corner of the world.
So we’re seizing the initiative. We’re doing whatever we have to do to craft legislation more to our liking -- and yours. As long as we can still draw breath, and write letters, and make campaign contributions, we will keep fighting this fight. This is our pledge to you. This is our bottom line.
Your Financial Services Industry: Giving America the Business.
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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com.