New Ad Highlights Equifax Breach, Calls on Portman to Protect Consumers, End Forced Arbitration

Ad Encouraging Senator to Stand Up for Ohio Consumers, Not Wall Street, Begins Thursday in Ohio

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Allied Progress launched a digital ad buy in Ohio to encourage Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to vote against the Congressional Republican effort to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. The rule protects consumers that have been taken advantage of by big banks and other financial interests from being forced into secret arbitration tribunals where industry-stacked panels call the shots and consumers hardly stand a chance.

The digital ad campaign comes just days after one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history, and uses the ensuing scandal surrounding Equifax to illustrate the importance of the CFPB’s rule. The spot, titled “Fine Print,” will begin to run in Ohio and will call on Sen. Portman to oppose S.J. Res. 47, legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s rule on forced arbitration. It encourages viewers to visit EndForcedArbitration.org or call 1-866-776-2372 to contact Sen. Portman and urge him to oppose repeal.

“Equifax’s botched attempt to force millions of consumers into arbitration after exposing their most personal information in a devastating data breach shows exactly why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule is so important. More than just putting the wellbeing of their constituents in jeopardy, if Senate Republicans are successful in their attempt to repeal the CFPB’s rule, they will encourage even more reckless behavior by the Equifax’s and Wells Fargo’s of the world,” said Karl Frisch, Executive Director of Allied Progress.

“The CFPB’s arbitration rule has broad support because it gives consumers a choice. They can stick with arbitration or band together and and go to court when they are screwed over by big banks and powerful financial corporations. We are hopeful that when Senator Portman hears from his constituents about this issue, he will do the right thing and reject efforts to repeal these important protections,” he continued.

The American Future Fund recently conducted an Ohio statewide survey that found 68 percent of respondents favor the Consumer Bureau’s arbitration rule. Forty percent of respondents view banks and credit card companies unfavorably.

Conservative support for repealing the rule may be waning — it continues to lose support among conservative groups and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has announced his opposition to repeal.

The 24 initial Senate co-sponsors the repeal effort have taken more than $100 million from the financial sector over the course of their careers, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.

To speak to Karl Frisch about the ad campaign or “Fine Print,” please contact Annette McDermott at 404-545-7558 or annette@alliedprogress.org.

Script for “Fine Print” – 30 Seconds

“It’s hidden in fine print. In loan and credit contracts. Big corporations like Equifax tried to sneak it past you. To strip away your rights, and avoid accountability. It’s called forced arbitration…and Wall Street wants Washington to make it permanent. Lobbying to overturn tough new rules. But when it comes to the fine print, he may have the final say. Senator Portman can protect Ohio consumers. His vote can end forced arbitration. Period.”

Ohio and the Arbitration Rule by the Numbers

  • Bank Account Holders: Wells Fargo opened up to 3.5 million fake accounts – including 1,579 in Ohio – without customers’ consent. Wells Fargo has tried since 2013 to use forced arbitration to block lawsuits, including a class action that would help those Ohioans. Wells Fargo has also repeatedly tried to use forced arbitration to avoid justice for people in 49 states – including Ohio – who were charged excess overdraft fees when their accounts were not overdrawn.

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Allied Progress uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to stand up to Wall Street and powerful special interests and hold their allies in Congress and the White House accountable.

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