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TESS VIGELAND: If a consumer financial protection agency falters in Congress and no one is around to protest, does it matter? This week, the rumblings in Washington grew ever stronger that there will not be a new independent agency to police the selling of bad mortgages, unfair credit card terms and the like. The idea has been near-death and resurrected several times since President Barack Obama proposed it last spring. But aggressive lobbying from the banking industry may well win out over consumer sentiment.
Natalie Strater: If they did their job, it would be a great idea. Unfortunately, we just keep adding agencies that don’t make anything work. So then, we pay for it with our taxes.
Reporter: So two sides to it.
Strater: Yeah, I wouldn’t be upset at all if it didn’t go through.
CJ Chantas: Not too happy with the current route that they’re trying to take and trying to, basically, create a bigger government.
Reporter: So the consumer financial protection agency, you’re against that?
Chantas: Yeah. I think people need to just be a little bit more responsible with how they spend their money.
Samantha Hoye: Honestly, I haven’t heard of that part yet, and it would be nice. You know, consumers need to be protected, because there’s a lot of people out there, who are vulnerable and don’t know what’s going on and they’re not informed, or they’re just oblivious to the whole situation, maybe don’t care.
Alice Hall: I think a lot of times, the banks and stuff, they take advantage of the consumers, and we don’t really know what’s going on. And they change stuff on us all the time, so I think someone looking out for us would be a good idea.
Reporter: Would you be disappointed if it didn’t happen?
Hall: I think I would, yeah. I would.
Kevin Laws: Well, I haven’t heard that much about it, but I know that they have been talking about protecting the consumers against predatory lending and things of that nature. And I think that they do need some type of protection for the average consumer. Where they place it, who’s going to oversee it and all like that, I just trust that the leadership that’s in position right now would make the right decisions based upon that.
Jenny Lohr: I would like to think that with the way the economy is going that the American public would want to encourage Congress and that Congress would want to help out the American public by doing this. But at the same time, the fact that it’s even a controversial thing, sort of makes me feel a little pessimistic about it. And I think even if it did get enacted, there would be the same general forces of the financial industry trying to sort of weaken any consumer protections that would be out there. So, I’m a little bit pessimistic, I guess.
Vigeland: The voices of Natalie Strater, CJ Chantas, Samantha Hoye, Alice Hall, Kevin Laws and Jenny Lohr. Speaking with us this week from the streets of New York City, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Ore.