WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call to mark 10 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Brown is continuing his fight to help Ohio workers and families recover from the crisis, as Washington rolls back reforms on Wall Street and financial institutions.
“Truly learning the lessons of the economic crisis means standing on the side of American workers – whether it’s on affordable housing or consumer protections, pensions or protecting taxpayers from bailouts – not Wall Street,” said Brown.
Brown pointed out that too many Ohio families are struggling to get back on their feet, facing housing or retirement crises, while Washington rolls back rules on Wall Street and waters down reforms passed after the economic collapse to hold financial institutions accountable.
Brown was joined on the call by Bill Faith, the Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. Faith discussed the toll of the economic crisis on Ohio’s housing market, and the continued struggle to help Ohioans secure affordable housing.
“Ten years ago predatory mortgage lenders sent a lot of Ohioans into foreclosure and pushed the economy into the gutter. Homeownership has dropped, demand for rental housing increased and rents went up, but wages barely budged,” said Faith. “Today only two of the 10 most common jobs in Ohio actually pay enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The housing crisis is still with us, but the burden has shifted from homeowners to renters.”
Brown is leading the charge on several initiatives to level the playing field for Ohio workers and families and protect Ohioans from predatory practices by Wall Street and big financial institutions.
Earlier this year, Brown introduced legislation to crack down on exploitative overdraft fees that banks charge consumers when they make a purchase or pay a bill but don’t have sufficient funds in their account. Banks offer overdraft services to allow account holders to make purchases or pay a bill even if they don't have sufficient funds in their account, while charging a fee for the service – on average $35. Many banks even process transactions not in the order they occur, but in the order that generates the highest fees. These fees disproportionately fall on customers who are least able to afford them, especially workers living paycheck to paycheck.
Following the Equifax breach in 2017, Brown also introduced the Equifax Consumer Protection and Data Empowerment Act, which would require consumer reporting agencies to provide a secure, convenient and accessible method for consumers to control what information credit reporting agencies share. The bill also outlines specific purposes for which credit reporting agencies can use consumer credit reports and requires enhanced protections for fraud alerts.
Brown is also co-chairing the bipartisan House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions that is working to address the pension crisis threatening more than 60,000 Ohioans and 1.3 million workers and retirees nationwide, caused in part by the financial crisis.
As part of his plan to restore the value of work, Brown has also introduced legislation to provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules, expand two anti-poverty tax credits that help put money back in the pockets of working Ohioans and families, provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, expand overtime pay and strengthen collective bargaining rights.