Five years ago, just after the meltdown of the U.S. financial system, a number of labor, consumer, civil rights, and community-based organizations came together to form Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) – a coalition of hard-working groups and individuals pushing for strong reforms to the U.S. banking system.
I served as the Executive Director of AFR starting at that time, and I saw firsthand what an uphill battle the fight for strong financial reforms was, leading up to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. It was a David vs. Goliath battle – the financial industry spent over $1 million a day on lobbying during that time period - more than we spent in that whole year! But we made some important progress, even as we need to make more progress. And the struggle continues.
I turned over the reins of AFR to Lisa Donner, after the passage of Dodd-Frank. Financial reformers have pushed – again and again and again – for meaningful implementation of the new law, for tough new and much needed provisions like the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act that go beyond Dodd-Frank, and to prevent the banks from stopping reform in its tracks.
I am writing today to let you know something important: the budget fight in the U.S. Congress last week demonstrated that the fight for Wall Street reform is about to escalate again, and that things are only going to get more difficult when the big banks pick up even additional influence in the U.S. Senate in a few weeks.
This means AFR’s work is going to be more urgent and critical than ever. And it means, more than ever, we’re going to need help from people all across the country who care about these issues.
As the New Year approaches, I thank you for what you’ve done. But more importantly, I ask you to keep at it - signing petitions, forwarding emails to your friends, writing to legislators or regulators, and helping keep bank reform on the front burner in Washington.
You can also join me in sending a message to Congress: No More Siding with Wall Street! I’m going to continue standing up with AFR for a banking system that works for all Americans and against rollbacks of provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act that hold Wall Street accountable.
I hope you will join me in signing on and sending a clear message: No more siding with Wall Street over Main Street!
Former Executive Director
Americans for Financial Reform