Americans Believe Wall Street Needs More Regulation
NEW YORK (MainStreet) Even a prolonged bull market delivering double-digit returns can't mitigate the deep investor distrust of Wall Street. Five years after the financial crisis, Americans overwhelming believe that the investment and banking industry requires even greater supervision and more stringent regulation.
By a convincing 3:1 margin, voters surveyed by Lake Research Partners believe that broad regulation will help prevent future financial problems and that conviction holds true across political party lines. Fully 85% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 72% of Republicans agreed that Wall Street should be guided by "tougher rules."
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The message is clear for political candidates, too. A majority (56%) of voters surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for a Congressional candidate who had been backed with major funding from big banks and financial companies. In fact, they would be more likely (46%) to vote for a candidate who favored stronger regulation of banking and investment firms.
Three-fifths of respondents said the financial services industry is still too powerful and reckless and poses a continuing threat to the economy. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said there should be more government oversight (65%) and regulation (62%) of Wall Street banks, mortgage lenders, payday lenders and credit card companies.
Regarding specific financial issues, the surveyed revealed broad support for a long list of reforms:
- Small-dollar lenders having to make sure loans are affordable to customers (88% support)
- Borrowers being able to pay back their student loans with a minimum monthly payment based on their income (88% agree)
- Debit cards having to decline purchases rather than charging a fee (83% support)
- Bank customers having the right to take complaints to court (76% support)
- Borrowers being allowed to sue the same lender together (71% support)
- Banks not being allowed to charge more than six overdraft fees per year (65% support)
- Companies issuing prepaid cards should decline purchases rather than charge overdraft fees (88% agree)
While some members of Congress favor reducing the funding or the elimination completely of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 75% of voters approve of the consumer watchdog and its work. Opponents say the CFPB is unaccountable, expensive and an unnecessary federal bureaucracy -- but voters support the CFPB's regulatory actions by more than a 3:1 margin, according to the survey.
The poll of 1,000 "likely national voters" was conducted on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending.
Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet