DFS announces series of statewide consumer protection hearings

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New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda Lacewell announced a series of consumer protection hearings following the release of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s consumer protection proposals included in his 2020 State of the State agenda.

The hearings are intended as a way for DFS to obtain information from New York consumers about their experiences with financial products and services, such as debt collection, auto lending practices, access to banking and financial services, and other consumer-related issues, according to a DFS press release.

“A top priority of the Department is to protect consumers, and this is an opportunity to hear directly from New Yorkers regarding various financial products, from student loans to essential brick and mortar banking services,” Lacewell said in the press release. “The Department welcomes consumers and local community leaders to the table, and we look forward to hearing their insights and concerns.”

DFS intends to use the information it obtains from the hearings to draft potential consumer protection proposals in response to Cuomo’s 2020 agenda, focusing on increasing consumer protection powers, expanding access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education, licensing and regulating debt collection companies, fighting elder financial fraud, and addressing the impact of the student loan debt crisis on women of color, the press release stated.

Legal services personnel, financial counselors, local community leaders, industry representatives and the general public are also welcome to give testimony, according to the release. The first hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Rochester. Additional hearings will be held in New York City and other locations around the state, the dates of which will be announced in the “near future,” according to the press release.

Additional details, including instructions for submitting testimony, are available on the DFS website.

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