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Charlotte, N.C. – UNC Center for Community Capital Executive Director Janneke Ratcliffe told attorneys general convened in Charlotte April 11 that better public policy decisions could be made – and the public interest better served – if policymakers and government agencies integrated independent researchers into their decision-making processes.

“New and better data could provide an extraordinary resource to better serve the public interest in the arena of financial services,” Ratcliffe told attorneys general from across the country attending the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative Summit hosted by NAAG President and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper invited state attorneys general, members of the financial industry, academia, government, consumer advocacy groups and other stakeholders to discuss ways to detect and prevent financial scams that sink consumers further into debt and hurt business growth. The event theme was America’s Financial Recovery: Protecting Consumers While We Rebuild.

“Crimes and scams related to foreclosure, debt relief, business opportunities, identity theft and mortgage fraud flourish in hard times, and consumers and legitimate businesses are getting ripped off,” said Cooper. “As our economy rebounds, we must work hard to protect working Americans from fraud and unfair financial practices.”

The summit focused on building an effective and efficient relationship between attorneys general and the newly created U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). Other topics of discussion included financial scams, data sharing, coordination of enforcement of the Dodd-Frank Act, preemption, regulatory practices of financial institutions and other emerging consumer protection issues.

Guest speakers also included Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the president and special advisor to the sececretary of the CFPB; Holly Petraeus, Office of Service Member Affairs for the CFPB; Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission; Bank of America President and CEO Brian Moynihan; and Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Part of the solution is to build in a strategic and structured role for independent researchers, Ratcliffe said in her presentation, The Power of Data Sharing and Usage.

“We all want to ensure that the new data will be a major contribution to the public welfare,” Ratcliffe said. “If we fail to ask the right questions, fail to act and fail to constantly improve data collection, it will not.”

View Ratcliffe’s presentation.

A report of the conference discussions will be compiled by NAAG and made available to policymakers and other interested parties.

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG),, was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfil the responsibilities of their offices and assist in the delivery of high-quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

The UNC Center for Community Capital is the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit or call (919) 843-2140.

Topics(s): Consumer Protections, Debt & Credit, Financial Inclusion, Financial Services Industry
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