Betsy Costle

Elizabeth Rowe Costle is director of the Consumer and State Affairs Team for the AARP Public Policy Institute. Her staff conducts research and policy analysis in financial services, energy, telecommunications and legal and personal rights. She is also a member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Advisory Board.
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When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began operation just over four years ago, consumers were made — for the first time — a priority for federal financial regulators. As chief financial regulator in Vermont from 1992 to 2003, I was often prevented by federal law from protecting the citizens of my state. For instance, I and other state regulators worried about predatory lending well before the financial crisis, but we could take no action against nationally chartered banks, their subsidiaries and others because federal law gave these lenders immunity from state consumer protections.
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I am my husband's guardian. I was appointed by the Vermont probate court after a court hearing over 13 years ago. He had suffered a severe stroke, was disabled and could no longer manage his affairs. Although he had lost his speech, he developed his own sign language and could make his wishes known, at least to those of us who were close to him. And he clearly wanted to go home, and to make sure, he celebrated leaving the Boston rehabilitation hospital and gave exact directions to his driver (his son-in-law) during the two-hour drive back to Vermont.
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