Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Banking Insurance Reform
SECTION TITLE: BANKING AND INSURANCE REFORM
SECTION SUBTITLE: Justice and stability for our banks and insurers
OUR POSITION: Greens will overhaul the financial industries to end their culture of impunity and to prevent them from committing fraud or malfeasance so severe as to drive our nation into a massive recession or depression.
Since finance, banking, and insurance institutions occupy a privileged position of power at the center of commerce, this special advantage brings with it special social responsibilities. We must ensure that the institutions chartered for these roles take that responsibility seriously and serve the public interest.
Greens aim to reform the financial industries to eliminate usury (exorbitantly high interest rates on loans) and ensure that they meet their obligations to taxpayers and local communities.
1. Break up our nation's largest banks and financial institutions so that none is "too big to fail." End taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers and other financial companies.
2. Regulate all financial derivatives, ban any predatory or gambling use of derivatives, and require full transparency for all derivative trades, to control risk of systemic financial collapse. Require regulatory pre-approval of exotic financial instruments.
3. Re-enact the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial companies and engaging in risky economic transactions.
4. Oppose the federal government being the final guarantor of speculative investments. During a financial crisis, if the federal government and/or a central bank must provide relief, it should be given in an equal manner and at the most local level possible, so that benefits are equitably dispersed and burdens are equitably borne. So rather than pouring trillions of dollars into the banking system, they should have provided direct mortgage relief to homeowners suffering the most from the housing bubble and negotiated with lenders to provide partial loan forgiveness.
5. Democratize the Federal Reserve Board.
6. Ensure that low and middle income people have access to banking services, affordable loans, and small-business supporting capital, especially through credit unions.
7. Oppose disinvestment practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money deposited in local communities out of those same communities, damaging the best interests of their customers and community.
8. Support the extension of the Community Reinvestment Act to provide public and timely information on the extent of housing loans, small business loans to minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projects, and affordable housing.
9. Strengthen disclosure laws, anti-redlining laws, and openness on the part of lenders regarding what criteria they use in making lending decisions.
10. Oppose arbitrary or discriminatory practices that deny individuals or small business access to credit.
11. Support development of charter community development banks, which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meet the credit needs of local communities.
12. Support the expansion of co-operative credit unions.
13. Clean up the insurance industry. Eliminate special-interest protections, collusion, over-pricing and industry-wide practices that too often injure the interests of the insured when they are most vulnerable. Prohibit bad-faith insurance practices, such as avoidance of obligations and price fixing.
14. Enact single-payer universal health insurance. Until single-payer is established, we support laws that act to make insurance policies transportable from job to job.
15. Support and encourage the insurance industry's efforts for "loss prevention," that is, to reduce the incidence of death, injuries, disease and other calamities.
16. Support initiatives in secondary insurance markets that expand credit for economic development in inner cities, affordable housing and home ownership among the poor, sustainable agriculture and rural development maintaining family farms.
17. Prohibit companies from being the beneficiary of insurance on their own employees.
Broader financial industry reforms
18. Support a 10% cap on interest rates, above inflation, for credit cards, mortgages, payday loans and all other consumer lending.
19. Aggressively crack down on crime, fraud, malfeasance and tax evasion in the financial and insurance industries.
20. Reduce excessive executive pay.
21. Support the formation of Citizens' Utility Boards to defend the interests of consumers and policyholders.
22. Favor a tax on stock, bond, foreign currency and derivatives transactions to discourage speculation.
2004 PLATFORM ON BANKING AND INSURANCE REFORM
The Green Party supports a broad program of reform in the banking, and the savings and loan industries that acts to ensure their commonwealth obligations to all communities. Since lending institutions are chartered by the state to serve the best interests of communities, the privileges that come with power at the center of commerce carry special social responsibilities.
1. The government should ensure that low- and moderate-income persons and communities, as well as small businesses, have access to banking services, affordable loans, and small-business supporting capital. Loans should be made available to small business at rates competitive to those offered big business. We support disclosure laws, anti-redlining laws, and a general openness on the part of the private sector regarding criteria used in making lending decisions. We oppose arbitrary or discriminatory practices that deny small business access to credit.
2. We oppose disinvestment practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money deposited in local communities out of those same communities, damaging the best interests of their customers and community. We support the extension of the Community Reinvestment Act and its key performance data provisions to provide public and timely information on the extent of housing loans, small business loans to minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projects, and affordable housing.
3. We believe Congress should act to charter community development banks, which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meet the credit needs of local communities.
4. Insurance industry regulation is essential to reduce the cost of insurance by reducing
* special-interest protections; * collusion and over-pricing, and; * excessive industry-wide practices that too often injure the interests of the insured when they are most vulnerable.
We must prohibit bad-faith insurance practices, such as avoidance of obligations and price fixing.
5. We support federal laws that act to make policies transportable from job to job and seek to prevent insurance companies’ rejecting applicants because of prior conditions. This is a move in the right direction but in no way addresses the scope of the problem, whether in health insurance, life insurance, business, liability, auto, or crop insurance.
6. We support initiatives in secondary insurance markets that work to expand
* credit for economic development in inner cities; * affordable housing and home ownership among the poor; * transitional farming to sustainable agriculture, and; * for rural development maintaining family farms.
7. We oppose insurance laws that permit a company to own insurance on its employees.