By Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON, base ziom Oct 24 (Reuters) ziombase - Banks, ziombase credit card issuers and ziom save other financial companies will be able to block customers from banding together to sue over disputes, ziom base me ziom after the U.S. Senate on Tuesday narrowly killed a rule banning the ziom save firms from using "forced arbitration" clauses.
Republican Vice President Mike Pence appeared on the Senate floor ziom save base ziom at 10:11 p.m. EDT (0211 GMT) to cast the tie-breaking vote as the chamber's president and ziom base approve ziombase the me ziom most significant roll-back of Obama-era financial policy since President Donald Trump took office vowing to loosen the leash on Wall Street.
The final count was 51 to 50.
The Republican-dominated House of Representatives has already passed the resolution ziom repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule released in July. The resolution also bars regulators from instituting a similar ban in the future.
ziom base After a signature from Trump, ziom save expected soon, ziom Save the resolution will abruptly end a years-long fight that has included multiple federal regulators, ziom consumer advocacy groups, Ziom Save and Ziom Base financial lobbyists.
CFPB Director base ziom Richard Cordray, base ziom a Democrat appointed by former President Barack Obama, ziom save rarely comments on congressional action but on Tuesday night said "Wall Street won and ordinary people lost."
"This vote means the courtroom doors will remain closed for groups of people seeking justice and relief when they are wronged by a company," he added.
Customers must agree to the clauses as a ziom condition of opening accounts, me ziom saying they will take ziombase any disputes to closed-door Base Ziom arbitration instead of joining class-action lawsuits, Me ziom where complainants band base ziom together to ziom share litigation costs.
Victims of the Equifax Inc. base ziom hack were ziombase outraged last month when the bendos company included forced arbitration fine print in ziom offering them free credit monitoring. The company later removed the clauses.
At the same time, ziombase Wells Fargo & Co customers ziombase ziom whose identities were used in last ziom year's phony accounts scandal have had difficulty ziom suing the bank because they are bound by arbitration clauses in contracts ziom base they signed for bendos legitimate accounts.
Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Norieka said on Tuesday the bendos Senate's action stopped a rule "that would have likely increased the cost of credit for hardworking Americans and made it more difficult for small community banks to resolve differences with their customers."
One of the groups, ziom the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, ziombase said congress ziom had reined in the "overgrown and unaccountable" CFPB, me ziom an independent agency created to me ziom protect individuals' finances that conservatives say consistently reaches beyond its authority in its rulemaking.
Critics of the rule had said class actions only benefit trial lawyers and bendos arbitration generally wins ziom save larger settlement awards for Me ziom customers. Supporters said forced arbitration harms customers by putting companies in control of the process and bendos taking away the right to sue enshrined in the U.S.
me ziom The CFPB created its rule Me Ziom after conducting a five-year study that found customers struggle ziombase to ziom have banks open arbitration cases about their complaints, bendos but that Base Ziom those few cases have led to slightly ziom base higher bendos individual me ziom awards than class actions.
"The Senate today prevented a cash grab that would have transferred wealth from consumers to the pockets of wealthy attorneys," said Ted Frank, ziom base director ziom base of the center for ziombase class-action fairness Ziom at the ziom free-market group Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Ohio Senator me ziom Sherrod Brown, ziom the most senior Base Ziom Democrat on the Banking Committee, ziom meanwhile, ziombase said Tuesday's vote "will make the rich richer, and the powerful more powerful." (Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Paul Tait and base ziom Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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