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Congressman Owens Urges Chairman Frank to Protect Auto Dealers in Wall St. Reform Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) continued his fight to spur economic development in Upstate New York. Owens, along with Rep. Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.) sent a letter signed by 62 House Democrats to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), urging him to exempt auto dealerships from the Wall Street reform bill that will be considered later this month.

“Many auto dealerships are locally owned and operated and played no part in creating the crisis on Wall Street that caused millions to lose their jobs,” Owens said. “During tough economic times when our local dealers are trying to expand their business and create jobs, they do not need new and uncertain regulations from Washington.”

Owens voted for the House-passed version of H.R. 4173 last year, which exempted auto dealerships from new regulations included in the Wall Street reform bill. The measure, which effectively ensures that local auto dealers are not negatively impacted by necessary Wall Street reform, gathered significant support in the Senate.

“Consumers in Upstate New York and across the country will ultimately benefit from this effort to preserve dealer-assisted financing as an affordable, convenient and competitive option for financing a car or truck,” said William McBride, Sr., president of Bill McBride Chevrolet and Subaru of Plattsburgh, N.Y. “Dealers applaud the leadership of Rep. Owens, who recognizes that maintaining dealer-assisted financing increases access for consumers and decreases the cost of an auto loan.”

“Our community auto dealers are small business owners who do not underwrite or fund auto loans – they merely facilitate financing to help their customers purchase a vehicle,” Owens added. “We believe the balance achieved in the House bill is an appropriate compromise that will ensure auto dealers can still offer optional dealer-assisted financing while maintaining strong consumer protections.”

Owens was joined by 61 of his Democratic colleagues in the letter.