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Consumers Gain Clout in Washington

CNN Money

After being on the outside for years, consumer lobbyists have gained power. Credit card rules were just the start of what they hope to do with it.

One area of regulatory reform that consumer advocates are particularly keen on is a new panel that would regulate mortgages and credit cards. The White House supports the idea of creating a so-called Financial Safety Products Commission, say consumer advocates and legislative aides.

"These are ideas that are not new to us, but haven't been vogue in Washington and they're getting more credence," said Caleb Gibson of the liberal think tank Demos, which has been working on the blueprint for such a commission.

Consumer groups want a strong and independent agency that publicly monitors mortgages and credit cards in a transparent way. But they don't want it to preempt strong consumer laws already in place in some states and localities.