Representatives from the State Department of Financial Services will be in Rochester on Thursday to hold a hearing on consumer protection.
The department is the state's financial and insurance regulator. Winston Berkman-Breen, director of consumer advocacy, said its mission is to make sure New Yorkers can both safely access consumer products or services and grow wealth.
“So they are not being taken advantage of by any sort of predatory or novel product or actor. And we really can't do that job without talking to New Yorkers directly," he said.
Berkman-Breen, who is also the department’s student advocate, said he expects to hear residents talk about student debt at the forum.
“Right now, about 2.8 million people are dealing with about $90 billion in student debt in New York State alone,” he said. “We've done some other programming about student loans, but that's certainly something we're going to hear about during the hearing."
The department will also hear concerns about auto loan debt, housing, and insurance.
Residents who have signed up to provide testimony will speak at Thursday's hearing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the M. Dolores Denman Courthouse, 50 East Ave., Rochester.