Tag Archives: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Sen. Warren talks financial services to union leaders

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.) the architect of the CFPB, gave a rip-roaring speech at the AFL-CIO annual convention in Los Angeles on September 10, placing a spotlight on financial services as an area union members should be watching, calling issues of economic justice “American values” worth defending.

She elaborated on recent speeches in which she has called the Supreme Court biased against consumers and workers, noting what she called “the increasing corporate capture of the federal courts.” She specifically identified Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts as …

Read more...

CFPB:WATCH suspending operations

It is with a sense of real regret that today’s issue is the last, at least for now, of CFPB:WATCH.

We began publishing it a little over a year ago, as a pilot project that would chronicle the faltering first few steps of the newborn agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s been fascinating for us, and we hope you have enjoyed our coverage and found it informative.

It’s clear now that the agency is here to stay.

But our business model at Washington Watch, which is the long-time publisher of our flagship …

Read more...

Republicans hammer Cordray again; this time he fights back

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee flailed in helpless rage a little more stridently than normal at the January 28 hearing. Usually, the mild-mannered Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, takes such attacks in stride. This time, however, seemingly losing his patience at what has become predictable and recurring political theater, Cordray shot back in anger.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) set the Republican tone by comparing the CFPB’s collection of consumer data to the spying done by the National Security Agency.

“You are saying that you are not [abusing the data …

Read more...

Political fallout grows as retail data breaches rise

The string of high-profile data breaches at retail stores is attracting Congressional ire, a situation that could affect every business that accepts credit or debit card payments for goods and services. Both the FTC and CFPB are already moving into action as well. 

News reports in the past few months have been filled with accounts of innocent consumers finding themselves victims of identity theft after they bought goods on-line or in-person.

First, at Christmas, there was the news that the credit and debit card data of up to 40 million customers had …

Read more...

At forum, ombudsmen explain their roles as neutral arbiters

Five ombudsmen for financial regulators walk into a room.

That’s not the start of the joke, but a description of an informative exchange at a recent meeting in Washington, where these little-seen government officials described how they act as liaisons and referees between the public and their agencies. They refrained from telling war stories but did give the audience a primer on what they can and cannot do.

CFPB Ombudsman Wendy Kamenshine said they don’t have the power to change the outcome of an examination but can encourage CFPB officials to reconsider …

Read more...

CFPB proposes to expand its regulation of remittances

Under rules proposed by the CFPB, nonbanks that offer foreign money transfer services would be subject to the same regulations and supervision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as banks and credit unions.

The Bureau said it wants to ensure that nonbanks are providing customers with information, such as: the exchange rate, fees, the amount of money that will be delivered abroad, and the date the money will be available. Consumers generally receive these disclosures in English and sometimes in other languages. The CFPB also wants to be certain that all …

Read more...

Cordray slated for repeat performance on Jeopardy

You may not be able to go home again but CFPB Director Richard Cordray is showing that you can go back on Jeopardy.

Cordray, a five-time champion in 1987 who won $40,303, is one of 45 former champions invited back for a special “Battle of the Decades” tournament to air the week of February 3. Cordray’s segment is scheduled to air on February 5. 

Through a spokeswoman he declined to discuss that appearance or discuss what it was like to win on the program.

But the show posted one of the programs on …

Read more...

Calendar

February 6 – R. Paul Stimers, a partner at K & L Gates LLP will discuss “What You Should Know About Social Media, Even If You Don’t Tweet,’’ at a brown bag lunch sponsored by Women in Housing &Finance. The meeting will be held from 12:15-1:30 p.m. at K & L Gates LLP, at 1601 K Street NW, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is February 5.

February 23-27 – The Credit Union National Association will hold …

Read more...

CFPB, DOJ impose $98 million fine in lending discrimination case

In their first joint effort targeting discriminatory lending practices, the CFPB and the Justice Department announced a $98 million consent agreement with Ally Financial and Ally Bank to settle charges the lender charged minorities higher interest rates.

The settlement, which mandates that Ally return $80 million to consumers and pay an $18 million civil penalty, relates to more than 235,000 loans made to African American, Hispanic, and Asian borrowers between April 2011 and December 2013.

Ally sets a minimum interest rate that a dealer charges a borrower. Ally then allows the dealer …

Read more...

Ocwen hit with $2.2 billion settlement for mortgage servicing woes

Subprime loan servicer Ocwen Financial will have to reduce the principal on some mortgages and refund money to people whose homes were foreclosed, under the terms of a $2.2 billion settlement announced by the CFPB and the attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia.

“Ocwen took advantage of consumers with servicing shortcuts and unauthorized fees. It misled consumers about alternatives to foreclosures. It provided false or misleading information to consumers about the status of their accounts. It denied loan modifications for eligible homeowners. And it sent documents through …

Read more...

Inspector General pans CFPB enforcement procedures

The CFPB’s decision to send enforcement attorneys out on routine examinations stirred resentment in financial-industry circles last year, and the agency later back-pedaled and changed the policy. A new report by the agency’s inspector general agrees it was a very bad idea, and that it needed to be stopped.

The CFPB’s now discontinued practice of sending enforcement attorneys on routine examinations “delivered inconsistent messaging to supervised institutions about the role of enforcement attorneys in examinations,’’ according to a report by the inspector general of the Federal Reserve.

Regulated entities complained that the …

Read more...

CFPB, states team up to pursue online lender

In one of its first actions in conjunction with state attorneys general, the CFPB sued a servicer of online loans, alledging it engaged in deceptive practices and collected money that it wasn’t owed.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray told reporters that CashCall Inc. violated consumer protection laws of at least eight states. He added that it is “unfair to collect money that consumers do not owe on loans that do not legally exist. It is deceptive to trick consumers into repaying illegal loans that state law has nullified in part or in …

Read more...

CFPB wants more disclosure on firms’ financial dealings with colleges

The CFPB is asking large financial companies to make more complete disclosures of the financial arrangements they make with colleges and universities for the right to market products.

“Students and their families should know if their school, whether well intentioned or not, is being compensated to encourage students to use a specific account or card product,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “When financial institutions secretly give kickbacks to schools, they are engaging in risky practices.”

Under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, these financial institutions already …

Read more...

FDIC’s Gruenberg touts improved health of banks

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg recalled that he was warned when he joined the board in 2005 that “nothing’s happening in the banking industry, you’ll be bored there.’’

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Eight years and a tumultuous financial crisis later, Gruenberg used a December 17 speech to Women in Housing & Finance to report that the banking industry is returning to health and he is happy at the prospect of calmer days.

“The overall picture is one of gradual recovery for the industry,’’ he said “We’ve …

Read more...

People

Obama Names McWatters to NCUA Board

Mark McWatters, a former member of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel and former aide to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), has been nominated by President Obama to serve on the board of the National Credit Union Administration.

McWatters, whose nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate, would succeed Michael Fryzel, who has been on the board since 2008. Fryzel’s term expired last summer but federal law allows him to continue to serve until a successor has been confirmed. Like Fryzel, …

Read more...

Calendar

January 14 – Debra Golding, deputy director of Consumer and Compliance Outreach and Education at the Department of Labor and Barbara A. Smith, senior economist, Office of Retirement Policy, Social Security Administration, will discuss “Taking the Mystery out of Retirement for Workers of All Ages’’ at a brown bag lunch sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from 12:15-1:30 p.m. at. Venable LLP, 575 7th St NW, Washington DC 20004. For more information on the meeting, contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742

January 23 …

Read more...

Witnesses beg CFPB to ban pre-dispute arbitration

More than a dozen participants at a Dallas field hearing last week, including a number of church leaders representing large Southern congregations, urged the CFPB to restrict or ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

Under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB has the authority to examine the use of these mandatory arbitration agreements and decide whether to limit or prohibit them. These agreements, included in the fine print of contracts for all kinds of financial products, – including checking accounts, credit cards and installment loans – obligates borrowers to give up their recourse to the courts …

Read more...

Lawmakers push measure to rein in CFPB, other regulators

While Republicans and Democrats disagree on much, there is a bipartisan movement afoot to more closely restrict the power of financial regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under the draft of a bill discussed at a December 4 hearing before the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, financial regulators couldn’t issue new rules if they are “duplicative or inconsistent with existing Federal regulations.’’

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) who chairs this subcommittee that oversees the CFPB, is co-sponsoring the measure along with Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), …

Read more...

Cordray touts mortgage rule before friendly crowd

CFPB Director Richard Corday spends a lot of time speaking to industry groups who make him feel about as welcome as a ham sandwich at a vegan banquet.

However, when he spoke to the Consumer Federation of America, a group that was one of the strongest advocates for the creation of the Bureau, it was a different story. He was greeted as a hero for the common man.

When introducing him at the group’s Financial Services Conference on December 5, Rachel Weintraub, the group’s legislative director, praised him for his “strong defense …

Read more...

CFPB finalizes rule regulating nonbank student loan servicing companies

Nonbank student loan servicing companies that handle more than 1 million borrower accounts would come under the direct supervision of the CFPB under a rule finalized on December 3.

CFPB examiners will now make sure all relevant federal consumer financial laws are being followed, such as: the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and prohibitions against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices. In addition to examination powers, the bureau also has the right to take enforcement actions against companies …

Read more...

CFPB takes action on medical credit cards

In another instance of the CFPB flexing its regulatory muscle against a large firm, GE’s Capital Unit agreed to return $34.1 million to customers to settle a dispute about the terms of its CareCredit medical credit cards.

The Bureau said the company gave consumers inadequate information about the terms of the credit cards, including not telling them how to avoid deferred interest, penalties and fees.

“Deferred-interest products can be risky for consumers in the best of circumstances and today’s action ensures that CareCredit will no longer be able to profit from consumer …

Read more...

Calendar

December 17 – FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg will speak at a public policy luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at. Venable LLP, 575 7th St NW, Washington DC 20004. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742.

January 23 – Larry Hattix, Michael Powers and Margaret McCloskey Shanks, the respective ombudsmen for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Federal Reserve System will discuss …

Read more...

CFPB takes action against payday lender

CFPB Director Richard Cordray made it clear that companies under his agency’s jurisdiction had better recognize several “clear messages” from its recent, first public enforcement case against a payday lender. In a conference call with reporters on November 20, Cordray said the action against Cash America International Inc., one of the country’s larger payday lenders, shows several things: robo-signings are illegal; violations of the Military Lending Act that harm service members will be “vigorously policed;” and entities that withhold, destroy or hide information relevant to the agency’s exams will be …

Read more...

Sen. Rockefeller seeking crackdown on military lending abuses

Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) is looking for some scalps.

At a hearing on abusive lending practices directed at servicemembers, Sen. Rockefeller repeatedly voiced his outrage at what he called the “scumbags” who operate financial service companies and retail operations that prey upon young members of the military. The hearing came on the same day the CFPB announced its first action against a payday lender that targeted military personnel.

“As they serve us, they are getting shafted, on our watch,” Sen. Rockefeller said. He told government witnesses to take advantage …

Read more...

CFPB unveils new mortgage disclosure forms

At last.

After more than two years of testing, revisions and consulting, the CFPB has finally issued new forms aimed at simplifying the information companies have to provide at the beginning and end of the mortgage process. It is expected these new forms will go into use August of 2015.

In creating the “Know Before You Owe” forms, the Bureau fulfilled a mandate spelled out by Congress in Dodd-Frank that ordered a rewrite of the disclosure forms that lenders are required to give consumers when they first apply for a loan and …

Read more...

Republican-dominated House panel seeks to revise CFPB structure

Although there may not be an obvious connection between the problems with Obamacare’s rollout and the powers of the CFPB, that didn’t stop House Republicans from trying to link the two during a recent markup of new bills to restructure the CFPB.

“Just as President Obama told us ‘if you like your health insurance you can keep it,’ the CFPB has made promises about the availability of credit that they haven’t kept,’’ House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said.

The bills include one mandating the CFPB be run by a …

Read more...

Feds says relations with CFPB are mostly smooth

While there is some overlap and natural tension between the agencies, the Federal Reserve and CFPB generally get along, the Fed’s top consumer affairs official said recently.

“We work really well with the Bureau, but there are challenges because the Bureau has a different business model,’’ said Sandra Braunstein, the director of the Fed’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs during a November 19 at a luncheon meeting of Women in Housing & Finance. “It’s an independent agency so it has its own culture and business model,’’ she noted. “We do …

Read more...

CFPB study highlights gaps in financial education spending

For every two dollars governments and nonprofits spend on financial education, those pushing financial products spend $54.

That’s the main finding of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study of marketing and advertising spending. The Bureau said the findings show the need to redouble efforts to improve financial literacy.

“The challenges facing consumers in managing their finances are significant, and the current spending on financial education is very low compared to the amounts spent on marketing financial products. This raises the importance of providing high-quality sources of unbiased financial information,’’ according to the …

Read more...

Calendar

December 3 – Bernadette Kogler, president and CEO of RiskSpan and Pat Greene, the firm’s managing director will discuss “Securitization Update in the Aftermath of the Housing Crisis,’’ at a brown bag luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at K & L Gates LLP, at 1601 K Street, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is December 2.

December 4 – Peter Carroll, assistant director of …

Read more...

Raj Date enters the fray in Bitcoin debate

Former CFPB top exec Raj Date is becoming Washington’s newest Mr. Fix-It. His next gig will be appearing shoulder-to-shoulder with entrepreneurs touting Bitcoin, the digital currency that is attracting nervous scrutiny from a raft of regulators and legislators.

Circle Internet Financial, a company that develops products that make it easier for merchants to use digital currency, a form of private financial exchange unencumbered by federal regulation and which is not backed by a central bank, announced on November 14 that Date has joined its board of directors. Circle prominently noted Date’s …

Read more...

CFPB, DOJ beef up auto-lending probe; industry urges caution

While the CFPB and Justice Department step up their probe of automobile lending practices they say may discriminate against some minority groups, lenders and dealers are urging caution to ensure that any remedies don’t do more harm than good.

CFPB Assistant Director for Fair Lending Patrice Ficklin said at a November 14 forum hosted by the Bureau that its investigations have shown a “significant risk of discriminatory pricing outcomes.” She added that there are “substantial and statistically significant differences” in interest rates on car loans paid by white and minority customers …

Read more...

Elizabeth Warren gets boisterous welcome at consumer conference

As a large crowd in a cavernous ballroom at the Crystal Gateway Marriott recently waited to hear Elizabeth Warren speak at a conference of the National Consumer Law Center, the Senator was running late. Excitement was building. The 900 or so folks registered for this four-day conference were her people – lawyers who battle in the trenches for consumers, often taking on banks and behemoth financial institutions.

Probably more than any other politician on Capitol Hill, the Massachusetts Democrat with the no-nonsense style has already won points for speaking to their …

Read more...

Consumer lawyers cheer CFPB, while some diss the FTC

Rosemary Shahan sat near the back of one of the salons at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, and listened closely as a handful of the top officers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau described the ins and outs of the agency’s work. Shahan was one of more than 80 people – on a Saturday afternoon, no less – gathered for this session of the National Consumer Law Center’s Consumer Rights Litigation Conference.

Shahan, a well-known car safety activist and president of the Sacramento, California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, …

Read more...

CFPB seeking input on debt collection regulation

The FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau share oversight of the debt-collection industry, but the CFPB, which has already expanded its regulatory reach, is looking to do even more.

The Bureau is seeking input on the content of rules it plans to issue, probably next year, regulating the industry.

“Collection of consumer debts serves an important role in the proper functioning of consumer credit markets. But certain debt collection practices have long been a source of frustration for many consumers,’’ CFPB Director Richard Corday told reporters on November 5, when he …

Read more...

Lawmakers press Cordray on data collection and security

No lawmaker questioned the agency’s legitimacy this time, but CFPB Director Richard Cordray was put on the griddle about the agency’s lack of openness in some areas and how it handles consumer data during a November 12 hearing of the Senate Banking Committee.

In response to inquiries from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the panel’s top Republican and others, Cordray said his staff would redouble efforts to protect the confidential data it uses but defended the scope of the Bureau’s data purchase and use.

“We are not monitoring individual accounts but monitoring large …

Read more...

Cordray says congressional oversight is sharpening the agency

Though the questioning that CFPB Director Richard Cordray gets when he goes to Capitol Hill would cause most people to mutter obscenities, publicly Cordray is claiming it’s all for the best.

Strong oversight from Congress helps the Bureau do its job better by pointing out things that Bureau officials might otherwise miss, Cordray said at a November 7 breakfast discussion sponsored by Politico.

The oversight is “very advantageous to our bureau,’’ Cordray said in a forum that allowed him to speak a bit more casually than normal about the stresses of establishing …

Read more...

CALENDAR

November 19 – Sandra Braunstein, director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, will speak at a public policy luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at Venable LLP, at 575 7th St NW, Washington DC 20004. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is November 15.

November 20 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is having a forum on …

Read more...

CFPB to get new overseer in House as Capito seeks Senate seat

There are many unknowns about next November’s elections, but one thing is certain: After it is over, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) will no longer chair the subcommittee that oversees the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Capito, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, is giving up her safe House seat to run for the open Senate seat from the Mountain State being vacated by Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.) who has served since 1985.

Assuming the GOP keeps control of the House after the …

Read more...

GOP takes aim at CFPB’s structure and funding

The New York Yankees didn’t make the post season this year, but the wisdom of one of their star players held sway on Capitol Hill recently.

For the Republicans discussing ways to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and give Congress more power over its operations it was a case of what Yankee catcher Yogi Berra might have described as “déjà vu all over again.’’

On October 29, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit held a hearing on nine bills that deal with the structure, funding …

Read more...

Auto exec lashes out at CFPB

Typically, corporate profit-and-loss conference calls with analysts are carefully scripted affairs where top executives speak in cautious and measured tones about the conditions affecting their industries.

But the CEO of the nation’s largest auto dealership, Florida-based AutoNation, Inc., didn’t mince words when he expressed his irritation with the CFPB at an analyst conference call on October 24, talking about the agency’s effort to ferret out evidence of discriminatory lending patterns in auto finance.

“We are dealing with a government agency that is bound and determined to do something whether a problem exists …

Read more...

CFPB report slams private student lenders

Private companies that lend to students still have an array of practices that are predatory and these may have to be corrected by regulation, the CFPB said in its annual report on student lending.

For example, lenders often process loan payments in a way that increases costs to students.

“Opaque or inaccurate payment processing emerged as a significant trend in complaints received during the reporting period. It is unlawful for any private student lender to impose a penalty on a borrower making an early payment or making a payment in excess of …

Read more...

Consumer groups praise new rule that protects those who wire money abroad

Consumer advocates are excited about the CFPB’s remittance rule that just went into effect this week and exoect it will make a big difference in the lives of folks who send money to family members or others abroad. It means that consumers in the U.S. who make electronic money transfers to people or businesses in other countries are entitled to know the exchange rate, fees and taxes that will be imposed, as well as the amount of money that will be received by the recipient of the transfer.

This is big …

Read more...

Judge dismisses challenge to CFPB’s constitutionality

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently tossed out a sweeping challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB on jurisdictional grounds without reaching the merits of the lawsuit. Morgan Drexen Inc., a firm that provides software and other support services to law firms, sought to head off an enforcement action by the CFPB in California federal court by filing a lawsuit in Washington in which it alleged that provisions of Dodd-Frank that create the CFPB violate the Constitution’s separation of powers.

The company was …

Read more...

CALENDAR

November 5 – Margot Swadron, senior risk expert at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, will speak on “Basel III Is Almost Here, Are You Ready?’’ at a brown bag luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from 12:15-1:30 p.m. at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th St SW, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is November 4.

November 7 – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau …

Read more...

Calendar

October 22 – Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Mark Wetjen will speak at a public policy luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at K & L Gates LLP, at 1601 K Street, NW, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is October 18.

October 31 – Laurie Maggiano, the CFPB’s servicing and secondary markets manager, will discuss the Bureau’s recently adopted mortgage servicing rules and answer …

Read more...

Indian tribes’ claims of sovereign immunity denied

A federal judge and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in two different cases, have rejected claims by Indian tribes that their sovereign immunity puts their lending business practices outside the reach of state and federal regulators.

Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the Southern District of New York ruled that in offering online high-interest, short-term loan services to New Yorkers, the tribes really are conducting business off of their reservations and, therefore, the activity cannot be protected by claims of sovereign immunity. The tribes, he wrote, “have built a …

Read more...

CFPB targets illegal debt-settlement practices

In its recent case against Meracord LLC, and its president and CEO Linda Remsberg, the CFPB continued its efforts to target debt settlement schemes that exploit consumers by charging illegal fees. Meracord, one of the largest payment processors for the debt-settlement industry, allegedly helped a number of debt-service relief providers collect millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees from consumers.

The Bureau seeks approval from federal district court in the Western District of Washington State, where Meracord is located, to approve a consent order that requires the firm and Remsberg to …

Read more...

CFPB fines lenders for inaccurate mortgage data reporting

Mortgage Master and Washington Federal have agreed to pay fines to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for inaccurate reporting of mortgage data.

Massachusetts-based Mortgage Master will pay $425,000 in civil penalties and Seattle-based Washington Federal will pay $34,000 in civil penalties after Bureau investigations found that the companies inaccurately reported data required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

“When financial institutions report inaccurate information, it obstructs the purpose of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and makes it more difficult for the CFPB to discover and stop discriminatory lending,” CFPB Director Richard …

Read more...

New report slams state debt-collection laws

The debt collection industry, already under intense scrutiny by the CFPB and FTC, drew more scathing attention last week with the release of a new report by the National Consumer Law Center, which reviewed state “exemption” laws across the nation and found that many were outdated and archaic.

Exemption laws were created in the agrarian era to prevent debtors from falling into hopeless penury. Some, according to the NCLC, have never been updated since what the group called “horse-and-buggy” days. Vermont’s laws, according to the report, protect one cow, two goats …

Read more...

CFPB focusing on campus banking deals that hurt students

Not content to focus on student loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also eyeing further regulations on financial services providers who target college students.

“We are distressed to hear that some students feel pressured to use specific products and may be unaware that when they sign up for those products their schools are secretly making money,’’ CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at a September 30 forum in Washington, D.C. “The Consumer Bureau is committed to working with everyone involved to ensure that students and young consumers have the opportunity to …

Read more...

CFPB foe Spencer Bachus announces plan to retire

Rep. Spencer Bachus, (R-Ala.), who as the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee led the opposition to Dodd-Frank, including the creation of the CFPB, won’t seek reelection next year after serving for more than two decades.

The 65-year-old Alabama Republican is a solid old-school conservative who put up a valiant fight during the fierce debate over the sweeping legislation, but his low-key style sometimes made him seem too accommodating to his conservative colleagues – a trait that earned him the distrust of some Tea Party supporters and occassionally drew …

Read more...

Credit card problems not solved yet, CFPB says

It’s a mixed picture: Fees have declined and disclosures have improved, but access to credit has become harder for some people as a result of the 2009 passage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or “CARD” Act, according to a new report unveiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at a field hearing in Chicago on October 2.

The credit card market is one in which “shopping for a credit card and comparing costs is far more straightforward,” according to the report. However, credit card issuers report that …

Read more...

Government agencies circling wagons over tribal lending

A fierce battle pitting Indian tribes intent on protecting their sovereignty and power to conduct online lending businesses against an aggressive New York prosecutor determined to shield his state’s consumers from high-interest short-term loans has been joined in federal court in New York.

Two tribes sued Benjamin Lawsky, the head of the New York State Department of Financial Services, in federal court in September in an effort to stop him from regulating their on-line loan operations – an increasingly important source of revenue to some tribes that are struggling financially. The …

Read more...

CFPB hearing draws meager crowd in Mississippi

There was an itty-bitty turnout at Itta Bena.

The CFPB took its show on the road to Mississippi on September 18, unveiling its new web-based home-loan analysis program at the agency’s Consumer Advisory Board Meeting, held at the Mississippi Valley State University campus in the town of Itta Bena.

But the video of the conference suggests that the number of agency officials transported to Mississippi for the event surpassed the number of people in the audience. About 30 CFPB officials and advisory board members crowded at the microphones and around a large …

Read more...

CFPB, OCC come down hard on JP Morgan Chase

In what could be the first of several large payments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have mandated that J.P. Morgan Chase pay $389 million in refunds and fines for improperly billing customers for optional products.

Chase has refunded $309 million to customers and agreed to pay a $20 million fine to the CFPB and $60 million to the OCC.

The investigation, which was started by the OCC and joined by the CFPB, found that between October 2005 and June 2012 the bank engaged …

Read more...

CFPB, FTC spell out elder financial abuse reporting rules

While safeguarding consumer privacy is important, the rules governing it shouldn’t prevent financial institutions from reporting potential financial abuse of seniors.

That’s the message the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators sent when they issued an advisory on September 24, which clarifies what financial institutions can do in this area, in light of the privacy protections in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

“Specific privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and its implementing regulations permit the sharing of this type of information under appropriate circumstances without complying …

Read more...

CFPB unveils military payday examination rules

When examining companies that make payday loans to military personnel, the CFPB plans to carefully assess risk to consumers such as potentially unfair, deceptive or abusive acts.

The Bureau spelled out guidelines in an examination handbook issued on September 17 in which it exercised authority to enforce the Military Lending Act (MLA).

The exams are aimed at identifying “acts or practices that materially increase the risk of violations of federal consumer law,’’ according to the handbook.

The CFPB noted that most payday loans are for several hundred dollars and have finance charges of …

Read more...

Report: CFPB needs a better scorecard for itself

The CFPB has done a good job of setting itself up and flexing its muscle but needs to be more transparent and develop better metrics to measure its effectiveness.

That’s the conclusion of a report on the CFPB by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington research group that concluded that “the mission of the CFPB is clear, but the measurements to determine success are not.’’

The report, which was co-authored by Rick Fischer, a senior partner at the Washington-based law firm Morrison & Foerster and Eric Rodriguez, vice president of research, advocacy …

Read more...

Budget fight unlikely to affect CFPB’s operations

As government agencies scramble to make plans to shut down in the face of political gridlock, the CFPB is expecting to emerge unscathed. According to agency spokeswoman Michelle Persons, the CFPB’s budget is tied to that of the Federal Reserve and is not affected by the congressional budget battle.

But the Federal Trade Commission, an agency that frequently works closely with the CFPB, is preparing to shut down at midnight on Tuesday, October 1.

The impact on the FTC will be dramatic. The agency’s website is expected to go dark. The Do …

Read more...

CALENDAR

October 1 –The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit is holding a hearing on legislative proposals to have the CFPB run by a five-member board and revamp how the salaries of CFPB employees are determined. The hearing, which centers on legislation sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building. For more information, go to: http://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=350891

October 2 – The CFPB is holding a field hearing on the consumer credit card market. The session …

Read more...

Barney Frank rips CFPB mortgage rules, reflects on lessons learned

In recent wide-ranging comments on lessons of the financial crisis, former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank – the co-author of the Dodd-Frank bill and former House Financial Services Committee Chairman – was as blunt as ever as he criticized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mortgage rules and parted company with liberals who contend that prosecutors have dropped by the ball by not pursuing more Wall Street bankers for their role in contributing to the crisis. 

On the mortgage rules, Frank argued that there must be risk retention so that those who securitize …

Read more...

CFPB pushes for greater accuracy on credit reports

The CFPB put companies that provide data to credit reporting agencies on notice they have to more aggressively investigate consumer complaints and be more certain that credit reports contain accurate information.

The Bureau said that these companies – known as furnishers –  must have reasonable systems and technology in place to receive and process notices of disputes and information regarding disputes including relevant documentation, forwarded to them by credit reporting agencies, also known as CRAs.

The CFPB is enforcing provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and in a memorandum issued September …

Read more...

CFPB bans mandated payrolls cards

Employers cannot require their employees to receive wages on a payroll card, the CFPB announced on September 12.

“Employees must have options when it comes to how they receive their wages,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “(F)or those employees who choose to receive wages on a payroll card, they are entitled to certain federal protections.”

The bulletin was a response to complaints the CFPB received from employees at some food service companies and retailers who had requested they be paid by direct deposit to their financial institution but were …

Read more...

GOP Lawmakers Give Cordray Rough Treatment Again

If CFPB Director Richard Cordray thought he would get a warmer welcome in the House after his confirmation gave him the job permanently he was quickly disabused of that notion on September 12.

When Cordray appeared before the House Financial Services Committee not only didn’t he receive flowers and candy but instead was the target of verbal slings and arrows.

Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said given that the Bureau is exempt from the budget process and its director can’t be removed except for cause it is “arguably the single most and …

Read more...

Antonakes gets new title; others named to agency

Steve Antonakes, who became the CFPB’s acting deputy director in January, just got a shorter job title.

In one of the first moves of just-confirmed CFPB Director Richard Cordray he named Antonakes, who has been with the bureau since 2010, to the #2 post on a permanent basis.

“He has adeptly led – and will continue to lead – our supervision, enforcement, and fair lending teams. Steve’s experience, his knowledge, and his judgment are vital in helping us achieve our mission of fostering a thriving, sustainable marketplace for both consumers and responsible …

Read more...

CFPB report targets mortgage servicers

Disorganized and unlabeled paperwork, incomplete disclosures to consumers and deceptive communications to borrowers about the status of loan modification applications are still widespread practices among bank and non-bank mortgage servicers, according to a report by the CFPB.

The Bureau, said its examiners found “lack of controls relating to the review and handling of key documents such as loan modification applications, trial modification agreements, and other loss mitigation agreements necessary to ensure the proper transfer of servicing responsibilities for a loan.’’ 

The review comes as the new federal regulator prepares for broader oversight …

Read more...

New York clamps down on tribal lenders, but Indians fighting back

A showdown is looming between payday lenders affiliated with Indian tribes and the New York State Department of Financial Services, which has issued cease-and-desist letters to 35 firms it says are offering illegal, high-cost loans over the internet to New York residents.

On August 6, the New York agency announced it was taking action to shut down business activities for those firms in the state of New York, and was also sending letters to 117 banks in the state requesting they work with the department to make sure such loans cease. …

Read more...

CFPB urges public servants to use loan-forgiveness programs

Governments and other public service employers ought to be more proactive in helping their employees participate in loan forgiveness programs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urged in an August report.

These employers ought to “advise employees that they might qualify for forgiveness of certain loan types’’ and “provide partially-completed certification forms to each employee annually and upon separation,’’ the report concluded.

In addition, local employers such as school districts “might educate their employees about other repayment programs, such as those offered by state and local governments, or through the federal Perkins Loan …

Read more...

Calendar

September 24 – Women in Housing & Finance is hosting a brown bag lunch on “GSE Reform-the Multifamily Perspective.” The speakers include: National Multi Housing Council Vice President of Capital Markets David Cardwell, Mortgage Bankers Association Senior Vice President of Commercial and Multifamily Policy Tom Kim; and National Association of Home Builders Senior Director of Multifamily & Affordable Housing Finance Claudia Kedda. The meeting will be held from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at K & L Gates LLP, at 1601 K Street, NW, Washington, DC. For more information on …

Read more...

CFPB faces new challenges, new opportunities

Now comes the even harder part.

Getting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray confirmed by the Senate required traveling a long and winding political road. The Bureau now faces political and policy challenges and given the landscape on Capitol Hill, little chance of seeing Democrats and Republicans come together on its work.

After a deal breaking a legislative logjam, the Senate approved Cordray for a five-year term by a vote of 66-34 on July 16. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the intellectual architect of the Bureau who ran for the Senate after …

Read more...

Dodd-Frank, 3 years later: where are they now? Part I

In his book chronicling the passage of Dodd-Frank, veteran Washington Post journalist Robert Kaiser listed a core group of 56 people he thought had played particularly influential roles in spearheading or opposing the legislation that launched the CFPB. It appears toward the front of the book and serves as a kind of cast of characters.

A quick spot-check by CFPB:WATCH indicates that, three years later, few of these 56 primary players remain at their posts. Where are they now? In the next few issues, we’ll track them down beginning, in alphabetical …

Read more...

Sen. Warren, activists cheer Cordray confirmation, but say more needs to be done

Call it a victory lap. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, could hardly contain her jubilation at a policy forum on July 17, the day after the Senate finally confirmed Richard Cordray. But she cautioned that more needs to be done to fight for consumers.

“This is the week we can say loudly, clearly and with confidence: the consumer agency is the law of the land, and it is here to stay,” Sen. Warren said before a mostly-adoring audience at the event, a few days …

Read more...

Senate, CFPB, and FTC putting more heat on debt collectors

The debt collection industry – which has already been in the crosshairs of regulators and legislators – will face additional rules based on comments of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and officials of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission at a Senate subcommittee hearing.

“Too often, important information about a debt, including whether a consumer has disputed the debt, does not travel with the debt when it gets assigned to third party collectors or purchased by a debt buyer. And it is often either not present or available as …

Read more...

Bankruptcy attorney files suit challenging constitutionality of the CFPB

In a sweeping challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB, a bankruptcy attorney and a firm that assists her with paralegal and other services recently sued the agency for allegedly acting beyond its authority in seeking attorney-client protected documents and in threatening an enforcement action. Ironically, the lawsuit was filed on July 22, six days after the agency’s legal status seemed more settled with Richard Cordray’s confirmation as the CFPB director.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, echoes charges often made by Republican lawmakers that …

Read more...

CFPB charges Castle & Cooke with awarding illegal bonuses

The CFPB filed a lawsuit on July 23 against Castle & Cooke Mortgage LLC, a Utah-based mortgage company, and two of its officers, charging that the defendants illegally awarded bonuses to loan officers who allegedly steered consumers to mortgages with higher interest rates. As relief, the Bureau seeks an end to the practice, restitution to consumers and civil money penalties.

Castle & Cooke does business in about 22 states through 45 branches that originated approximately $1.3 billion in loans last year. The CFPB charges that the company and Matthew A. Pineda, …

Read more...

Judge rules for FTC on tribe-affiliated payday lending

Companies accused of deceptive practices in payday lending aren’t exempt from prosecution because they are affiliated with American Indian tribes, a federal magistrate ruled.

In ruling on a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission against AMG Services Inc.’s payday lending operation, United States Magistrate Judge V. Cam Ferenbach ruled that the FTC Act “ is one of general applicability, (2) is silent as to Indian Tribes, (3) provides for specific exemptions, none of which exempt Indian Tribes, arms of Indian Tribes, or employees of arms of Indian Tribes, and (4) gives …

Read more...

CFPB:WATCH goes out on summer hiatus

Editor’s note: With this Issue, CFPB:WATCH goes on its customary August hiatus when we, like most governments in the Western Hemisphere, leave the city to seek refuge from the heat. We will return, refreshed, to produce our next issue, on September 16, 2013. Our advice: Stay cool till then.

Read more...

Calendar

August 7, 2013 – Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President and CEO Charles Plosser is speaking at a public policy luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing & Finance. The meeting will be held from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at K & L Gates LLP, at 1601 K Street, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is August 5.

September 8-11, 2013 – The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) is holding its annual Congressional Caucus at the …

Read more...

Senate on brink of going “nuclear” over CFPB

Things are getting testy in the Senate, sometimes called the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is at the red-hot center of the fight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is genuinely angry that Republicans have engaged in what he calls “dilatory” tactics – filibusters – to delay up-or-down votes on President Obama’s nominees to Executive Branch posts. The Democratic leader, who was a boxer earlier in his career, showed that he is not shy about throwing punches when he got personal and charged that his Republican …

Read more...

CFPB, FTC target debt collection practices

Companies that collect debts – either for themselves or for others – and do so in a shady manner found themselves in the crosshairs of two federal consumer watchdogs last week.

In separate actions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission flexed their collective muscles with hefty fines and a myriad of new rules.

On July 9, the FTC secured a $3.2 million civil penalty against companies owned by Expert Global Solutions (EGS), based in Plano, Texas for using unfair and deceptive practices and illegal debt-collection techniques. To collect …

Read more...

Guest commentary: Problems in credit scoring hurt mortgage market

Credit scores, often called FICO scores, are playing an increasingly significant role in lending decisions, including mortgage lending underwriting, something I see every day in my work as a mortgage lender in Maine.

Overall, the scoring system has added increased efficiency to the system and has likely added to the availability of mortgage credit. But in recent years, FICO scores have taken on an even more significant role in determining the cost of credit, in terms of discount points and interest rates, and in determining the kind of loan a consumer …

Read more...

Republicans take aim again at CFPB data collection

Seeking to somehow link it to the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping, congressional Republicans again went after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s collection of personal data about consumers, which the CFPB is doing to flag potential financial abuses by lenders.

House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said the July 9 hearing was needed because the Bureau’s practices in this area are troublesome. She likened it to abuses of consumer privacy.

“Many of us feared that the CFPB would eventually limit the ability …

Read more...

Sens. McCain, Warren link hands to restore Glass-Steagall

Talk about strange political bedfellows. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the hard-charging former GOP presidential nominee, is teaming up with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the liberal former Harvard Law professor, to push for a modern version of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial banking from investment banking until it was repealed in 1999. 

When the two senators took to the floor late in the afternoon on July 11, they effusively praised one another for being leaders in the effort to reform the banking system. Sen. McCain, sounding a populist tone, noted …

Read more...

CFPB’s pledge to weigh good conduct stirs skepticism

One year ago, the CFPB made a big splash with its first enforcement action, when it took aim at Capital One for using vendors that deceived cardholders into signing up for costly add-on services. The bank agreed to fork over $210 million that included $60 million in civil penalties. 

That large pot of loot caught folks’ attention, especially since CFPB Director Richard Cordray made a point of praising the company for its cooperation. Capital One, he said, “responded extremely responsibly to the problem,” and its executives “were as distressed and concerned …

Read more...

Cordray Urges CUs to Make Non- Qualified Mortgage Loans

Week after week, officials at the CFPB try to find ways to reach out to the credit union industry to assuage their fears about the new agency.

Last week, for example, CFPB Director Richard Cordray traveled to Boston to tell credit union leaders they should trust their underwriting standards and make loans that aren’t classified as qualified mortgages.

At a July 11 speech at the annual meeting of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), Cordray said that credit unions should continue to offer mortgages to borrowers it determines are a …

Read more...

CALENDAR

July 17, 2013 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the intellectual architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will discuss the bureau’s first two years in operation at a forum sponsored by the journal Democracy, the publication where she first outlined her idea for the bureau. The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon in room G 11 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. More information is available at this website: http://cfed.org/blog/inclusiveeconomy/join_cfed_democracy_senator_warren_on_july_17/. To rsvp, email: rsvp@cfed.org.

July 24, 2013 – Women in Housing & Finance is hosting a brown bag …

Read more...

Revolving door spinning overtime at CFPB, while workers grow restive

Ka-Ching!

That’s the sound of more seat-warmers leaving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where the fate of its top appointed leader is in judicial limbo, throwing much of its work into question, and where the agency’s remaining rank and file have become so discontented that they recently formed a union.

Last week the Supreme Court announced it would consider the legitimacy of recess appointments, the mechanism under which CFPB director Richard Cordray took his post in January 2012. (See related story). The CFPB’s interim leader, Raj Date, who took the helm …

Read more...

Settlement gives refunds to soldiers deceived on loan terms

Approximately 50,000 service members will receive refunds totaling about $6.5 million from U.S. Bank and Dealers’ Financial Services (DFS), which deceived borrowers about the cost of loans in violation of a federal law, according to a settlement announced by the CFPB.

Those two entities created the Military Installment Loans and Educational Services (MILES) program to sell subprime loans to active duty service personnel.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray told reporters on June 27 that MILES “failed to accurately disclose the finance charge, annual percentage rate, payment schedule, and total payments for the loans.’’ …

Read more...

High Court takes recess case; Portman searching for compromise on deadlock

The fate of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray could be decided by the Supreme Court in a case it will hear this fall. Meanwhile Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is seeking a legislative remedy.

 On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Those appointments were made the same way as was President Obama’s appointment of Cordray. If the high court invalidates the appointments as have two lower courts, it could invalidate some …

Read more...

House Republicans and Democrats clash again on CFPB

A House committee got a head start on the July 4th holiday during a hearing where there were fireworks of the verbal variety about the budget and accountability of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The June 18 hearing of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight featured the same familiar pattern: Strong criticism by Republicans of the CFPB’s spending patterns and priorities, and a staunch defense by the panel’s Democrats.

Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said expenditures such as $55 million to renovate its office building and its general lack of …

Read more...

Supreme court arbitration ruling critics turn to CFPB, Congress for help

A recent Supreme Court ruling that a contractual waiver of class arbitration must be upheld – even when it means that claims involving violations of antitrust laws will not be pursued because they are too expensive – has disappointed critics, who are looking to Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for help.

“It’s a setback for the enforcement of the laws, including the antitrust laws, because the Supreme Court has given parties the ability to sort of contract out from antitrust liability, particularly where it would not be economically viable …

Read more...

PEOPLE

Usually state regulators labor in bureaucratic anonymity – but two have recently emerged as media darlings.

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, sandwiched between photo spreads of Pippa Middleton, cute little sis to the future queen of England, and a feature piece on heart-throb actor Channing Tatum, is a glowing profile story on Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general. “As President Obama could tell you, she has movie-star looks,” shouts the headline. (President Obama recently called Harris the nation’s best-looking attorney general.)

The story goes on to identify Harris as a heroine …

Read more...

Calendar

July 11, 2013 – Women in Housing & Finance is hosting a breakfast meeting with former CFPB Deputy Director Raj Date, who will discuss “Solving the Local Optimum Problem: Consumer finance innovation at the intersection of strategic, financial, and regulatory change.‘’ The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Treliant Risk Advisors, LLC, Conference Center, 2300 N Street, NW, Washington, DC. For more information on the meeting contact Women in Housing and Finance at 703-683-4742. The deadline to RSVP is July 9.

September 24, 2013 – Women …

Read more...

Debtors, lenders agree: Debt system needs national standards

Lenders and debtors are usually at odds with each other, but representatives of groups that collect debts and those who represent debtors found common ground at a recent Washington forum.

At a June 6 workshop sponsored by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, there was consensus across the board in favor of national standards – rather than different ones in each state – about what information must be transferred when customer data is sold.

Debt-collection companies say such a change would simplify the compliance process and make some …

Read more...

Overdraft fees draw scrutiny; no immediate action planned

Consumers paid an average of $225 in annual overdraft fees at big banks and sometimes were confused about their options in this area, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn’t planning any immediate regulatory proposals.

That’s the conclusion of a report the CFPB released on June 11, following more than a year’s worth of study. But the agency did say it would study overdraft fees and notification procedures.

The Bureau concluded that “certain practices and procedures merit further analysis to determine whether they are causing the kind of consumer harm that the …

Read more...

Former North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller jumps to new job, reflects on old one

During his ten-year congressional career, former North Carolina Democratic Rep. Brad Miller didn’t bite his tongue as he repeatedly took aim at the reckless behavior of banks and big financial firms. Miller championed the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency, but his outspoken criticism of Wall Street’s excesses made it a certainty that the usual revolving door in Washington that propels folks from Capitol Hill to a lucrative slot at a high-powered, mega-law firm would not apply to him.

So it is not all that surprising that Miller, who …

Read more...

Sen. Warren: Federal courts are approaching “corporate capture”

The federal courts are approaching a state of “corporate capture,” with deep-pocketed corporations using the judicial system to overturn congressional and administrative agency action, according to U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.), speaking in a keynote address on June 13 at the American Constitution Society, the progressive version of the conservative Federalist Society.

She said that pro-business cases championed by the US Chamber of Commerce before today’s Supreme Court, led by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated for the office by President George W. Bush in 2005, now win 70 percent …

Read more...

CFPB preparing to ask consumers about arbitration

With arbitration still a hotly-contested area of disagreement – activists say it blocks consumers from fighting unfair actions in court; businesses say it protects them from costly and frivolous lawsuits – the CFPB is taking the issue to the court of public opinion.

The agency announced on June 7 that it is proposing to conduct a telephone survey of 1,000 credit card holders to find out what they think of dispute-resolution terms in credit card agreements. The agency said the survey will gather information on what consumers understand about the arbitration …

Read more...

Cordray honors Philadelphia foreclosure prevention program

Richard Cordray, CFPB director, traveled to the City of Brotherly Love last week to help celebrate the fifth anniversary of a city program that has saved thousands of homes from foreclosure and become a model for similar programs elsewhere in the country.

The Philadelphia Residential Mortgage Diversion Program was created in April 2008 by the city’s Court of Common Pleas, as the country entered the financial crisis and amid dawning awareness that many homes were at risk of foreclosure, either because of the terms of the loans or because the homeowners …

Read more...

CALENDAR

June 18, 2013 – The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations is holding a hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget. The hearing will take place at 2:00 in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building

June 26, 2013 – Women in Housing & Finance will host a brown bag lunch on volunteer opportunities to teach financial literacy to formerly homeless women who reside at Calvary Women’s Services shelter. It will feature an instructor from the FDIC who will explain how to teach financial literacy using …

Read more...