Read the latest on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- CFPB Warns of Crackdown If Credit-Report Errors Aren't Fixed
Wall Street Journal 05 Sep 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Sept. 4 put financial firms on notice that they need to improve their responses to disputes over credit reports. The agency said lenders and debt collectors must conduct a thorough review of documents submitted by consumers to challenge any mistakes and disclose any errors to credit reporting firms
- Consumer Bureau: Too Few Use Loan Forgiveness
Associated Press 28 Aug 2013
More than 33 million U.S. workers qualify for student loan forgiveness because they work in public service fields. "We estimate that one in four working Americans has a job that meets the definition of public service under this program," confirmed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray.
- More Banks Could Face Scrutiny Over Foreclosure Billing Practices
American Banker 28 Aug 2013
Federal and state regulators are more closely scrutinizing the practice of padding foreclosure expenses, warning mortgage servicers that they are liable for ensuring that fees charged by lawyers and third-party vendors are reasonable and accurate.
- CFPB Slams Mortgage Servicers Over 'Sloppy' Tactics
American Banker 22 Aug 2013
Mortgage servicing issues persist, despite a renewed focus on these problems in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, finds a report issued Aug. 21 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Based on exams conducted between November and June, the agency specifically cited "sloppy" and "poor" practices related to mortgage transfers, payment processing, and loss mitigation procedures.
- U.S. Consumer Bureau Files Lawsuit Against Nevada Debt-Relief Firm
Reuters 20 Aug 2013
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking Morgan Drexen, a Nevada-based debt settlement company, to court for allegedly imposing improper fees and misleading the public about its services.
- CFPB Updates Exam Guide for QM, Mortgage Rules
American Banker 16 Aug 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Aug. 15 issued updated exam procedures for a number of mortgage rules set to take effect next year. The interim exam procedures cover far more details and rules related to mortgages than when the agency released its first round of exam guidance in June.
- Auto-Title Lenders Peel Into Ohio
Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH) 16 Aug 2013
TMX Finance, the biggest auto title lender in the country, is expanding into Ohio, where it plans to open 12 outlets. Payday loans were officially banned there in 2008, but the state unofficially allowed the lenders to continue. Car title lending is not specifically sanctioned; but, like with the payday lending industry, there are loopholes that allow them to operate under other statutes.
- Many Can't Pay Student Loans
Wall Street Journal 06 Aug 2013
About 40 percent of borrowers with direct federal student loans are repaying them, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that offers the first comprehensive snapshot of the lending program since the government created it in 2010.
- Consumer Protection Chief Puts Focus on Student Loans
USA Today 05 Aug 2013
U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray says the agency is trying to improve consumer decision-making on student loans. It has fielded 2,000 complaints related to private student loans just from Oct. 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.
- Watchdog's Complaint Tracking Gets Results
USA Today 05 Aug 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's growing database of financial services complaints could help consumers rule out companies that show up too often, but CFPB director Richard Cordray believes other factors should be considered as well.
- Blog: Over a Million Are Denied Bank Accounts for Past Errors
New York Times 30 Jul 2013
Institutions like Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo insist that the use of databases that record individuals' banking mistakes, such as bounced checks or minor overdrafts, help them weed out risky customers and fight fraud.
- What CFPB Crackdown on Utah Lender Means for Loan Officer Compensation
American Banker 30 Jul 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed a federal complaint against Salt Lake City-based mortgage bank Castle & Cooke Mortgage for allegedly paying quarterly bonuses to loan originators who directed borrowers into higher-cost loans but lacked a written policy describing the bonuses, as required by new loan compensation rules
- Capital One to Refund $150 Million to Credit Card Customers
Los Angeles Times 18 Jul 2012
In the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's first major enforcement action since the agency went live last July, it has ordered Capital One Bank to refund $140 million to credit card consumers for questionable marketing of add-on products. At the same time, the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency hit Capital One with its own $10 million consent order tied to unfair billing practices from May 2002 to June 2011, for total refunds of $150 million. Additionally, Capital One must pay $60 million combined in civil penalties for the practices. CFPB director Richard Cordray said the bank's call center operators tricked customers with low credit scores or credit limits into buying "products they didn't understand, didn't want, or in some cases, couldn't even use" -- such as payment protection and credit monitoring -- when they activated their credit cards. As part of the consent orders, Capital One has agreed to refund the full amount of add-on products, plus interest, to customers who enrolled in them or tried unsuccessfully to cancel them on or after Aug. 1, 2010. Finance charges and other associated fees will be refunded as well. "We are putting companies on notice that these deceptive practices are against the law and will not be tolerated," Cordray declared.
- American Voters Favor Strong Oversight of Wall Street, Says Survey
Financial Advisor Magazine 18 Jul 2012
A national survey commissioned by AARP, the Center for Responsible Lending, Americans for Financial Reform, and the National Council of La Raza has found that three out of four U.S. voters firmly back federal reforms proposed two years ago to crack down on Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis. The poll comes as the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), turns two years old. Two-thirds of respondents support a state's right to pass even stronger consumer protections, without preemption by federal law. Respondents also supported establishment of the CFPB by a 40-point margin. Support for the Dodd-Frank Act tended to cross party lines: Republicans were in favor by a 20-point margin, independents by 50 points, and Democrats by 83 points. Gary Kalman, director of federal policy for the Center for Responsible Lending, said that bipartisan support is not surprising. "Who hasn't been hurt by the economic downturn?" he asked. "People get that common sense oversight could have prevented it." The survey of 803 randomly selected respondents was conducted by Lake Research Partners July 5-10.
- Watchdog Agency Works Toward Clarity in Mortgage Lending
Louisville Courier-Journal 18 Jul 2012
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently introduced a proposal on simplified mortgage disclosures. CFPB director Richard Cordray said consumers should really do their homework when consider a home loan. The agency is now seeking further review of the proposal as well as consumer testing before the disclosures could be required. As a result, the new "Loan Estimate" and "Closing Disclosure" forms may not actually be implemented until 2014. The proposed changes would show consumers their interest rates, monthly payments, loan amounts, and closing costs on the first page. Additionally, consumers would see how rates or payments could potentially change. "If consumers have a clearer understand of what the risks are in these products and what the actual pricing is, it's more likely they will end up with a sensible deal that they can maintain over the long term," said Cordray. The agency, seeking public comment on both disclosure forms, is holding a series of town hall events around the country.
- CFPB: Essential Reverse Mortgage Counseling Needs Work
Reverse Mortgage Daily 17 Jul 2012
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published a report on the reverse mortgage industry, in which it underscored the critical nature of counseling. "Counselors provide a line of defense, dispelling misconceptions and explaining fundamental concepts underpinning these products," according to the report. "Their services become increasingly important as borrowers face more complex choices as a result of new product offerings. However, the agency said that even after counseling, there still may be some confusion. The CFPB cited a 2009 Government Accountability Office report, which found that counseling agencies were not complying with the counseling protocol. But counseling firms said some of the concerns identified in the report have been addressed and are now moot; others they will continue to seek solutions for. "A lot of these challenges are not new," acknowledges John McCosh of CredAbility. "How can the counseling agencies have skin in the game? It's a question."
- House Holds Another Hearing on Impact of Dodd-Frank Mortgage Requirements
Mortgage News Daily 11 Jul 2012
A House Financial Services subcommittee recently held a hearing on proposed changes under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, in particular the parameters for a qualified mortgage (QM) that would be exempt from ability-to-pay mandates and other proposed requirements. Testimony was heard from experts representing various industry and consumer groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending. Speaking on behalf of CRL, Senior Vice President Eric Stein stressed the need for a broad definition of QM so as not to block borrowers with solid credit from the mortgage market. The definition should include the use of specific "bright-line" standards, he said, so that both lenders and prospective borrowers fully understand which loans qualify as QMs and which do not. Stein also recommended that borrowers be empowered to take legal action if a supposed QM product falls short of the appropriate standards from the outset.
- CFPB's Proposed Mortgage Reforms Not Enough Say Some Consumer Activists
Huffington Post 16 May 2012
In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a proposal to create permanent mortgage servicing reforms that would be in place by the time the $25 billion foreclosure settlement between the country's biggest lenders and state attorneys general expires in three-and-a-half years. While it is still early in the process, some consumer advocates already are saying that the proposed reforms are not adequate. The CFPB said the goal of the reforms is to eliminate two of homeowners' biggest grievances: costly errors and the endless runaround many have experienced when trying to avoid foreclosure. But the National Consumer Law Center's Diane Thompson says the federal agency needs to broaden the reforms even more, in part by also taking a look at costly force-placed home insurance policies. The CFPB stressed that the rules it outlined in April were not part of a formal proposal. The agency said it is seeking public feedback and will issue a formal proposal this summer.
- Stay-at-Home Mom Fights New Credit Card Rule
CNN Money 16 May 2012
A grass-roots campaign is gaining momentum against a new provision of the 2009 CARD Act that, starting in October of last year, has made it more difficult for stay-at-home parents to qualify for their own credit cards. The Federal Reserve rule dictates that credit card issuers consider individual income, rather than household income, to determine eligibility. As a result, many parents who rely on their spouse's income feel shut out of access to credit. One Virginia mom whose application for a Target card was rejected has refused to acquiesce to the new guideline, recently launching an online petition to persuade the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- which assumed jurisdiction over the rule last summer -- to amend it. The petition at Change.org already has garnered in excess of 30,000 signatures. "I used to be CEO of a small software consulting business and am now staying at home to take care of a toddler and first grader," wrote one stay-at-home mother on the petition. "If you had to pay someone to do what I do now, it would cost you at least $120,000, which is a lot less than what I used to earn. ... Don't you think I should be allowed to get a credit card on my own?" Holly McCall, the 34-year-old mother of two who organized the petition, delivered the signatures to the CFPB on May 15, supported by a handful of petitioners. Some of the women dressed as 1950s housewives, to illustrate how the rule "feels like a flashback to the 1950s because of the way women aren't empowered financially."
- What Is Arbitration? You Sign Away Rights. Is That OK?
Christian Science Monitor 15 May 2012
Many consumers may not even realize that they have signed an arbitration clause with their cell phone carrier or credit card provider, under which they agree to forgo their right to a trial or lawsuit if a dispute arises. Instead, the case is heard by a private arbitrator who makes a binding decision. The corporate world insists the practice is fair and curtails litigation costs. According to a 2010 study by the Pew Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project, of the 265 different types of checking accounts offered by the country's 10 biggest banks, all but 10 require consumers to sign give up their right to a jury trial. Additionally, for 189 accounts, customers must agree to have the dispute settled by an arbitrator selected by the bank. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced that it will investigate the use of such clauses in financial contracts. The agency is asking consumers to share their experiences with arbitration clauses by June 23, 2012.