Read the latest on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- Senate Barrels Toward Showdown Over Consumer Bureau Nominee
The Hill 19 May 2013
U.S. Senate Republicans and Democrats are headed for a showdown over Richard Cordray, recess-appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with Democrats seeking to formally confirm him as director on May 23...
- CFPB Targets Discrimination in Auto Loan Battle
American Banker 16 May 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is laying the groundwork to bring enforcement actions against auto lenders that pay bounties to brokers to steer borrowers toward high-cost loans, on the grounds that the markups are discriminatory because they are steeper for minorities than for whites...
- The CFPB Goes Mobile to Collect Customer Complaints
Bank Systems & Technology 16 May 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on May 15 announced that it is launching a Spanish-language Web site that lets users access information and submit complaints from their mobile phones...
- CFPB Lays Out Options for Easing Repayment of Private Student Loan
Washington Post 09 May 2013
Based on feedback from nearly 30,000 borrowers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a series of proposals to help millions of Americans repay their student loans more easily. The agency said that on-time borrowers should be able to refinance their debt at lower interest rates, while those who fall behind should be able to enter into income-based repayment plans...
- Card Add-on Products Stage a Comeback
Fox Business 08 May 2013
Credit card "add-on" products suffered from regulatory restrictions last year; but analysts say they could bounce back, with tighter marketing pitches and lower price...
- Bureau Issues Rule to Guide Fines for Violating Consumer Protection Laws
The Hill 06 May 2013
Financial regulators introduced a new set of guidelines for a civil penalty fund created to collect fines from violators of consumer protection laws. The new guidelines for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Civil Penalty Fund are set to take effect on May 7...
- Regulators Scrutinize Auto Lenders Over Add-Ons
Wall Street Journal 03 May 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued subpoenas to U.S. auto lenders over the sale of extended warranties and other financial products, expanding a civil probe that could put the brakes on the thriving vehicle-finance industry. Although such products are legal, regulators are investigating whether terms and costs -- which typically are built into the total purchase price -- are adequately disclosed...
- Small Banks Seek Exemption in U.S. Collection of Fee Data
Bloomberg 02 May 2013
The Independent Community Bankers of America has asked federal regulators to exempt them from what they call an unnecessary and onerous data-collection effort to spot how consumers may be fleeced by checking account overdraft fees and other charges...
- U.S. Consumer Bureau Revises Wire-Transfer Rule
Dow Jones Newswires 30 Apr 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised rules designed to protect consumers who send money overseas. In response to financial industry concerns over fee disclosures and other "costs and compliance challenges," the CFPB said it will now be optional to disclose foreign taxes as well as fees charged by banks that receive wire transfers...
- CFPB's Balancing Act: Protecting Consumers While Preserving Credit Access
American Banker 29 Apr 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may release final mortgage rules within the next few weeks, requiring lenders to underwrite loans that satisfy the "qualified mortgage" and ability-to-repay rules. Kelly Cochran -- the agency's assistant director for regulations -- has helped develop mortgage rules that address servicing, disclosures, loan originator compensation, high-cost mortgages, and appraisals...
- U.S. Consumer Bureau Tweaks Credit Card Rule for At-Home Parents
Reuters 29 Apr 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau confirmed that it has revised a requirement in the Credit CARD Act stipulating that companies verify repayment ability before approving applicants for credit cards...
- Tribes' Payday Loans Under Scrutiny
Los Angeles Times 29 Apr 2013
More Indian tribes are entering the payday loan business as a way to raise revenue for their reservations, but federal officials suspect that some tribes are paid to offer sovereign immunity that helps non-Indian payday lenders avoid state regulations. Tribes have largely avoided states' attempts to assert their authority over tribal lending operations, but the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may institute a new crackdown...
- Cordray Defends U.S. Consumer Bureau Data-Collection Plan
Bloomberg 23 Apr 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's data-gathering effort is not invasive, is important for regulatory purposes, and adopts techniques already common in the private sector, the agency’s head said on April 23. “The big banks know more about you than you know about yourself,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee....
- CFPB Confronts Alleged Anti-Bank Bias With New Office
American Banker 23 Apr 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced it will establish an Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison headed by former Freddie Mac official Dan Smith to counter claims of bureau bias against banks and to address a perceived lack of transparency. The CFPB says the office is intended to "enhance collaboration and communication" with financial institutions, trade associations, and businesses...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.