- HUD: New FHA Loan Limit Takes Effect Jan. 1
Housing Wire 06 Dec 2013
The standard loan limit on Federal Housing Administration loans for high-cost areas will decline next year to $625,500, down from $729,750.
- Tougher New Rules Under Consideration for Birmingham Payday Lending and Title Pawn Businesses
AL.com 06 Dec 2013
Birmingham, Ala., has had a moratorium on new payday lending and auto title businesses for two years, and now the city council is considering new zoning rules for more long-term control on the growth of these financial services.
- L.A. Sues Wells Fargo and Citigroup, Alleging Predatory Lending
Los Angeles Times 05 Dec 2013
The city of Los Angeles has filed twin lawsuits in U.S. District Court against Wells Fargo and Citigroup. It is accusing the banking giants of a “continuous pattern and practice” of lending discrimination that contributed to foreclosures, lower property-tax revenue, and higher costs for municipal services.
- Ohio House OKs Bill to Hike Fees for Debt Settlement
Columbus Dispatch 05 Dec 2013
The Ohio House passed a bill Dec. 4 that would allow debt settlement firms to charge higher rates in the state, under protest from consumer advocates. The industry has generated consumer warnings from the Better Business Bureau and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
- Groups Sue Feds Over Foreclosure-Fighting Tactic
Associated Press 05 Dec 2013
A group of nonprofits, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Popular Democracy, have filed a freedom of information lawsuit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The ACLU has asked that government agency disclose efforts to prevent municipalities from using eminent domain to aid underwater homeowners and that it increase transparency in its dealings with the financial industry.
- PHH Pays NJ $6.25M to Settle Mortgage Allegations
Philadelphia Business Journal 05 Dec 2013
New Jersey-based PHH Corp. has reached a $6.25 million settlement with state authorities to resolve allegations that it deceived distressed homeowners who sought mortgage modifications in an effort to avoid delinquency or foreclosure.
- CFPB Director Addresses QM Myths
Housing Wire 05 Dec 2013
A key piece of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new qualified mortgage (QM) standard is being widely misinterpreted, said director Richard Cordray. Addressing the Consumer Federation of America, he noted that claims circulating about the impact of the ability-to-repay rule are "wrong in three ways."
- Report: 70 Percent of Students Graduate With Loans
Washington Post 05 Dec 2013
According to an independent analysis performed by the Institute for College Access and Success, 71 percent of last year's graduates owed student loans -- up from 68 percent who graduated with debt in 2008. They were $29,400 in the hole, on average, in 2012 compared to $23,450 four years earlier.
- Regional Bank Settles Overdraft Issue for $2.5M
Courthouse News Service 04 Dec 2013
A judge has granted final approval to Community Bank's $2.5 million settlement over excessive overdraft penalties. The agreement, tied to the practice of shuffling the order of customer debit card transactions in order to maximize overdraft fees
- Durbin Pushing Bill to Ease Struggle of Repaying Private Student Loans
Chicago Sun-Times 03 Dec 2013
U. S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced plans to introduce legislation that would protect students from being overwhelmed by private-loan payments. If passed, the bill would ensure that students who take out private loans, which have no interest-rate limits and few alternative repayment plans, understand the options and resources available to them. It also would encourage fair treatment of students by institutions that service the loans.
- CFPB to Supervise Largest Student Loan Servicers
Huffington Post 03 Dec 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finalized a proposed rule that will allow the agency to regularly examine the practices of the seven biggest student loan servicers to ensure they comply with federal consumer laws. Although the seven companies were not named, observers believe the U.S. Department of Education's four main student loan servicers -- Sallie Mae, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet Servicing, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency -- are on the list.
- Economy Watch: GSE Delinquencies Continue to Drop
Multi-Housing News 03 Dec 2013
The government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently reported declines in the serious delinquency rate for single-family mortgages. Fannie Mae's single-family serious delinquency rate fell to 2.48 percent in October, down from 2.55 percent in September and 3.35 percent in October 2012, marking its lowest level since December 2008.
- Banks as Payday Lenders
New York Times 03 Dec 2013
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have issued new guidelines for the banks they oversee that are intended to rein in short-term consumer loans that may be as dangerous to consumers as payday loans
- New York Subpoenas Websites in an Effort to Curb Payday Lenders
New York Times 03 Dec 2013
New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky recently sent subpoenas to 16 lead generator websites that sell sensitive consumer data to payday lenders to gather information about the websites' practices and connections to the lenders. This comes after Lawsky sent cease-and-desist letters in August to 35 online lenders for writing loans that violate state usury caps.
- Pay Day Lending – Ending a Vicious Cycle
Houston Chronicle 02 Dec 2013
The mayor of Houston, Texas, is pushing for a payday lending ordinance that would restrain and regulate these types of lenders in the city. Such businesses often take advantage of the poor and vulnerable to generate large profits, writes Mustafa Tameez in an editorial.
- Decatur Wants to Tighten Restrictions on Payday Lenders
WAFF.com (Alabama) 02 Dec 2013
The City Council in Decatur, Ala., is considering a zoning ordinance that would limit where payday lenders can set up shop. It also has drafted a resolution calling on lawmakers to cap payday loan interest rates, which often top 200 percent or even 400 percent on an annualized basis, and continues to push for legislation at the state level that would require lenders to report loans to a database to ensure compliance with the $500 limit.
- Fair Housing Investigation Reveals Discrimination
Novato Advance 02 Dec 2013
Fair Housing of Marin -- a California nonprofit -- has exposed alleged mortgage discrimination at multiple lending institutions in Marin, Sonoma, and Solano counties. Using trained testers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, the organization found that the institutions extended more favorable loan terms and preferential treatment to white customers than to African-American and Hispanic loan applicants.
- Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank Face Crossroads on Deposit Advances
American Banker 27 Nov 2013
A handful of banks affected by new federal regulations regarding bank deposit advances -- short-term forms of consumer credit that strongly resemble a payday loan -- confront a tricky decision: either devise a way to offer small-dollar loans that comply with disruptive new rules and still make business sense, or get out of the business altogether.
- Usury Explosion: Northern Virginia Becomes Hotbed for Car-Title Lending Industry
Connection Newspapers (VA) 27 Nov 2013
Northern Virginia has seen dozens of new car title lending businesses open since the state General Assembly legalized the industry in 2010. The total number of car title businesses has more than doubled from 184 to 395 in that time. "It's a trap, and although it's presented as a loan it's really loan-sharking," insists Virginia Poverty Law Center executive director Jay Speech.
- Will Banks Tack Fees on Your Savings Account?
MarketWatch 27 Nov 2013
Some banks may begin to charge maintenance fees on savings accounts, much like those already charged for many checking accounts, in response to potential government changes to reduce the interest paid to banks on money held in reserve.