May 2, 2013 |
It never ceases to amaze me every time I see yet another predatory financial product making the rounds. Financially strapped seniors are increasingly being targeted by firms offering high-priced loans against their pensions, according to a report in the New York Times. In one case, a borrower took out a loan against his pension for $10,000 for 60 months. His monthly payment was $353. The total cost of the loan was $21,180, or an interest rate of 36.4 percent, according to the Times.
June 9, 2011 |
The stalemate between Republicans and the White House over who will lead a nascent consumer watchdog agency showed no signs of abating Thursday, despite the emergence of a new candidate with long ties to the financial industry. Democrats' top pick for the job, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren , is in charge of setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but has become a polarizing figure among Republicans. The White House instead is considering one of her lieutenants , Raj Date, a veteran of Capital One and Deutsche Bank, as an alternative, according to a person familiar with the matter.
October 2, 2011 |
Insurance companies may have escaped the oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but banks selling insurance and debt protection products face greater scrutiny, according to presenters at the American Bankers Insurance Association conference in the District last week. There are roughly 28 banks with branches in the Washington area that offer insurance products, according to SNL Financial. Many of those institutions broadened their portfolios in the past year amid dwindling income from fees and tepid demand for loans.
July 17, 2012 |
Finally, the companies that have been keeping track of how we handle our credit will be watched closely by a single federal agency. On Sept. 30, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — exercising the muscle it was given by Congress — will start supervising credit reporting agencies, including the big three: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. It's always confounded me that these credit bureaus haven't had more oversight, considering that the files they compile and use to create credit histories are then used to create credit scores, which affect consumers' ability to get a credit card, home loan, apartment and even a job. For years, consumer advocates have complained that the information collected often includes errors.
December 13, 2012 |
Anyone who has ever applied for a loan or tried to rent an apartment knows the importance of having a good credit score. Yet there is little understanding of how those scores are devised. A new paper released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lifts the veil off of credit reporting, revealing that the way consumers use the plastic in their wallets weighs heaviest on their scores. While that's not too surprising, considering that Americans own nearly 610 million credit cards, the finding does cast new light on the gravity of failing to keep up with those accounts.
September 13, 2012 |
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, faced renewed questions Thursday about the legitimacy of his agency. Cordray, in a semiannual report to Congress, touted the bureau's accomplishments in drafting rules to fix mortgage servicing and supervising the previously unregulated non-bank financial firms. He added that the bureau is working on rules to bring greater transparency to prepaid debit cards and is fine-tuning its consumer complaint database — as of Sept.
February 25, 2012 |
Bank overdraft fees drive me crazy. It's just wasted money. Sure, overdraft protection is a good backup for the times you miscalculate, but sometimes the fees run into the hundreds of dollars a month and are the most burdensome on the people least able to afford them. Well, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intends to do something about this. The bureau is investigating banks' overdraft practices and their effect on consumers' finances. If you have overdraft protection, your financial institution will cover the transaction so your check won't bounce — but it will charge you a fee. The average overdraft fee ranged from $30 to $35 in 2011 and has increased 17 percent over the past five years, according to CFPB.
July 18, 2011 |
President Obama has decided to name former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is set to launch this week. In doing so he bypassed Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who has been one of the nation's leading champions for reform on behalf of those ripped off by high credit rates and shady mortgages. Not to mention the bureau was her idea. It was Warren's brainchild to put a "cop on the beat" in the wake of the epic failure by federal regulators who fiddled while the economy tanked in 2008.
July 16, 2011 |
The White House has ruled out naming controversial Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to lead the agency that she has spent the past year setting up, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Obama is slated to nominate someone to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau early this week as it prepares to officially open for business Thursday. The administration has considered several candidates since the agency was created last year and recently looked at one of Warren's top deputies , Raj Date, as a possibility.
April 8, 2012 |
An expansion of workers' rights in the areas of wage and hour and whistleblower protections could mean trouble for Washington area employers who choose to ignore them. More stringent penalties can now be imposed for employers who miscategorize employees as independent contractors. And new provisions in another law provide more protections to individuals who blow the whistle in the workplace. Over the last year, the Labor Department and states have identified more and more instances of employers miscategorizing workers as independent contractors.