October 23, 2012 |
If there's something's strange in your credit report, who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters. If something's weird and it don't look good, who you gonna call? Sorry, Ghostbusters still won't help, even though consumers often describe being haunted by errors in their credit reports that they can't get corrected. If you haven't been successful in getting a credit bureau to address problems with inaccurate information in your credit report, you might have felt alone in pressing for a resolution.
October 1, 2012 |
In the latest in a series of credit card industry settlements, American Express will pay $112.5 million to resolve allegations of abusive debt collection practices, late-fee charges and deceptive marketing, federal regulators announced Monday. Customers, in some cases, were charged late fees based on a percentage of their debt in violation of federal law. Others were misled to believe that if they partially paid off their debts, the remaining balance would be forgiven. In direct-mail offers, American Express promised customers $300 and bonus points when they signed up for its Blue Sky credit card program.
September 25, 2012 |
Credit bureaus sometimes provide Americans with credit scores that are different from those that lenders use in deciding whether to offer a loan and at what interest rate, the government's consumer watchdog found in a study released Tuesday . Researchers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the discrepancy happens for as many as one in four people. The consumer agency issued the study five days before it will begin supervising credit-reporting firms. That will give the bureau oversight of about 30 companies that make up the majority of the $4 billion industry.
September 24, 2012 |
Discover Financial Services, one of the nation's largest credit-card issuers, will refund $200 million to 3.5 million customers it led into buying costly and unneeded credit-card products, federal regulators announced Monday. In some cases, customers were enrolled in the payment-protection plans and other products without their consent. Discover provided scripts to call-center agents that suggested customers would not be charged until they had reviewed written materials. Yet those materials were not provided until after the firm took money from consumers.
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.
September 7, 2012 |
Some join the federal government after law school; others after a stint with a campaign, nonprofit or consulting firm. Audrey Chen came from "South Park. " As a senior designer at Comedy Central, Chen re-engineered the Web sites for cult hits such as "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report. " But a year ago, the Brooklynite was persuaded to join a team of Web developers, information architects, and digital strategists who want to revolutionize the very way that Washington works.
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.
July 10, 2012 |
With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approaching its one-year anniversary on July 21, I looked back at the agency's rookie year. Overall, I would say the consumer watchdog gets a "meets expectations" in its evaluation for accomplishing its primary goal of becoming an unapologetic protector of consumers. The bureau was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations in decades. It was charged with promoting financial education and enforcing federal consumer financial-protection laws.
June 21, 2012 |
Federal financial regulators on Thursday moved to tighten oversight of how mortgage companies handle loans for servicemembers who are underwater and forced to transfer to new bases. In new guidance, they spelled out several practices they would consider unfair, deceptive or abusive. They include failing to notify service members of assistance programs or requiring them to waive their rights to special protections for military before offering help. The regulators said they would also crack down on mortgage servicers who advise military homeowners to stop paying their mortgages in order to qualify for financial assistance programs.
June 14, 2012 |
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking public input for a new effort to prevent scams targeted at the elderly. The CFPB is asking the public about the best way to identify legitimate financial advisers and how effective and easy-to-understand financial counseling is for seniors, among other issues. The bureau is also trying to gather information about scams against veterans. "The amount of money stolen from seniors has risen sharply in recent years," CFPB director Richard Cordray said in a prepared statement.