April 18, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Older Americans can be confused by dozens of special designations for financial advisors for seniors, and government officials should set strict standards for training and conduct to prevent abuses, according to a federal report released Thursday. The ranks of the elderly are projected grow to 70 million by 2030, and their savings can be an attractive target for people peddling financial products, said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which studied "senior designations" at the request of Congress.
April 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON — Got a beef with your mortgage company or loan servicer? Lots of people do, and thousands of them have been turning to a federal complaint hotline for action — or at least a quick response from the lender. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has opened up its bulging online complaint hotline files to public view, and the contents are startling: Although the CFPB's complaint window is open to various financial disputes — credit cards, student loans, credit reporting agencies, bank loans to consumers — by far the biggest source of complaints is home mortgages.
April 5, 2013 |
Borrowers with student loans from private lenders need more flexible repayment plans and should be able to refinance at lower rates once they establish a solid record of making payments, a key advocate told the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Private student loans account for about $150 billion of the $1 trillion in educational loans that are being paid off - or not (see chart below) - by borrowers. The loans often carry variable interest rates that are significantly higher than federal loans, Consumers Union noted Friday in a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has asked for comment on the topic.
April 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Federal regulators are conducting an extensive investigation into an alleged mortgage insurance kickback scheme that pushed up costs for home buyers dating from the mid-1990s. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in disclosing its first action Thursday, said the investigation revolves around a scheme in which banks and other lenders required private mortgage insurers to seek backup insurance from lender-owned reinsurance companies. The backup insurance essentially was worthless and amounted to an improper payment to the lender by the mortgage insurer to acquire new customers, consumer bureau officials said.
March 28, 2013 |
Bank of America Corp., which handles customer service on about 15% of U.S. home loans, has accounted for 30% of the mortgage complaints logged by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a new database made public by the federal watchdog. The level of customer discontent - far greater than at home-lending rivals Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. - reflects BofA's struggles since its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. in Calabasas. Countrywide had become the No. 1 mortgage firm by specializing in subprime and other high-risk loans.
March 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Senators questioned two of President Obama's nominees for key financial regulatory positions, and Democrats and Republicans appeared to like both of them. But only one of those candidates is expected to be confirmed. Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor, was on track to be confirmed as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission after Tuesday's hearing by the Senate Banking committee. However, the path for Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who has been renominated by Obama, was still blocked by Republicans who want changes to the agency.
February 18, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a darling of liberals who has been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, had kept a deliberately low profile since her election in November. In less than five minutes last week, however, the new Massachusetts senator announced her presence in the nation's capital and showed she plans to be a thorn in the side of the big financial institutions. At her first hearing as a member of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, Warren chastised banking regulators for not trying to put more executives from big banks in jail for their roles in the financial crisis.
January 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In nominating former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, President Obama aimed a strong message at potential Wall Street miscreants: Watch out. Obama amplified that decision Thursday by renominating Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray's controversial recess appointment to the 2-year-old agency expires at the end of the year. Obama said that White and Cordray were key to implementing the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations and protecting consumers and the financial system from the "kinds of abuse that nearly brought the economy to its knees.
December 13, 2012 |
Talk about karma. After lobbying ferociously to prevent Elizabeth Warren from running the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the banking industry now must contend with her sitting on the Senate Banking Committee. Rumors have circulated for weeks the Massachusetts senator-elect would be tapped for the gig overseeing the industry she so completely cheesed off with accusations of fraud and unfair play. Now it's official . You can almost hear the muttering among bankers about the tough-love they're going to face.
November 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Federal regulators have opened investigations into 19 financial companies for possible violations of new mortgage advertising rules designed to keep firms from misleading consumers about reverse mortgages and other products. In addition, the regulators have sent letters to 32 other firms warning them about advertisements that falsely imply a connection to a government program or provide other potentially misleading information. The actions, announced Monday, came after a review by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of about 800 ads by mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers and other firms outside the conventional banking system.