May 10, 2018

Bill to roll back post-financial crisis banking rules gets clear path to passage

The House will take up a Senate-passed bill rolling back banking regulations, breaking an impasse that imperiled passage of legislation that is backed by the White House, Republicans and some Democrats.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Tuesday that an agreement had been reached and that "we will be moving the Dodd-Frank bill" along with a companion package of legislation supported by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.).

Hensarling had been pushing to amend the Senate version of the bill undoing or shrinking portions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the law passed in the wake of the financial crisis a decade ago. But the bipartisan coalition of senators that got the bill through the Senate - over the objections of liberals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) - warned that changing their delicate compromise would end up killing the bill.

In the end Hensarling backed down, leaving the legislation a clear path to passage. It has moved through the Senate and appears to have plenty of support to pass the House. The House will vote on the Senate's version of the bill unchanged and likely send it to President Trump for his signature. Read more at WASHINGTON POST
VIRGINIA sues, accusing major online lender of violating consumer protection laws

Virginia alleges one of the nation's largest online lenders made more than $47 million of illegal, high-interest-rate loans that put Virginians on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in interest and fees.

The state is suing Net Credit, which sells personal loans for up to $10,000 and charges interest rates of as much as 155 percent, for violating the state's consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit alleges Net Credit made such loans to more than 47,000 Virginians since 2012.

Specifically, the suit says the company is violating the state's usury cap of 12 percent, which applies to all consumer loans except those made by licensed finance companies, car-title lenders, payday lenders, credit card firms and banks. Net Credit has no Virginia licenses.
National Debt Holdings
American Banking Misses Nearly Half The Country

Forget for a few minutes what big data can do in banking. Or artificial intelligence, mobile wallets, customer lifetime value and even customer experience. What about the large number of Americans who never deal with a bank at all?

In her new book, "How the Other Half Banks", Mehrsa Baradaran says banks are ignoring half the people in America because they aren't profitable. They can't get short-term loans for emergencies and don't have much in savings; a Federal Reserve survey in 2016 found that about 46% of Americans said they did not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense. Often their only choice is to turn to payday lenders who charge 300 to 400% interest.

Being poor is expensive, as she and others have reported. A family earning $25,000 spends nearly 10 percent, $2,400, on financial services. Sometimes the breaking point is awfully close - in 2012, families filing for bankruptcy were just $26 a month short of what they needed.

Community banks, which at least theoretically knew their customers, are leaving communities because they can't compete with the biggest banks. Post crisis compliance requirements have created a huge burden for local banks even though they had nothing to do with the subprime lending. Read more at FORBES
Ryan: GOP has deal on bill easing Dodd-Frank

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that the House and Senate have struck a deal to pass the upper chamber's bipartisan bill to roll back strict financial rules enacted by former President Obama.

Ryan told reporters at the Capitol that the House will hold a vote on the Senate bill targeting the Dodd-Frank Act in exchange for the Senate taking up a package of bills from the House Financial Services Committee.

"We've got an agreement on moving different pieces of legislation, so we will be moving the Dodd-Frank bill," Ryan said.

Ryan didn't say when a vote would take place, if it would happen before Memorial Day or what House bills the Senate would take up. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule, said he would announce when the lower chamber will vote on the Senate bill "soon."

The Senate in March passed a bipartisan bill to exempt dozens of banks from the stricter Federal Reserve oversight under Dodd-Frank and scores more from lending restrictions and reporting requirements. The deal, sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), passed by a 67-31 vote with support from more than a dozen Democrats. Read more at THE HILL
Employers increasingly adopting financial wellness programs

Employers are liking financial wellness plans, but one thing in particular keeps their employees from participating.

Yet another study has shown how fond employers are becoming of financial wellness programs, envisioning them as a means of boosting satisfaction among employees with their benefit programs.

Prudential's Workplace Solutions Group survey, Benefits and Beyond: Employer Perspectives on Financial Wellness, finds that the percentage of employers offering financial wellness programs rose to 83 percent, up from 20 percent in the survey two years ago.

And if that's not enough, another 14 percent say they plan to offer these programs in the next one or two years.

They also say that big data could help measure results, customize programs and fill remaining gaps-although that's not likely to be all that popular with employees concerned over privacy issues.

In fact, 61 percent of large employers say that data sharing is employees' biggest barrier to participation in financial wellness programs, citing "privacy concerns" and "putting together all the data and information." Read more at BENEFITS PRO
Employment Skip Tracing
MicroBilt's 'Identity Verification' tools ease burdens and reduce the risk of violating federal laws. by Philip Burgess

The consequences of doing business with a fraudster or identity thief can be disastrous. At best, your company becomes the victim of embezzlement. At worse, you violate several regulations and could be subjected to heavy fines or jail time. As such, you want to avoid hiring or working with such individuals, but the resources and knowledge necessary to do so may be beyond what your internal systems are capable of.

The solution? Use comprehensive identity verification and authentication tools as part of your fraud risk assessment strategy. These solutions sort through countless records and use knowledge-based questions to confirm applicants - both potential employees and customers - are who they claim to be.

Who needs an identity verification service?
Employers, lenders and businesses each must adhere to certain federal regulations to remain compliant with the Federal Patriot Act. These rules require organizations to screen applicants against a number of anti-terrorism, anti-money laundering, sanction, foreign government and most wanted lists databases, lest they be subject to fines and possible jail time. Navigating these databases in-house requires a tremendous amount of legal knowledge and resources, making an identity verification service an ideal option. Additionally, identity verification falls in line with the Red Flags Rule and know-your-customer guidelines. Read more at MICROBILT
A_S Management
MAINE: Senators should oppose rolling back protections from payday lenders

AUGUSTA - If there is one thing Mainers have been clear about, we don't like scams in our communities. By and large our state Legislature has outlawed the worst of the usurious payday lenders, and our attorney general has been able to keep them out, but payday lenders are still tracking people down online and pulling them into loans that are unaffordable and unfair. Vulnerable Mainers pay an especially big price for these lapses, in the form of triple-digit interest rates and loss of financial security.

Last October, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau completed a set of protections to rein in the most abusive practices of payday lenders, by calling on them to make a good-faith assessment of whether a borrower is able to repay the loan before it's offered and by limiting the "rollovers" and hidden fees that routinely turn these loans into debt traps. Of course, the industry is trying everything it can to get rid of these common-sense guidelines.
Payday Loans: No need to go Postal

Congress and the Trump administration have done an excellent job of shaking up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has approached the job as if it were a permanent post, and Congress has been more engaged than ever in reforming the bureau. Here's a very brief overview.

In the CFPB's semi-annual report, Mulvaney formally asked Congress for four specific reforms: fund the bureau through Congressional appropriations; require legislative approval of major bureau rules; ensure that the director answers to the president in the exercise of executive authority; and create an independent inspector general for the bureau.

Mulvaney called for evidence to ensure that the CFPB is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions. The bureau has issued 12 formal Request for Information (RFI) notices on topics ranging from how the bureau handles complaints to its rulemaking, enforcement, and civil investigative demand

The bureau amended the murky "know before you owe" mortgage disclosure rule.

Mulvaney asked Congress to turn the CFPB into a bipartisan commission. Read more at FORBES
Dreher Tomkies LLP
Mick Mulvaney does not want you to see complaints against banks that bankrolled his campaigns, report says

Last month, Mick Mulvaney, interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, caused a stir after telling a group of banking executives that as a South Carolina congressman he always met with constituents but met only with out-of-town lobbyists who gave him campaign money.

In the speech, Mulvaney also took aim at the consumer watchdog agency's complaint database, which contains more than 1.5 million complaints from consumers about their credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages and other financial arrangements. "I don't see anything in here that I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government," Mulvaney said during his address to the American Bankers Association meeting. "I don't see anything in here that says that I have to make all of those public."

A review of Mulvaney's campaign contributions finds some overlap between the two issues: Eight of the 10 companies subject to the most consumer complaints about their banking practices contributed to Mulvaney's political campaigns, according to a report by Public Citizen, an liberal consumer rights group, scheduled to be released Tuesday. Nineteen of the top 30 contributed $140,500 to Mulvaney. Read more at WASHINGTON POST
Community Involvement
Advance Financial
We had a great day of volunteering for the  Advance Financial Day of Service.

Workers are willing to sacrifice pay for better retirement benefits, but not for healthcare

Most U.S. workers are willing to swap their pay for greater retirement benefits, but far fewer would trade off pay for better healthcare coverage, a Willis Towers Watson (WTW) survey emailed to HR Dive shows. The "2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey" found that 66% of respondents would make higher monthly payments for more generous retirement benefits, and 61% would exchange more pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit.

In other results, just 38% of respondents would pay more each month for a better healthcare plan, and 46% would be willing to spend more money for lower, more predictable healthcare costs. But fewer respondents said they would pay for services and tools, including those that help them live healthier lives (24%) and improve their financial situation (19%).

Generally, most employees are satisfied with their core benefits, says WTW. About 59% think their retirement plan meets their needs, and 66% believe their healthcare plan meets their needs. But respondents were less happy with their well-being and non-core benefits; just 43% said their package gives them more choice and variety to meet their needs, and just 27% believe their employer's offerings help them manage their finances. Read more at HR DIVE
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