April 26, 2018

CFPB considers ending public access to a web portal used by consumers to file complaints against financial companies.

Mick Mulvaney wants to shut public out of CFPB's 'Yelp' of banks

For years, the government has operated a database of complaints about banks, mortgage lenders and student-loan service providers. But you might not be able to look through it much longer.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said Tuesday that he doesn't want to keep the contents of the database open to the general public.

"I don't see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government," Mulvaney said at a banking industry confidence, with a copy of the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation that established the CFPB in hand.

The CFPB database contains hundreds of thousands of grievances against financial services companies.

Consumers can submit complaints about a financial product or service to the CFPB, which passes them on to the companies involved. The companies then have 15 days to respond.

Once a company replies or the 15-day period lapses, the complaints are published online in a public complaint database, excluding any personal or identifiable information.

Mulvaney said that he would keep the database running, as required by law, but was under no obligation to publicly post all the data collected. Read more at CNN MONEY
Mick Mulvaney warns Bankers: I ONLY spoke with Lobbyists who paid me

Mick Mulvaney, acting head of the consumer finance watchdog, told a room full of bankers that the only lobbyists he met with as a Congressman were those who made political donations to his office, and urged them to continue lobbying lawmakers to weaken the regulator he runs.

Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina who sat in the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2017, was giving a speech to the 1,300 attendees of the American Bankers Association conference in Washington.

As well as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mulvaney is director of the Office of Management and Budget (OBM) after being appointed by President Donald Trump to the role in February 2017.

"We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress," Mulvaney told the conference, reported the New York Times. "If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you." Read more at NEWSWEEK
Dreher Tomkies LLP
LOUISIANA: It's Really Amazing How The Left Won't Leave The Payday Loan People Alone...

...and the never-ending attempts to kill the payday loan industry, supposedly on behalf of the people it "victimizes" but who generally don't appear to be all that broken up about their victimization, are still playing a role at the Louisiana Legislature.

There is a bill sitting on the Senate calendar called the Louisiana Credit Access Loan Act (SB 365, authored by Sen. Rick Ward), which would essentially keep the industry from completely shutting down by June of next year. And the Left is screaming about the bill and mobilizing people to kill it, and a $240 million, 6,000-employee industry in Louisiana, in the process.

We're going to oversimplify the timeline here in the interest of brevity, because this issue can be a bit "in the weeds" since it involves the regulatory process. The long and short of this is during the Obama administration, some of the key funders of the Democrat Party - most notably a man named Herb Sandler, who together with his wife Marion essentially broke Wachovia Bank by dumping $15 billion in bad subprime paper on them before the housing crisis hit and who skated away from that mess with enough money to bankroll something called the Center for Responsible Lending - declared war on the payday loan industry around 2014. Read more at THE HAYRIDE
National Debt Holdings
Know the who, what, when and where of all 240 million smartphones in the U.S.

The world has gone mobile. For most people, a mobile phone is their primary contact point. It's where they take calls, get texts and open email. MicroBilt's Mobile Device Verify lets you confirm the account information and location of any mobile phone - smart of feature - in the United States.

Businesses use Mobile Device Verify to help with identity verification, loan origination, and skip tracing and collections.

There are three ways to use Mobile Device Verify:

Verify an account
Submit first name, last name, address and wireless number and Mobile Device Verify can verify this information with the wireless carrier returning this valuable data:
First name, last name, and address
Line type - wireless, land or VOIP Read more at MICROBILT
Employment Skip Tracing
CFPB: Consumer watchdog becomes alphabet soup of controversy

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is dead. Long live the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

That's the message the Trump administration is pushing, at least, in what on the surface seems like a minor tweak to the name of the federal consumer watchdog agency created after the Great Recession to protect consumers against banks, credit card companies, debt collectors and other financial companies.

But critics see it as a not-so-subtle effort to telegraph the abrupt ideological turn the bureau has taken since Trump-appointee Mick Mulvaney became acting director last year. Under Mulvaney, the bureau has proposed revisiting or rolling back the rules, regulations and policies that the Obama administration put into place when it controlled the agency. The bureau has dramatically cut back on enforcement actions as well.

The Dodd-Frank Act created a "Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection" in 2010. But, except for the occasional court filing, the bureau was consistently referred to as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB.

Mulvaney took over the bureau as acting director in late November, when Obama appointee Richard Cordray resigned. Since then, the bureau has increasingly referred to itself as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, or by the acronym BCFP. Read more at ABC NEWS
Commentary: Why We Need to Stop Fining Big Banks Like Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo settled with U.S. regulators last week, agreeing to pay a $1 billion fine for harming customers by creating fake accounts, selling unlawful insurance products, and charging unnecessary fees.

The bank didn't have to suffer through a trial. The worst public shaming came, perhaps, when President Donald Trump called it out on Twitter. Public scrutiny did lead to the resignation of CEO John Stumpf and a few members of the board, but no one went to jail or lost their shirts. Given how profitable other banks have been after they've been hit with similar fees, it's likely Wells Fargo will bounce back from this soon.

When big banks behave badly, they know that the worst thing they'll get is a fine; no one is going to end up in jail. Instead, shareholders end up paying the cost, not the bank employees responsible. Shareholders are a diffuse group of investors, many of whom hold shares as a part of a diverse portfolio. They are not the ones who commit such fraud, nor do they have much power to change the bank's day-to-day operations.

Clearly fines don't work to prevent misconduct. We should instead rely on the constitutional method of dealing with wrongdoing: the criminal justice system. This involves a court hearing, a public airing of evidence, and neutral decision making. When settlements and fines take the place of trials, banks avoid weeks of testimony and the forced disclosure of documents. That prevents public and bank regulators from understanding exactly what went on and whether other laws were broken.
Small business owners uncertain of tax reform benefits

Results of a Capital One survey revealed this week that small business owners are uncertain about the impact of recent tax reform legislation.

Officials said the Small Business Growth Index, a biannual survey of 500 small business owners (SBOs), determined 52 percent of businesses expect to pay the same or more in taxes and only 36 percent believe their taxes will decrease in 2018.

"Small business confidence continues to rise with more than half of small business owners expecting a profitable 2018," Celia Edwards Karam, head of small business banking at Capital One, said. "As such, we're seeing many small business leaders and entrepreneurs focus on industry challenges such as taxes, technology, and diversity."

The survey also noted of the 36 percent of SBOs who believe they will pay less in taxes, many plan to reinvest the funds to grow their business.

Officials said the top three areas where businesses expect to invest funds include purchasing new equipment, contributing to their business savings and raising employee wages.
A_S Management
These are women's top financial regrets

With women living longer than ever, funding that longevity is becoming more and more a woman's responsibility. So what are women most concerned about when it comes to their financial security? Not investing more came out as their top financial regret in a recent report titled "Women and Financial Wellness" from Age Wave and Merrill Lynch.

When those surveyed were asked about the things they wished they had done differently to feel more financially secure, the leading answers were:
  • Investing more of their money (41 percent)
  • Chosing a career with higher pay (35 percent)
  • Not taking on as much credit card debt (34 percent)
  • Living beneath their means (32 percent)
The Age Wave/Merrill Lynch survey found that women are nearly as confident as men regarding financial tasks, such as paying bills, budgeting, paying off debt and choosing insurance. But when it comes to managing their investments, only 52 percent of women did so with confidence, compared to 68 percent of men. The No. 1 barrier to investing? Sixty percent of the women cited not having sufficient knowledge. Read more at CBS NEWS
House Introduces Bill To Increase CFPB Guidance Transparency

Seeking to inject more transparency into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., has introduced legislation designed to do just that.

American Banker reported that Duffy, along with co-sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., introduced legislation that would require the CFPB director, currently Mick Mulvaney, to provide "guidance" that "is necessary or appropriate to enable the Bureau to carry out federal consumer financial law, including facilitating compliance with such law."

The law would also prevent the government watchdog from penalizing institutions that rely on guidance from the CFPB.

"I'm proud to sponsor bipartisan legislation to bring predictability and transparency to the CFPB's rule-making process," Duffy said. "The CFPB should focus on its mission to actually protect consumers rather than playing 'gotcha' with ambiguous and surprising guidance for mortgage lenders."

Companies have been objecting to the guidance process by the CFPB, which they say is more like a binding regulation. The Senate, noted the report, recently overturned a CFPB guidance from 2013 that prevents indirect auto loan markups after it was found to be a rule by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. A House vote on that Senate move is slated to happen this week.
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