February 8, 2018

Rep. Jeb Hensarling aide named CFPB Chief of Staff

Kirsten Sutton Mork served as House Financial Services Committee staff director

Earlier this year, the House Financial Services Committee announced that its staff director, Kirsten Sutton Mork, would be leaving the committee staff "in the coming weeks" to become the chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Now, it's official.

The CFPB announced Tuesday that CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney named Mork to the position of chief of staff.

While working for the House Financial Services Committee, Mork was a top aide to Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who has never been shy when it comes to expressing his dislike for the CFPB. Read more at HOUSINGWIRE


ALABAMA: Payday lending reform set for debate in AL legislature

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  Payday lending reform will once again be debated by Alabama lawmakers during the 2018 legislative session.

Sen. Arthur Orr is sponsoring a bill that would extend the repayment periods for payday loans to 30 days. Orr says most bills, like mortgages, credit cards, and other bills are due every 30 days.

Currently, most payday loans have about two weeks before payment is due. Payday loans include high-interest rates on top of the short time in which customers have to repay them.

Payday lenders say the higher interest rates are in response to the riskiness of the loans and say they provide loans to those who may not be able to get them from a bank.

Opponents of the practice claim payday loans are predatory, catching many of its customers in a debt trap. Read more at WBRC FOX 6


PENNSYLVANIA: AG's suit allowed in "Rent-a-Tribe" Payday Lending Scheme

HARRISBURG - In an important ruling involving a lender and investment firm accused of "renting" Native American tribes for a payday loan scheme in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today a federal judge has allowed the core of a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General to move forward.
The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, invested and participated in a scheme with Think Finance Inc. to shield itself from state and federal laws by operating under the guise of a Native American tribe and also a federally-chartered bank. U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner has denied most of a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit, ensuring the case will proceed.

"These defendants used a Native American tribe as a front to evade state consumer protection laws and charge higher payday loan interest rates than allowed under Pennsylvania law," Attorney General Shapiro said. "We filed suit to hold them accountable, we're pleased with the court's ruling, and now our case moves forward."

Victory Park argued that because it had no physical tie to Pennsylvania and all the activities it took part in happened outside Pennsylvania, the court had no jurisdiction and the claims should be dismissed. Read more at FOX 43


This Is the Year Financial Wellness Solutions Should Be Accessible to All

Only 6 percent of employees strongly agree that their company effectively helps them manage their finances. That must change.

Early in 2017, I proclaimed it would be the Year of Financial Well-Being.

The reason was simple. Across the U.S., Americans at virtually all income levels are experiencing financial insecurity and a growing awareness of just how great that insecurity is.

This oppressive level of financial stress is impacting all areas of Americans' lives, including their productivity in the workplace. As a result, employers have increasingly addressed this crisis by offering financial wellness programs designed to improve their employees' financial literacy and reduce their financial stress.

Unfortunately, simply making financial wellness programs available has not produced the desired result. Consider that despite employers' ongoing investments in financial well-being, only 6 percent of employees "strongly agree" that their company does things to help them manage their finances more effectively. Read more at WORKFORCE

CFSA Conference

Court hears arguments about open records in payday loans case

A case heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday could have profound implications for citizens seeking public records under the state's sunshine laws.
The dispute is about whether a watchdog group may obtain correspondence between a Kennesaw State University professor and a payday lending group that commissioned the university to conduct a study. The group, which calls itself the Consumer Credit Research Foundation, publishes reports favorable to the industry.

The Board of Regents, which oversees the state's university system, agreed that the communications should be released under the Open Records Act. But the research foundation filed suit to block its release to the Campaign for Accountability, a Washington-based nonprofit that contends the payday loan industry funds favorable academic studies to boost its bottom line.

Last year, the state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the foundation, saying the Open Records Act "mandates the nondisclosure of certain excepted information." (The Open Records Act contains roughly 50 exceptions.)

Russ Willard, a state attorney representing the Board of Regents, told the justices such a position could lead to absurd outcomes.

For example, the Attorney General's Office often provides advice to constitutional officers such as the governor. Under the research foundation's reading of the law, Gov. Nathan Deal would be prohibited from sharing that advice when requested to do so by a media outlet - even if the governor thought it was in the best interest of the state to do so, Willard said.

A_S Management

Mnuchin Presses CFPB For Answers On Equifax Hack

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he has questions for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on its decision to pull back on the probe into last year's Equifax hack that affected 143 million Americans.

"I haven't spoken to Director Mulvaney about it, but I will," Mnuchin told the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, according to Reuters. "It is something I am going to discuss with him."

A report on Monday said that CFPB's acting chief, Mick Mulvaney, has decided to put a pin in the full-scale probe of how Equifax failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers. The hack exposed personal information that included includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, drivers' license numbers. The company also reported that 209,000 U.S. consumer accounts were accessed by the hackers, as well as certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.
Dreher Tomkies LLP

When "Protecting" Consumers Actually Narrows Their Choices. by Charlotte Hays

A headline on a recent Market Watch story indicates that there is cause for concern that Trump administration changes at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will "weaken consumer protections."

Upon reading the story, however, I realized that in some of the examples given, it is not consumer protections at all that are being weakened. What is being weakened is the ability of the CFPB to prevent consumers from making choices that certain elites don't like that is being weakened. There is a difference.

Pay day lenders will be affected by the relaxation in CFPB enforcement:

[Acting CFPB Director Mick] Mulvaney announced this month the CFPB may reconsider a rule [former CFPB head Richard] Cordray implemented for payday lenders that was designed to protect consumers and limit the amount lenders are allowed to loan them, if they do not meet certain borrowing criteria.

Of the relaxation in the CFPB regulations, Market Watch observes:

But that's not good news for consumers, especially low-income households who often turn to payday lenders who have charged interest rates of up to 400%, Frisch said. "There is no reason to delay implementation of this rule - unless you are more concerned with the needs of payday lenders than you are with the interests of the consumers these financial bottom-feeders prey upon," he told MarketWatch. Read more at Independent Women's Forum

Will Mick Mulvaney be the end of the CFPB as we know it?

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney once likened government regulations to a "slow cancer," an attitude he shares with many of President Trump's appointees as well as the man himself. So it's hardly surprising that, in his new part-time role as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mulvaney would waste little time pulling back on the agency's rules and its authority. It's yet another reminder, as if any more were necessary, that elections have consequences.

But some of Mulvaney's moves suggest that he's forgotten why Congress created the bureau in the first place, as well as the regulatory gap it exists to fill. And if he has, the consequences may be both severe and unwelcome.

The subprime mortgage collapse that triggered the Great Recession in 2007 exposed many weak beams in the financial industry, one of them being the dangerous willingness of lenders seeking short-term revenue to offer loans to people with limited ability to repay. The perversity of the incentives involved became obvious once huge swaths of subprime and exotic loans started going bad, but by then it was too late. Read more at LOS ANGELES TIMES

Secure Check Cashing Systems

OCC Chief Praises Mulvaney On Halting Payday Rule

After a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 6), Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting had nothing but praise for acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney.

According to American Banker, the two met to discuss how to reduce regulatory burden, as well as to coordinate supervision of financial firms.

The job of regulators "is to help our system fulfill its important role in society by ensuring it operates in a safe and sound manner and treats customers fairly," Otting said in a press release. "But, unnecessary regulatory burden is a waste that places a drag on our entire economy without making the system safer or fairer."

Otting was also complimentary regarding some of Mulvaney's decisions while at CFPB, including the reversal of the bureau's payday rule.

"Acting Director Mulvaney has helped reduce the burden on the banking system by delaying implementation of his agency's Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule, committing to reconsidering its payday lending rule, and deferring action on additional regulations until completing a more thorough review of those matters," Otting said in the release. "I also applaud him for realigning his agency's mission to the current needs of the nation, making its processes more transparent and fair."
O_Keefe _ O_Malley

CFPB Acting Director Announces Chief of Staff

Washington, D.C. - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Acting Director Mick Mulvaney announced today that he has named Kirsten Sutton Mork chief of staff for the agency. Ms. Sutton Mork has been serving as staff director of the House Financial Services Committee under Chairman Jeb Hensarling.

"I am pleased to announce Ms. Sutton Mork as the new chief of staff at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection," said CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. "I worked with Kirsten during my tenure as a member on the House Financial Services Committee and can attest to her in-depth financial policy expertise, proven track record of developing and implementing strategic initiatives, and ability to manage a team. Kirsten brings with her more than a decade of invaluable experience that will advance the mission of the Bureau and make it more efficient, effective, and accountable." Read more at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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