July 2, 2019
Happy 4th of July

FTC, Law Enforcement Partners Announce New Crackdown on Illegal Robocalls

U.S., state, and local enforcement stops companies responsible for over one billion calls

The Federal Trade Commission and its law enforcement partners today announced a major crackdown on illegal robocalls, including 94 actions targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities, and medical alert systems.

The joint crackdown, "Operation Call it Quits," is part of the Commission's ongoing effort to help stem the tide of universally loathed pre-recorded telemarketing calls. It also includes new information to help educate consumers about illegal robocalls. In addition, the FTC continues to promote the development of technology-based solutions to block robocalls and combat caller ID spoofing.

"Operation Call it Quits" includes four new cases and three new settlements from the FTC alone. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed two of the new cases on the FTC's behalf. Collectively, the defendants in these cases were responsible for making more than a billion illegal robocalls to consumers nationwide. Today's announcement brings the number of cases the FTC has brought against illegal robocallers and Do Not Call (DNC) violators to 145.

"We're all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year," said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Today's joint effort shows that combatting this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation."

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Fearful of another recession, Americans are losing sleep over their finances

A strong U.S. economy and record-low unemployment are not enough for many people to get a good night's sleep

How are you sleeping lately?

Some Americans are feeling uneasy. Consumer confidence fell to a two-year low in June, the Conference Board announced this week. It fell to 121.5 this month from a 131.3 in May. That's the lowest level since September 2017.

"The escalation in trade and tariff tensions earlier this month appears to have shaken consumers' confidence," Lynn Franco, senior director at the Conference Board, said in a statement. Continued uncertainty could "diminish" people's confidence in the economic expansion, she added.

Many people are living with wildly fluctuating income, a recent report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System said. "Volatile income and low savings can turn common experiences - such as waiting a few days for a bank deposit to be available - into a problem."

Despite unemployment hitting a 49-year low, plus low interest rates and inflation, people are feeling skittish. "A major trade war between the U.S. and China represents our greatest economic risk," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist of the Controller's Council of Economic Advisors.
Read more at MARKETWATCH


CALIFORNIA: Loan rate-cap bill would harm consumers

The California Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday (June 26) on a bill that caps consumer loan rates and threatens to sever a vital credit lifeline for many. Oddly, three commercial lenders who offer the kind of loans subject to this regulation support it.

Assembly Bill 539 would cap the interest rate at 36% plus the federal funds rate on loans of more than $2,500 but less than $10,000. Lawmakers are targeting lenders that make what they believe are "unaffordable" personal loans and are doing so in the name of "consumer protection."

But the bill will create more harm than it would prevent, should it become law.

Consumers have made it clear they need and value access to personal loans and are unconvinced they need to be protected by legislators. Rather than run from these loans, Californians have voraciously consumed them. Lenders made roughly 63,000 loans in 2009 that were in the $2,500-$4,900 range, according to data from the state Department of Business Oversight. By 2017, they made almost 550,000 of these loans.

That should be no surprise, since, according to a Harris poll, 95% of respondents nationally said it should be up to them, not the government, if they are going to borrow the money.
Read more at Capitol Weekly

We are a revolutionary merchant service and technology firm servicing the debt repayment industry

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Identify 20-30% more creditworthy thin-file and no-file borrowers

At Accelitas, our mission is to solve two key challenges facing today's financial services industry: a growing number of non-traditional consumers denied the credit they deserve, and lenders who need a safe, secure, way identify and access more good customers in a rapidly evolving market.

Through the remarkable tools of Artificial Intelligence and alternative data, Accelitas delivers unprecedented predictive analytics. With better insight, accuracy, and transparency, we help create a more equitable and robust access for both borrower and lender.

Identifying More Good Customers
As the world becomes more digital and the credit markets begin to tighten, good customers are becoming more valuable than ever. But where will they come from? And how will you find them?

To grow and thrive, your business needs access to more good consumers, including consumers invisible to traditional credit scores and screening services. And you need the AI-powered analytics and alternative data that makes accessing and lending to these consumers safe and profitable.

Accelitas has the expertise, technology, and partnerships to brings together Identity Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, and Alternative Data, enabling businesses to identify and accept creditworthy borrowers that traditional screening services miss.
Read more at ACCELITAS

National Debt Holdings is a professional Receivables Management Company that partners with creditors to purchase and/or manage receivables at all stages of the account life cycle.

Largest banks meet Fed expectations for capital planning

The nation's largest banks have strong levels of capital, and most are meeting supervisory expectations for capital planning, the Federal Reserve Board reported last week.

Consequently, as part of its annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) review, it is not objecting to the capital plans of all 18 firms. However, it requires one firm, Credit Suisse, to address limited weaknesses identified from the test.

The CCAR evaluates the capital planning processes and capital adequacy of 18 of the largest banking firms. Stable capital levels are important because they act as a cushion to absorb losses and help ensure that banking organizations can lend to households and businesses even in times of stress.

"The stress tests have confirmed that the largest banks are both well capitalized and place a high priority on strong capital planning practices," Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles said. "The results show that these firms and our financial system are resilient in normal times and under stress." Read more at Financial Regulation News

We are a revolutionary merchant service and technology firm servicing the debt repayment industry.

FTC roundup: Actions involving active duty military, credit repair scheme and robocalls

The past seven days have been quite active at the Federal Trade Commission. The regulator made moves involving credit reporting and active military personnel, took action in connection with an alleged credit repair scheme and worked with and its law enforcement partners for a major crackdown on illegal robocalls.

What might be most pressing for auto finance companies is the FTC finalized the rule implementing a 2018 law that requires the nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to provide free electronic credit monitoring services for active duty military consumers.

FTC officials explained the Free Electronic Credit Monitoring for Active Duty Military Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register shortly, implements legislation included in the 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by requiring CRAs to notify active duty military consumers about any "material" additions or modifications to their credit files.

The FTC said it received 19 comments on its proposed rule, released in November, which defined key terms such as "electronic credit monitoring service" and "material additions or modifications" to the file of a consumer. Read more at SUBPRIME

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The Unbanked Don't Need Facebook's Money

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Among Facebook Inc.'s justifications for introducing a new digital currency, Libra, the company has offered one pious rationale: to connect the 1.7 billion adults who lack bank accounts to the global financial system. That's certainly one way for the "unbanked" to enjoy the convenience of digital money. Or they could just use a DeathAdder Elite.

The DeathAdder is, of course, a high-performance gaming mouse made by Razer Inc. The Singapore-based gaming company recently entered a partnership with Visa Inc. that will allow players to go to a convenience store and buy prepaid credits to load onto their mobile phones, which they can then use to buy goods not just within Razer games but in the real world, at tens of millions of merchants who accept Visa.

The credits effectively do what Facebook claims Libra will - provide electronic money to those without bank accounts or credit cards. And, though the Razer-Visa partnership is new, this prepaid model is relatively mature compared to Libra and other digital currencies. Facebook may well find that those it's supposedly trying to help don't need its help after all.
Read more at YAHOO FINANCE

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Say "yes" to thin-file and no-hit borrowers with REAL alternative data and a fully compliant, AI-powered score, customized for your business.
National Debt Holdings

National Debt Holdings is a receivables management firm assisting creditors with improving their cash flow performance from their account portfolios. Our team understands the precise balance needed to successfully recover accounts receivable while protecting the brands and reputations of our creditor partners.

Headquartered in Miami, FL, our team of professional recovery experts has developed deep relationships with creditors and service providers, giving us a unique perspective to drive business and create success for everyone involved. Within our local community, National Debt Holdings embraces social responsibility and is committed to helping our South Florida community as well as supporting various charities.

Understanding the Landscape
National Debt Holdings strives to stay on the cutting-edge of our industry. By participating in conferences, webinars, and other live events, we keep abreast of the ever-changing environmental landscape in the receivables management industry. We use our broad knowledge to implement proactive measures that protect our clients, partners, and service providers.

Achieving Results While Protecting Partners
Our processes, systems, and technology enable us to achieve the bottom-line results our clients need while protecting their brands from unnecessary risks. National Debt Holdings understands what is necessary to achieve optimal results. Our dedication to maintaining the balance between performance and compliance enables us to outperform our competition while offering the protection our creditor partners demand. Read more at National Debt Holdings

Redefining how financial service businesses measure risk and process payments.

Convicted payday loan mogul's estate sale brings in hundreds of people

$2.1 million Leawood mansion opens doors for public sale

LEAWOOD, Kan. - Sandra Kitchen sat down to rest in a sleek, ultra-modern chair in Scott Tucker's former basement.

Kitchen had just walked shoulder to shoulder with people through the estate sale at Tucker's former 4,500-square-foot Leawood mansion, and stopped to collect her thoughts.

"I just wonder what he's thinking today," Kitchen said. "Yeah, to have all these strangers walking around in your domain."

Years earlier, Kitchen worked for $10 an hour for one of Tucker's payday loan businesses, not knowing he was running illegal schemes to defraud thousands of customers of $1.3 billion dollars in usurious consumer loans.

Tucker was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for his crimes.

"It's a lot to inhale," Kitchen said. "Because we never seen where he lived, we just heard. He lived a lifestyle of the rich and famous, and now I see what his lifestyle was like."
Read more at KMBC NEWS

Payliance: Powerful Payment Processing Technology

FTC Stops Operators of Fake Credit Repair Scheme

Alleges scammers charged upfront fees and falsely promised to improve credit scores

At the Federal Trade Commission's request, a federal court has temporarily halted and frozen the assets of Grand Teton Professionals, an alleged credit repair scheme that charged illegal upfront fees and falsely claimed to repair consumers' credit. The company and other defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act and several provisions of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, the Truth in Lending Act, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.

According to the FTC's complaint, since at least 2014, two of the defendants, Douglas Filter and Marcio G. Andrade, have operated an unlawful credit repair scam that bilked consumers out of at least $6.2 million.

"A good credit score can help you buy a home, get a business loan, or finance an education," said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "These companies preyed on consumers who wanted to clean up their credit by making false promises and taking illegal upfront fees."

The FTC charges that the defendants, using such trade names as Deletion Experts, Inquiry Busters, and Top Tradelines, used deceptive websites, unsolicited emails, and text messages to target consumers with false promises of substantially improving consumers' credit scores by claiming to remove all negative items and hard inquiries from consumers' credit reports.

Dreher Tomkies LLP
Dreher Tomkies LLP is a law firm concentrating in the areas of Banking and Financial Services law.

Launch Your Own Mobile Payment App. by Kristen Hoyman

Make it easy for customers to pay and stay with your very own mobile payment app.

People use their smartphones for so many things other than making actual calls. In a late 2017 Statista survey, almost one-third of smartphone owners reported that they use their phones to make calls either occasionally, seldom, or never.

Yet, almost two-thirds of smartphone users use their mobile browsers regularly and more than 70% use the messaging functionality regularly or very often. Aside from texting, there are many mobile apps in the Messages category, including Slack, WhatsApp, Asana, Basecamp, Telegram, Discord and more.

The bottom line: people are on mobile apps. A LOT. This includes your customers. In fact, eMarketer conducted a fascinating study in late 2017. The study concluded that people are on their mobile phones for longer periods each day (no surprise there). The surprise, however, was that the time spent in mobile browsers is declining and time spent using mobile apps is increasing. At the same time, the number of apps people are using is dropping. People all over the country, including your customers, are on their phones more, browsing less, and using fewer apps more frequently.
Read more at REPAY

Lending as a Service
Alchemy Lending Operating System

Alchemy lending platform enables FinTech, Banks and Financial Services to launch with ease.

Alchemy was founded on the belief that technology, analytics and operations should be executed in concert, flawlessly. We founded this company to take away the back office pain points from our clients and enable to the focus on their story.

We deliver our core solution and customized workflow for a variety of financial verticals. Our personal loan, line-of-credit, mechanics financing, construction loans and student loan installations are state of the art. We have developed point-of-sales portals for student aids office and construction offices to qualify and finance customers in real time.

A team of lending, analytics and technology experts
We are not only your technology, analytics and operations solution provider, but we also have deep lending product knowledge that can help you enable automation with advanced work flow and automation.

Out of the box and customized lending software
We spent the past 3 years crafting customer and point of sale experiences in a variety of industries. Based on the foundation of our deep lending experience and real-world implementations, we continuously refine industry-specific underwriting algorithms, workflows, user experience and loan management functionalities.

Read more at ALCHEMY

Alternative Credit Reporting

Artificial Intelligence Makes Boosting ID Theft Protection Critical, House AI Task Force Chair Warns

Artificial intelligence is making improving identity theft protections imperative, House Financial Services Committee AI Task Force Chair Bill Foster warned Wednesday.

The Congressman said AI has become an increasingly popular tool for crooks to swipe assets and sensitive financial information from consumers.

AI is being used to help steal Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and other personal identity factors can be stolen and sold on the dark web, or used by criminals for quick and easy profit gain, Foster explained.

Experts estimate nearly 15 million Americans were victims of ID theft last year costing them billions.

At the same time crooks are profiting from AI, nation's financial regulators and law enforcement agencies are availing themselves of the technology to detect fraud and money laundering and to improve market surveillance, Foster said.

The Illinois Democrat praised the potential of AI to reduce the 50 million Americans who are unbanked or underbanked in a big way. Read more at FORBES

Alt Data is the key to compete effectively

How lenders can maximize loan deferral and extension compliance

In February, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued its Quarterly Report on Household Credit and Debt, which showed a record seven million Americans were 90 days past due on their auto loan payments at the end of 2018. "That is more than a million more troubled borrowers than there had been at the end of 2010 when the overall delinquency rates were at their worst," according to economists at the New York Federal Reserve Bank1.

With a larger group of borrowers at risk for delinquency, it's important for lenders to develop loss mitigation programs and review those programs for compliance with applicable federal and state laws. Providing an extension or deferral is a common way for lenders to combat would-be delinquencies and prevent the likelihood of a subsequent default. However, lenders must be careful to ensure compliance with state laws and federal guidance when implementing such programs. Although extensions and deferrals may provide an immediate solution for distressed borrowers, poor practices can result in liability.

Extension and deferral practices are a common area of focus of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For example, in the summer 2016 Supervisory Highlights, the CFPB highlighted UDAAP risks associated with the way in which the extension or deferral is explained to the consumer. The CFPB criticized lenders who omit informing consumers that the payment following the extension or deferral would be applied to the interest earned on the unpaid amount financed from the date of the last payment received.


Alternative Financial Service Providers Association

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