March 24, 2022
Paving the Payments Future
Tax season brings bigger tax refunds and 'no unexpected problems' so far

With tax day a month away, what was feared to be a rough filing season for the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service has gone smoother than expected — so far.

The IRS has processed 5.9% more returns at the end of the second week of March compared with a year ago, though it has received 3.9% fewer returns so far from taxpayers. More refunds have been processed and, on the whole, they are larger versus 2021, according to the latest stats, which also shows that 97.5% of refunds went into direct deposit.

“The good news is for the current tax filings, there’s been no unexpected problems at this point,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, told Yahoo Money. “Electronic returns are being processed timely and refunds are getting out the door. The biggest challenge the IRS faces is paper.”

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Using special purpose credit programs to serve unmet credit needs

Far too many minority households and businesses continue to lack fair and equitable access to credit. This critical unmet need, coupled with historic and ongoing discrimination such as redlining, has exacerbated our racial wealth divide and continues to leave many communities shut out from and underserved by lenders.

The CFPB today joined seven other federal agencies in issuing a statement encouraging lenders to explore opportunities available to them to increase credit access through special purpose credit programs (SPCPs) to better serve historically disadvantaged individuals and communities.

Responding to the credit needs of individuals and communities
Under Federal law, lenders are permitted to design and implement SPCPs to extend credit to a class of persons who would otherwise be denied credit or would receive it on less favorable terms, under certain conditions.

Postal Service Gets into Banking, Again

Post offices haven't cashed checks since 1967

The U.S. Postal Service is getting back into financial services, something it hasn’t offered for 55 years. The new services will start off small. For a flat fee of $5.95, customers in Washington, D.C., Falls Church, Virginia, and the Bronx, New York, can cash payroll or business checks (up to $500) on to a debit card. If all goes well, the Postal Service says customers could eventually pay bills, deposit and withdraw cash, and send money to other post offices. The idea is to cater to the millions of Americans who don’t have access to a bank.

“It’s a huge problem for the unbanked and the underbanked who often get caught in the payday lending and cash-checking predatory process,” says American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein. “Low-income people, whether they are actively working or retired, spend up to 10 percent of their income on these fees and services. Here you have a trusted public institution that already provides basic financial services such as money orders."

What personal loan complaints reveal

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been accepting complaints since 2016 from consumers who have had issues with loans through online marketplace lenders. All complaints made since then can be found online on the Bureau's Consumer Complaint Database.

The CFPB received 600,466 complaints in 2021, and 5,212 of those complaints were related to payday loans, title loans or personal loans. The major themes of these complaints range from trouble receiving loan funds to trouble making payments and unexpected fees.

If you are considering taking out a personal loan with an online lender, you may want to consider some of the issues that previous borrowers have run into, in addition to researching individual lenders.

Online lenders versus traditional lenders
Online lenders offer unsecured personal loans that allow consumers to consolidate debt, renovate their homes or pay for large expenses. Online lenders typically have lower interest rates and fewer fees and can be faster and more convenient than traditional bank loans.

70% of medical collection debt will soon be removed from credit reports—and it could boost your credit score

The three major credit reporting agencies announced Friday that they will strip 70% of medical debt information out of consumers’ credit reports, starting July 2022.

The bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — say that medical collection debt will no longer appear on credit reports if that debt has already been paid. The agencies are also increasing how long it takes for that debt to appear on a consumer’s report, from six months to one year. And starting sometime in “first half of next year,” they will also remove unpaid medical collection debt from reports if it’s less than $500.

One of the agencies’ regulators, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), had been considering a ban on medical debt before these changes were announced.

As of the second quarter of 2021, 58% of bills that were in collections and on people’s credit records were medical bills, according to a recently published CFPB report on medical debt. But the report also found that medical debt collections were “less predictive of future payment problems than other debt collections,” like mortgages or car loans.

Register Now for 2022 LEND360! LEND360 is back in Chicago!

We're excited to announce that registration is officially OPEN for 2022 LEND360.

Join us in Chicago to walk the exhibit floor, enjoy a drink at our networking receptions, or meet face-to-face with potential new business.
September 12-14, 2022
The Pandemic Prompted People to Move, But Many Didn’t Go Far

The annual Halloween party last year was a revelation for locals in Orcas Island, Washington, a scenic rural spot 100 miles north of Seattle.

“For the first time in the 10 years we’ve lived here, we didn’t recognize about two-thirds of the families,” said Edee Kulper, a photographer who blogs about life on the island. “It was startling. There’s been such a quiet influx. One of the local schools has had to build an additional classroom to accommodate new families.”

In the year after the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, moves out of city centers increased from the year before, as did moves into rural and suburban areas, according to a Stateline analysis of postal change-of-address forms. But the trend slowed considerably during the second year of the pandemic.


Financial companies will face consequences for illegally manipulating or suppressing consumer reviews

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued policy guidance regarding potentially illegal practices related to consumer reviews. The CFPB seeks to ensure that customers can write reviews, particularly ones posted online, about financial products and services that accurately reflect their opinions and experiences. The guidance also highlights that practices such as posting fake reviews or inserting clauses that forbid a customer from publishing an honest review may violate the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

“In America, no corporation should be able to silence a customer from posting an honest review online,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Corporate disinformation campaigns that suppress legitimate reviews or manufacture fake reviews are not only a threat to free speech and fair competition, they are also illegal.

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