Postings

HUD must do more to protect older reverse mortgage borrowers
Advocates sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeking stronger protections for reverse mortgage borrowers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency announced a 60-day halt on foreclosures of all FHA-insured mortgages, but this timeframe falls short in light of projections of the long-term impact of this crisis.

Advocates call for automatic discharge of student loan debt for disabled borrowers
A coalition of more than 30 advocate groups asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to automatically erase the federal student loan debt of roughly 350,000 student borrowers with disabilities nationwide. Currently, the Department’s application process is so burdensome that most disabled borrowers never get the help they're entitled to under law, while many more are not even aware that they qualify for a loan discharge. In fact, over 60% of eligible borrowers identified have not applied for the relief. In the worst cases, the Department has gone as far as seizing disability benefits that many borrowers with disabilities depend on to survive, as a means to collect on defaulted federal student loans. These borrowers are due critical relief now.

Federal deregulation attempts increase barriers to affordable housing
All over the country, housing unaffordability has become a crisis. The number of households spending more than half of their income on housing payments has skyrocketed in the past decade. Almost 50% of renters are struggling with unaffordable rents, and the homeless population is rapidly growing in high cost areas. In response to this national crisis, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a request for information to examine how regulations could be creating barriers to affordable housing. In response, advocates point out that it's not regulatory efforts, but moves to deregulate the housing and financial markets that are eroding and withdrawing crucial commonsense oversights, thereby increasing barriers to affordable housing.

OCC proposal could greenlight predatory lending schemes
Consumer Action joined a coalition of more than 100 organizations in opposing a proposed rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that would facilitate predatory loans. Specifically, the proposed rule would make it easier for payday and other high-cost lenders to use banks as a fig leaf to offer predatory loans at interest rates of 100 percent APR or higher that are prohibited under state rate cap laws. This scheme is known as “rent-a-bank” or “rent-a-charter.”

Advocates applaud the Fed’s faster payments system, but urge fraud protection
Consumer and privacy advocates applauded the announcement by the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) that it will develop a real-time payment system, while urging the Fed to ensure protection against scammers and criminals who use faster payment systems to receive and move money.

Stop banks from helping predatory payday lenders evade state regulations
More than five dozen public interest groups expressed deep concern about “rent-a-bank schemes” in letters to federal banking agencies, explaining that several nonbank consumer payday lenders have set their sights on using partnerships with banks to evade newly enacted interest rate restrictions in California.

Revamping the CFPB’s “Qualified Mortgage” standard could impact credit availability
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed changes to the Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition would allow the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) patch to sunset in 2021. Advocates warn that terminating the patch could cut off adequate access to mortgage credit to borrowers who are self-employed or more likely to work non-traditional jobs and don’t often conform to traditional QM standards, including borrowers of color and borrowers with student debt.

Don’t water down banks’ overdraft opt-in rule
For many banks, overdraft fees are a huge source of income, despite regulations that sought to restrict banks from charging them unless customers opted into overdraft protection coverage. Now the CFPB is reviewing the overdraft rule and asking for input. Advocates warn that relaxing the rule could be detrimental to consumers and their bank accounts.

New Jersey steps up to protect investors from predatory products and advice
New Jersey’s Bureau of Securities announced a proposal that would impose a fiduciary duty on anyone giving investment advice, including brokers. Advocates greatly appreciate states such as New Jersey that are willing to step in to fill the regulatory void by providing the protections investors need and expect. New Jersey is one of several states, including Nevada and Massachusetts, seeking to set their own investment advice standards.

California to lead the effort to protect student loan borrowers
AB 376, the Student Borrower Bill of Rights, would make California the first state in the nation to create a comprehensive set of rights for people holding student debt by requiring student loan companies to treat borrowers fairly and giving borrowers the right to hold these companies accountable when they fail to meet basic servicing standards.

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