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.

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.

Advocates urge CFPB to create strong protections for PACE borrowers
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs offer loans for energy efficient home improvements, such as solar panels, HVAC systems, and energy efficient windows, along with more questionable items such as “cool coat paint.” PACE loans, offered through home improvement contractors, often in door-to-door sales, and secured by a property tax lien, are collected through a property tax assessment that takes priority over any existing mortgage. PACE programs must be authorized by state and local governments, but are privately run with little or no government oversight. Advocates encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use its authority to issue a rule that applies all of the Truth in Lending Act to the industry and to continue to research the PACE market in order to develop strong protections that curb widespread program abuse.

A new bill aimed at helping students lacks robust borrower protections
Consumer Action joined over 40 organizations in a letter to Senator Lamar Alexander to express concerns regarding his recently introduced bill, the Student Aid Improvement Act. Unfortunately, the bill fails to include any provisions that hold low-quality and sometimes predatory colleges accountable, and better protect students and taxpayers. Any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) must include robust consumer protections.

It’s time for Wall Street traders to pay their fair share
A tiny tax on financial transactions aims to raise revenue and cut down on speculative behavior in the stock market. The Wall Street Tax Act of 2019 would impose a small tax (0.1 percent, or 10¢ per $100) on securities transactions, including trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives.

Forced arbitration silences victims and should end
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in supporting Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) effort to restore Americans’ right to a day in court with the Arbitration Fairness for Consumers Act (S. 630). Ending the use of forced arbitration in student loans, credit card agreements, and employment contracts gives working Americans a fighting chance against powerful special interests.

Kathy Kraninger is shockingly unqualified to lead the CFPB
Despite the nominee having no related experience or qualifications, the Senate voted in a lame duck session to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Advocates urged the Senate to oppose Kraninger for lack of finance, banking regulation, or consumer protection experience, as well as for her central role in administering the inhumane and un-American policy of separating thousands of children from their parents along the southwest border. Kraninger was later approved by Senate in a partisan 50-49 vote, with all Democrats opposing her nomination.

Consumer advocates oppose loosening rules for FinTech providers
Consumer Action joined a coalition of 50 public interest groups in sharply criticizing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposal to gut important consumer protection rules, especially for FinTech companies, arguing the agency does not have the authority to create potentially unlimited exemptions from the very regulations that the CFPB is obligated to enforce.

Senate should reject Kraninger for CFPB Director
Eighty civil rights and consumers groups wrote to Congress, urging a “no” vote on the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Kraninger has no record of protecting consumers or standing up to powerful Wall Street special interests—key traits we all want in America’s chief consumer advocate. Americans deserve a consumer champion at the CFPB, not someone will continue Mick Mulvaney’s anti-consumer agenda.

It’s buyer beware with the SEC’s latest best interest proposal
Coalition advocates called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to clarify its proposed “best interest” standard, and asked that it make the required disclosures much easier to understand for consumers. They also asked the SEC make the standard no less stringent than the Advisers Act fiduciary standard. Otherwise, unsuspecting investors may not be aware that their advisers are selling them products they don’t need in order to turn a profit.

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