Postings

The next COVID-19 relief package should include these critical consumer protections
Millions of people and small businesses in the United States are experiencing tremendous financial distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is skyrocketing and families are struggling to put food on the table. Congress and the administration need to enact broad-based, efficient, and effective relief that goes far beyond the CARES Act to protect people’s homes, cars, bank accounts, income, and benefits so that they can weather this crisis. Consumer Action joined nearly 100 consumer, civil rights, community and other public interest groups weigh in on recommendations for Congress' next stimulus package.

Advocates call foul as CFPB hides consumer complaint narratives from public view
Consumer Action joined nearly three dozen consumer, civil rights, community, housing, and privacy groups in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to reconsider its decision to bury the narratives of consumer complaints, making it much harder for non-experts to find this essential material in its consumer complaint database. Access to the complaint narratives helps to educate and empower consumers to make wise financial decisions and meets the Bureau’s mandate to inform and protect consumers. Public access to this critical information also helps to hold companies accountable for their behavior in the financial marketplace.

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.

Congress: Pass a clean budget for FY2021
Advocates called on Congress to pass an upcoming federal budget that funds the things that Americans care about, not undo essential consumer and environmental safeguards through policy riders. Policy riders are attached to legislation and rarely have anything to do with the bill. In fact, most riders are handouts to big corporations and special favors for interest groups that could not become law on their own merits. As Congress prepares the federal budget for fiscal year 2021, no appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions should pass if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest, including policies that ensure safe and healthy food, restrain Wall Street abuses, provide access to justice and fair housing, and guarantee access to safe healthcare.

New proposed rule empowers debt collects and their attorneys
In an effort to update the rule that governs debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposed rule that would make debt collector harassment worse for consumers.

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.

Overhauling the nation’s broken credit reporting system
Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee are calling upon Congress to enact legislation to reform the credit reporting system, enhance consumers’ credit reporting rights, create more transparency over the consumer reporting and credit scoring process, and increase the accountability of those who develop credit scoring models.

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.

More could be done by the CFPB to stop harassment from debt collectors
Nearly 75 advocate groups joined together in urging the new CFPB director, Kathy Kraninger, to implement stronger rules that protect the 71 million adults in the United States with debt from abusive and harassing debt collection practices.

Trump wants to use credit scores to keep immigrants out of the country
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a terrible proposal that intends to use immigrants’ personal credit information as part of the assessment to qualify for a green card or visa. Using an irrelevant, often error-prone, measure like a credit score to assign immigration status is not only absurd, it misuses credit information, and places financial stress and economic harm on families.

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