The New York Times combed through the data and found that when the banks close branches, they’re doing it in poorer neighborhoods. And when they open a new branch, it’s more likely to be in a well-off area. While that makes business sense, it could violate the spirit of the Community Reinvestment Act which was passed to curb “redlining,” where lower-income neighborhoods are discriminated against by the financial services industry. [More]
You’re broke. How would you like a $54.95 debit card? It’s empty, but if you ever do get any money, you can put up to $2,500 on it. Yay. If that doesn’t sound like a bargain, it’s no wonder that one internet marketer of payday loan referral sites was hiding the fact that he was signing you up for these dodo cards via a pre-checked checkbox on the signup form, and the FTC smacked him down for it. [More]
The soon-to-be-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has at least some Wall Street insiders worried. No, not the bank bigwigs or hedge fund managers. The latest hand-wringing comes from the advertising community, which worries that the new agency may create “overly cumbersome, cost-prohibitive and possibly even onerous requirements” for financial ads. [More]
Arizona is about to say goodbye to predatory payday lenders who issue loans with annual interests exceeding 460%. On Thursday a decade-old law will expire, capping interest rates at 36%. The predatory lenders begged to keep the law in force, but voters and the legislature just sat back and gave the industry a big, slow, deserved punch right in the face. [More]
The FDIC has announced the results of a two-year pilot program designed to help banks offer alternatives to payday loans that would be “safe, affordable and feasible.” Under the test program, participating banks offered loans of up to $2,500 at maximum interest rates of 36% — instead of the 400% offered by some payday lenders. [More]
The new Consumer Financial Protection agency will be a place you can go to with your complaints and they will be taken seriously, the White House said this afternoon during a conference call in which Consumerist took part. While, “It’s not totally worked out who’s going to be manning the 1-800 number,” said senior economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, [More]
You guys have opened up your hearts and wallets to us mightily, raising $5,113.30. Thanks! Every donation makes you a stakeholder in the future of Consumerist. Every dollar is a vote for independent, non-profit, ad-free blogging, for your right to get what you deserve from in the marketplace, and to mock those who don’t live up to their part of the bargain. We’re ending this drive Monday, let’s give it a last weekend push and see how much closer we can get to $10k! (Today is payday, right? nudge nudge, even just ten bucks gets us closer to our goal) Donatetoconsumerist.com (FAQ) [More]
Sonia, Rent-a-Center’s Public & Community Affairs person, saw our popular post, “How Predatory Lending Works, From Payday Loans To Rent-To-Own” and has a rebuttal that shows how they do math. I showed it to Jess, the creator of the infographic, and he has a rebuttal to the rebuttal. Let the chips fall where they may: [More]
You’re a savvy, savvy consumer. You pay your credit card bills in full every month, auto-deduct a generous portion of your paycheck into savings, invest in index funds, and always make sure you’re getting the best deal from your cable and wireless providers. Unfortunately, some of your brethren do not read Consumerist and can get caught up in the jaws of predatory lenders, wasting limited cash on things like payday loans, bad credit cards, and using rent-to-own stores. So let’s take a walk down the wild side and see how each of these bad choices work, in a giant infographic, courtesy of Mint and WallStats, after the jump. [More]
Here’s a new one. We really thought we’d heard every Comcast complaint out there, but no, this one has a hooker. Reader A. wanted internet but Comcast said it could not hook up said internet because the person who lived there before didn’t cancel their account. In order to prove he was really the new tenant, he needed to show his lease to Comcast. Unfortunately, instead of a proper Comcast office, customer service sent A. to a payday loan in a bad part of town where he was propositioned by a hooker. He is not pleased, and would like to know if Consumerist readers would still sign up with Comcast after the whole payday loan/hooker fiasco. [More]
Stuck in a $14,300 debt hole, reader Trixare4kids was dug herself out using tips she learned about on Consumerist. Let’s learn how she went on a personal finance rampage, learned to live frugally, did it all in 20 months, and how you can do it too! [More]
The Washington Post reports that thanks to legislative compromise, banks and mortgage brokers may be the only financial institutions regulated by the proposed federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency–leaving entities that loan money but don’t hold bank charters, such as auto dealers, pawn shops, and payday lenders, unregulated by the industry. Now an unholy alliance of banking industry groups and consumer advocates are fighting the proposal, each for their own reasons. [More]
No matter how much heat Joseph buts on GE to fix his oven, he can’t get things cooking. Despite dumping big money into repairs, he isn’t sure whether or not he should continue the latest bungled fix-up process or just buy a new oven. [More]
This 30-year old receptionist and single mother of 3 climbed out of a $50,000 debt hole in 5 years using these 10 steps. [More]
You had questions, we got answers. On Tuesday, we went to Washington and interviewed Diana Farrell, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, about the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Here’s a piece of the video of our interview, where Farrell answers your questions about payday lending and protections for underserved consumers.
If you’re a parent, you’re a CEO of a small business who bosses around an underage household workforce. But how to handle payroll?