College students’ federal aid has increasingly been put at risk by the cozy relationship between institutions of higher education and credit card issuers over the years. While consumer advocates and legislators have debated whether or not products like student IDs that double as credit or debit cards provide an actual benefit to students or if they’re just a way for schools and banks to rake in the big bucks, the Department of Education finally took steps today to ensure students are afforded proper protections from excess fees and other harmful practices with the proposal of regulations targeting the college debit and prepaid card marketplace. [More]
While a recent survey found that nearly 35% of consumers have never pulled their credit report, a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau points out that some of those consumer might not have anything on their reports anyway. [More]
For the last several years legislators have repeatedly introduced a bill that would allow student loan borrowers to refinance their private and federal student loans to the lower interest rates at which new loans are currently being issued. Although the legislation hasn’t managed to make it into law, that hasn’t stopped banks and credit unions from creating their own refinancing programs to help alleviate the debt burden for student loan borrowers. [More]
Companies have been taking away your right to sue them when they screw up for years, using small, hidden clauses to require mandatory binding arbitration instead. After years of consumer groups voicing their concern over this anti-consumer practice, there’s finally a new bill in congress that proposes to bring back your right to sue.
Nearly five months after Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay more than $35 million – including $11.1 million in redress to affected consumers – for their part in an illegal mortgage kickback scheme, the purported masterminds behind the “pay-to-play” arrangement are finally facing action from federal regulators for their shady dealings. [More]
Each year consumers spend nearly $32 million in exorbitant overdraft fees to their banks and credit unions without fully understanding the way in which these fees work or how much they spend on each overdraft. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reminded banks that using consumers’ lack of knowledge to collect more fees isn’t acceptable by imposing a $7.5 million fine against Regions Bank for unlawful overdraft practices. [More]
While millions of consumers contribute to the $32 billion in overdraft fees collected each year, a new video shows that many checking account holders don’t fully understand the way overdrafts work or how much they spend on the fees each year. [More]
Millions of financially struggling consumers who work with qualified nonprofit counseling agencies now have access to free credit scores and credit reports with the expansion of the FICO Score Open Access program. [More]
For many low-income consumers, tax time provides an opportunity to catch up on bills and get back on track financially. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous companies out there that aim to make money of these same consumers by pointing them in the direction of high-cost tax-refund-anticipation loans. That appears to be the case for the owner of New Mexico-based H&R Block franchises and a tax-time loan company operating an alleged illegal tax-refund scheme. [More]
As we’ve mentioned in the past, it’s illegal for a company to misrepresent itself as an agent of the government, if it isn’t in fact affiliated with the government. But that doesn’t stop some companies from using these false affiliations to lure in customers. Such was the case for a California-based mortgage relief company recently taken down by federal regulators.
While it’s never too late to become financially literate, it certainly helps if you start early. That’s why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching a national effort to improve financial education in schools.
In January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report suggesting that many homebuyers spend more time looking for a TV than shopping around for the right mortgage. In an attempt to make things a little less daunting for prospective borrowers, the Bureau today released the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage shopping toolkit. [More]
Last month, we told you about the Corinthian 15, a group of current and former students at crumbling Corinthian College Inc.’s WyoTech, Heald College, and Everest University campuses who were refusing to pay their federal student loans in protest of the government’s support of the for-profit college company. Now that group has grown to what could be called the Corinthian 100+, and it’s made plans to take its case to several government agencies this week.
“Bad Check” Debt Collector Deceptively Used Prosecutors’ Letterhead To Intimidate Consumers Into Paying High Fees
Late last year, Consumerist reported on a string of debt collectors paying to use prosecutors’ letterheads as a way to intimidate consumers into paying their debts. While the company facing the wrath of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today didn’t exactly pay to use the letterhead, they allegedly used the documents in a deceptive manner to get consumers to enroll in costly financial education programs. [More]
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released the first details of long-awaited regulations governing payday loans and other small-dollar lines of credit known to thrust consumers into a devastating cycle of debt. While consumer advocates were quick to applaud the Bureau’s work, and those in the financial industry to voice displeasure with aspects of the potential rules, both groups agreed that the coming months will involve more time and effort to craft meaningful protections for both sides of the issue. [More]
Nearly one in four consumers continue to turn to high-cost, short-term financial products like payday loans, auto-title loans and other pricey alternatives when struggling to make ends meet, even though research shows these expensive lines of credit often leave consumers worse off than when they began. After nearly three years studying the issue, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now announcing its first attempt to protect consumers from predatory lenders. [More]