(Jeff Gates)

American Consumers Now Have The Most Debt Ever

Did the recent recession make consumers realize that carrying large amounts of debt for their credit card and car purchases is a bad thing? No, Americans have not adopted widespread frugality, a report from the Federal Reserve shows. We’re taking on more consumer debt than ever. Yes, even when you adjust it for inflation. [More]

The Consumerist 101 Guide To Understanding Your Financial Regulators

The Consumerist 101 Guide To Understanding Your Financial Regulators

Washington, D.C., might as well be called Acronym City. It feels like there are a zillion different, discrete agencies, organizations, bureaus, boards, and commissions within the federal government, each with its own graceless three-, four-, or five-initial moniker, forming the tangled web of a bureaucracy that regulates… well, almost everything. So what are the key regulatory agencies, anyway? Who oversees what, and who do they report to, and how does it all work? [More]

Appeals Court Resurrects Fed’s Debit Card Swipe Fee Limits

Appeals Court Resurrects Fed’s Debit Card Swipe Fee Limits

In a move that will please banks and annoy retailers, a federal appeals court has overruled a lower court decision on swipe fees — the amount banks charge retailers for each debit card transaction — and revived the previous controversial standards put in place by the Federal Reserve in 2011. [More]

Former AIG CEO Loses Bid To Sue Fed Over Bailout

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, former CEO of AIG.

More than five years after AIG received nearly $200 billion from taxpayers to prevent the insurance giant’s inevitable collapse, and a year after the company finished repaying that money, its former CEO is still attempting to sue the U.S. government and Federal Reserve over this very bailout, saying it violated shareholders’ Constitutional rights and that the Fed violated Delaware state law. Today, a federal appeals court dealt a serious blow to his case. [More]

A Small Victory Against Predatory Lending? Regions Discontinues Payday Loan Product

A Small Victory Against Predatory Lending? Regions Discontinues Payday Loan Product

It’s only a small victory in the battle against predatory loans, but there’s now one less bank offering a high-risk payday lending product to consumers. Regions Bank has closed the door on its payday loan-esque deposit advance product. [More]

Regulators Ask Banks To Not Be Jerks To Customers Affected By Shutdown

Regulators Ask Banks To Not Be Jerks To Customers Affected By Shutdown

The shutdown of the federal government is now a week old, meaning a growing number of furloughed workers — and employees of businesses whose income depends on government contracts — are having trouble keeping up with their bills. In a joint statement today, five regulators have asked banks and other financial institutions to be mindful of customers who are directly impacted by the current staring contest. [More]

(frankieleon)

Senators Continue Push To Ultimately Replace Dollar Bill With $1 Coin

In spite of decades of studies showing the long-term cost benefits of dollar coins over Federal Reserve Notes, and the fact that most of the world’s leading economies have already switched to coins for similar denominations, the U.S. has remained steadfast in its use of printed dollar bills. So once again, lawmakers in the Senate are making the push to gradually make the transition from print to mint. [More]

On Feb. 14, Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilled bank regulators on their failure to take banks to trial.

Sen. Warren: Why Can Banks Commit Crimes But Get Away Without Admitting Guilt?

Back on Valentine’s Day, rookie U.S. Senator — and longtime consumer advocate — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts showed little love for the nation’s bank regulators, asking if any of them — the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — had actually taken a large financial institution to trial instead of settling. None of them could provide a quality answer at the time, but Warren has not let them off the hook. [More]

(Scoboco)

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Ready To Drop $247 Million In Mail To Victims Of Foreclosure Abuses

Back in January, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announced a $557 million settlement “for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.” Later this week, the chunk of that money earmarked for payouts to affected consumers will be going out in the mail. [More]

Coming Soon To A Billfold Near You: New $100 Bills

Coming Soon To A Billfold Near You: New $100 Bills

Attention currency fans, and fans of images that shift as you move them! New $100 dollar bills with exciting counterfeiting-proof features are coming soon from the Federal Reserve. The good news is that they probably will not melt, but they look a little different from bills currently circulating. [More]

(afagen)

Some Victims Of Shady Foreclosure Practices Report Trouble Cashing Settlement Checks

As if going through the nightmare of foreclosure proceedings wasn’t bad enough, some of the victims who have been compensated as a result of a settlement between big banks and U.S. regulators can’t even get their darn checks to cash. Most of those borrowers only received between $300 and $500, and have been told their checks were rejected when trying to get their money. [More]

(Nick Bastian)

GAO Calls Out Bank Regulators For Mucking Up Foreclosure Reviews

Back in April 2011, in the wake of the robosigning scandal and in light of numerous instances of erroneous seizures, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve System ordered independent reviews of the foreclosure process at the country’s 14 largest mortgage servicers. Now, two years on, the Govt. Accountability Office is saying these regulators allowed the review process to become inconsistent and overly complex. [More]

(afagen)

Treasury Department: Yeah, About That $1 Trillion Platinum Coin? Not Gonna Happen

Although the idea of a trillion-dollar platinum coin swooping in to be deposited at the Federal Reserve and save us from hitting the debt ceiling is a nice one, it’s just not gonna happen, says the Treasury Department. Even if it did, the Federal Reserve says it wouldn’t accept the deposit anyway so there’s no point in talking about it. Thanks for spoiling the fun, guys. [More]

(FBI)

FBI: Baggage Handler Was Arrested Because That $20K In Uncirculated Bills Doesn’t Belong To him

One pretty blatant tip that a whole bunch of money isn’t yours? If the bills aren’t even in circulation yet. The FBI doesn’t believe that $20,000 worth of $100 bills belong to a US Airways baggage handler for that very reason and arrested him yesterday for swiping them from a shipment of money headed to the Federal Reserve in East Rutherford, N.J.  [More]

Fed: Unemployment Wouldn't Be So High If People Weren't So Darn Uncertain About Economy

Fed: Unemployment Wouldn't Be So High If People Weren't So Darn Uncertain About Economy

When I was a tiny little lad, my coach said the only thing keeping me from being a great soccer player was confidence… and my utter inability to kick the ball in anything resembling a straight line, but also my confidence. Now some number-crunchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco say that the country’s unemployment rate would be a touch lower if we had all just been less uncertain about the economy. [More]

Fed Chair Bernanke: Smart Consumers Are Good For The Whole Economy

Fed Chair Bernanke: Smart Consumers Are Good For The Whole Economy

Too often when people talk about being a good consumer or being educated about financial matters, the big picture is ignored in favor of images of individual wealth and well-being. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben “It rhymes with stanky” Bernanke says that it’s really in everyone’s best interest for us to be smart about what we do with our money. [More]

Fed Orders Review Of Thousands Of Morgan Stanley Foreclosures

Fed Orders Review Of Thousands Of Morgan Stanley Foreclosures

Yesterday, Morgan Stanley finally finished selling off its one remaining unit involved in servicing subprime mortgages. Today, the Federal Reserve gave Morgan Stanley some unwelcome news: It must review thousands of foreclosures processed by that now-former subsidiary. [More]

Bernanke: "Far Too Early To Declare Victory" Over Recession

Bernanke: "Far Too Early To Declare Victory" Over Recession

For the last two years, all upbeat statements about the economy have been followed with a huge “but,” and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben “Feel the” Bernanke isn’t going to buck that trend. [More]