(Kerry Lannert)

New Policies Aim To Make It Easier For First-Time Home Buyers To Get Mortgages

Some first-time home buyers face an uphill battle when it comes to obtaining a mortgage following the housing crisis. But new policies created by federal regulators aim to make it easier for consumers to buy the home of their dreams. [More]

Uncle Sam, Pre-Marital Counselor: The Approval Process Ahead For Comcast And TWC

Uncle Sam, Pre-Marital Counselor: The Approval Process Ahead For Comcast And TWC

The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as it currently stands, looks like it could be a good move for the businesses and a bad move for consumers. But right now it’s still just that: a proposed merger. In order for this corporate marriage to move forward, federal regulators first have to approve the union–and that’s where it gets tricky. [More]

(afagen)

What Can A Regulator With A Sense Of Ethics Do After Leaving The Feds? Try Not To Become A Lobbyist.

After many years building your career, you’ve reached such a level of good reputation and success that you’ve been tapped to lead a major federal regulatory agency for a few years. Wow! That’s real power. Great job! But your term ends, or the administration changes, and your time in charge of the agency is done. You feel strongly that you’ve got another decade or two in you before retirement, though. So what’s your next move? [More]

FCC Asks Verizon To Investigate 911 Calls Dropped Amid Snowstorm

FCC Asks Verizon To Investigate 911 Calls Dropped Amid Snowstorm

When several thousand Verizon customers needed to dial 911 during a January snowstorm in the D.C. area, they were left hanging by the provider. The FCC has asked Verizon to investigate why an estimated 10,000 911 calls were dropped. [More]

10 Things You Don't Know About The Goldman Sachs Case

10 Things You Don't Know About The Goldman Sachs Case

The media spin cycle is churning out its typically tepid hogwash about the SEC’s suit against Goldman Sachs. The Big Picture skewers 10 myths about the case and gets to the heart of the matter: Goldman is screwed. Here’s why: [More]

Be Your Own Financial Regulator

Be Your Own Financial Regulator

Any sort of federal agency to protect consumers from abuse from the financial industry is months, or possibly years, away, notes Linda Stern of Reuters. That’s why you shouldn’t depend on such an agency to protect you in the meantime. In fact, you can take her advice and use it no matter what happens at the federal level.

WaMu Told Washington That Adjustable Rate Mortgages Were Safer Than Some Fixed Ones

WaMu Told Washington That Adjustable Rate Mortgages Were Safer Than Some Fixed Ones

The Associated Press says that a review of regulatory documents shows that years before the subprime mortgage crises developed into a full blown economic meltdown— the government ignored warnings and listened instead to lobbyists who represented some of the same banks that have now failed.

Banks Want To Forgive Credit Card Debt — But The Government Says No

The next wave of the credit crisis — the skyrocketing defaults on credit cards — is coming in and odd alliances are being formed. The Consumer Federation of America, along with the Financial Services Roundtable ( a self-described “major player on Capitol Hill and with the regulators” which represents the securities, investment, insurance and banking industries) has requested a “special program that would allow as much as 40 percent of credit card debt to be forgiven for consumers who don’t qualify for existing repayment plans.”

Most Verizon FIOS Installations Violate National Electric Standards

Most Verizon FIOS Installations Violate National Electric Standards

A two-year investigation has concluded that most Verizon FIOS installations fail to meet national safety standards, and could cause fires or electrocutions. FIOS is famous for house fires, but New York’s Public Service Commission first started its investigation back in 2006 after several inspectors discovered improperly grounded installations.

Two More Banks Fail, Including The Largest Arizona-Based Bank

Two More Banks Fail, Including The Largest Arizona-Based Bank

Yesterday the FDIC shuttered the 28 branches of the First National Bank of Nevada and the First Heritage Bank. Federal regulators will perform a nifty little magic trick over the weekend, and on Monday, the branches will reopen as Mutual of Omaha Bank. Aren’t bank failures fun?!

Regulators Seize IndyMac In The Second Largest Bank Failure In U.S. History

Regulators Seize IndyMac In The Second Largest Bank Failure In U.S. History

Ever hear of IndyMac Bancorp? Well, it’s gone! Federal regulators seized the California bank spawned by Countrywide founder Angelo Mozilowhich, which had giddily doled out mortgages to lenders without requiring proof of income. Rather than blame the second largest bank failure in U.S. history on the subprime meltdown, the charmingly politicized regulators at the FDIC blamed the bank’s demise on Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). Huh?

Wachovia To Pay $144 Million For Bilking "Gullible" Seniors

Wachovia To Pay $144 Million For Bilking "Gullible" Seniors

Wachovia will pay $144 million for helping telemarketers prey upon the elderly. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency spanked the morally bankrupt institution with one of the largest fines ever levied—but before seeing a penny of settlement money, seniors will need to fill out detailed claim forms and navigate a complex bureaucracy.

5 Reasons To Fret Over DTV Coupons

5 Reasons To Fret Over DTV Coupons

The federal government continues to bungle the transition to digital television, this time by making it difficult for consumers to redeem subsidy coupons for DTV converter boxes.

Creditors Can Steal Your Social Security Check Right Out Of Your Bank Account

Creditors Can Steal Your Social Security Check Right Out Of Your Bank Account

Nathalie Martin’s elderly cousin had her social security check garnished straight from her bank account by a collections agency. Apparently, most banks skip over the section of federal law that protects social security and other public benefits from creditors. Good thing Nathalie is a bankruptcy scholar and knows how to fight the sleazy debt collectors.

FCC Regulators Sing, Make Fun Of Our Woeful Unpreparedness For DTV Transition

FCC Regulators Sing, Make Fun Of Our Woeful Unpreparedness For DTV Transition

Meet The Singing Regulators. Regular FCC employees by day, these mellifluous regulators spend their nights performing humorous sendups inspired by the Commission’s work. Their latest song pokes fun at the FCC‘s utter failure to prepare the nation for the planned February 2009 transition to digital television.

Utilities With Successful Conservation Campaigns To Collect Government Cash

Utilities With Successful Conservation Campaigns To Collect Government Cash

California utilities may soon unveil new conservation campaigns thanks to an innovative plan unveiled last week by regulators. Under the plan, the Public Utilities Commission will set three-year efficiency targets. Utilities that meet at least 85% of the targets stand to collect rewards of up to $323 million. Utilities that fail to meet 65% of the targets could face penalties worth $500 million.

The PUC forecasts that the program would result in $2.4 billion in energy savings before 2008 and would cut about 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide from California’s air.

Milk Is Too Cheap

Milk Is Too Cheap

Regulators from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources zealously enforce a 1941 law that prohibits retailers from selling milk below cost. The law was originally intended to help level the playing the field between small stores and large chains, but now serves to keep the price of milk artificially high. Just last week, state regulators asked the Market Basket supermarket chain why they were selling milk for only $2.59 per gallon. From the Boston Globe:

David McLean, operations manager for the Tewksbury-based chain, said the company would be adjusting its price upward to $2.89 a gallon and may go even higher this week when wholesale prices are scheduled to rise.