CFPB Returned $19.4M To 92,000 Consumers In The Last Half Of 2014

Each year the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supervisory examiners hold hundreds of companies accountable for violations of fair lending and debt collection rules. During the last half of 2014, those actions resulted in the return of $19.4 million to more than 92,000 consumers, according to a new report from the agency.

The CFPB released its latest supervision report [PDF] today providing details on just how examiners were able to recover those funds by uncovering deceptive student loan debt collection practices, unfair and deceptive overdraft practices, mortgage origination violations, fair lending violations, and mishandled disputes by consumer reporting agencies.

The report, which covers the Bureau’s supervisory activities between July 2014 and December 2014, highlights examiners’ findings and efforts to assist the financial industry to remain in compliance with federal consumer financial law.

Among the top issues investigated in the latter half of 2014 was the use of deceptive statements and misinformation by debt collectors.

In many cases regarding student loans, examiners found that collection calls and call scripts over-promised the restoration of credit profiles if borrowers participated in a federal student loan rehabilitation program.

Additionally, collectors misinformed consumers by telling them that they could not participate in the rehabilitation program unless they paid by credit card, debit card, or ACH payments, when, in fact, no such requirement exists.

When it comes to financial institutions, the Bureau found that certain banks changed the way in which they assessed overdraft fees, increasing the likelihood that consumers would incur fees that they did not anticipate. In some cases, the banks carried out unfair and deceptive practices related to not explaining the changes.

Bureau examiners also dealt heavily in doling out mortgage origination violations related to illegally received compensation based on the terms of loans.

According to the report, some loan originators advertised the length of payment, amount of payments, numbers of payments, and finance charges without providing the required disclosures. Additionally, the Bureau found weaknesses in compliance management systems.

Examiners also found that some lenders violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by rejecting mortgage applications because consumers relied on public assistance income, such as Social Security or retirement benefits, in order to repay the loan.

Finally, the CFPB continued its examination into consumer reporting agencies’ consumer dispute practices.

Although the Bureau found that many practices were vastly improved from prior years, some agencies still failed to consistently forward all relevant consumer information to furnishers, leading to errors in credit files and incorrect dispute investigation outcomes.

The Bureau reports that in all instances in which examiners found violations, the institution was notified and provided with necessary remedial measures, sometimes including compensation for consumers.

CFPB Report Outlines Legal Violations Uncovered by Supervision [CFPB]

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