The person-to-person loan website Prosper.com has been talked about in mostly positive ways since it launched a few years ago. Mark Gimein at Slate’s The Big Money says it’s a lot less awesome than you’ve been led to believe. In fact, he says it’s just a microcosm of what happened in the real financial world: “Loans to unqualified borrowers; reliance on mathematical models that turn out to be a lot less useful than they seemed; failed hopes that high interest rates could make subprime loans profitable; sky high default rates [of 39%]—Prosper has it all.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has offered to abandon the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) proposal in exchange for Republican support on other legislation. Nobody is saying anything official right now, but the WSJ reports that “the offer is conditional on the creation of a stronger consumer protection division within another federal agency.”
The downside to responsible lending is that the lenders will need more information about you, says the WSJ.
One of the big selling points about the Nook, the new ebook reader introduced this week by Barnes & Noble, is that unlike Amazon they’ll let you virtually “loan” your ebook to a friend for up to 14 days (if the publisher allows it). What they don’t tell you–some smart readers over at MobileRead sussed it out–is that you can only do this one time per book. You’d better lend wisely–and your friend had better finish that book within 14 days.
Earlier this week, a group of 70 law professors from universities across the country released a 16-page Statement of Support (pdf) detailing why they’re in favor of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Act. You can read the statement yourself via the link above, but we’ve summarized them below.
For the third time in the last five months a new record for foreclosure filings has been reached says foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac. July saw an increase of 7% from June of this year and, even more telling, a 35% increase from last year.
Credit Slips has this wild idea about reforming the banking system by letting some fairy-tale character named “Bob” run around issuing loans to qualified people in his community. We normally love Credit Slips as a well-researched piece of scholarly work masquerading as a blog, like cauliflower disguised as Cheetos, but this “community banking” idea? Ridiculous, right?! Grab a juice box and hit the jump to see what happens when economists take a stab at children’s fiction.
Two Harvard doctoral students in economics compared how credit unions and banks operated their credit card divisions, and concluded that the recent CARD act “is likely to bring about moderate, and even positive, changes,” as banks begin to emulate parts of the fairer business model of credit unions. Specifically, they say, all the doom and gloom from the banking industry about how consumers will get shafted by the new rules is mostly fearmongering.
Kay and Lewis Brown wanted some quick cash so they could make a moderate addition to their home. They turned to CashCall, an online loan service, after seeing the ads on TV. The company lent them $5,000 — at 59% interest. Now the couple is on the hook for $20,830.
A House subcommittee wants to legalize payday loans with interest rates of up to 391%. Lobbyists from the payday industry bought Congress’ support by showering influential members, including Chairman Luiz Gutierrez, with campaign cash. The Congressman is now playing good cop, bad cop with the payday industry, which is pretending to oppose his generous gift of a bill.
Mortgage rates are at a record low of 4.78%, according to Freddie Mac. [Bloomberg]
It’s a tough economic climate to be graduating from school — and maybe an even tougher one for those of you trying to get financial aid. We’ve put together a list of some financial aid and student lending resources to help make things easier.
Last year’s Worst Company in America winner, Countrywide Home Loans, has sued AIG for not paying their claim on losses from failed real estate loans that they had insured with the company.
As you might imagine, mortgage fraud is up, up, up. 26%!
Here’s your daily depressing mortgage news — as employers shed jobs mortgage delinquencies are rising — intensifying and spreading the mortgage crisis.
Looking for a mortgage? You might want to consider an FHA loan. The New York Times says, “The Federal Housing Administration used to be known as a place for low-income borrowers with tarnished credit histories. But now, it has become a destination for borrowers whose credentials are respectable, but not stellar.” [NYT]
60 Minutes recently took a look at World Savings Bank, the acquisition that ultimately wounded Wachovia so badly that it had to be acquired by Wells Fargo. What was wrong with an institution for which Wachovia was willing to pay $25 billion? Well, one whistleblower claims that World Savings was engaged in fraud and predatory lending — tricking its customers into signing up for dangerous “option-arm” or (as they cheerfully called them) “pick-a-payment” loans.