Coalition EffortsConsumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see "More Information" at the end of each article.
Mortgage Choice Act of 2014 protects lenders - leaves homebuyers out in the cold
The Mortgage Choice Act of 2014 (H.R. 3211) contains certain provisions that would both increase fees for homebuyers and provide additional legal protections for lenders who make riskier loans. The passage of this bill may deter consumers seeking to purchase a home or refinance their current mortgage. As the housing market continues to recover, Consumer Action joins consumer advocates in urging Congress to oppose H.R. 3211 in order to protect basic, existing, consumer safeguards.
CFPB's complaint database - more can be done to help student loan borrowers
Consumer Action joined student loan advocates in supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)'s public consumer complaint database. While the database provides consumers with empowering details regarding financial institutions, more can be done to improve and expand the database so it better captures student loan complaints. With student loan servicing complaints rising, student borrowers have a lot to gain by sharing public details of issues they've encountered. These improvements will help students and their families successfully manage and repay their student loans and strengthen the CFPB’s and other regulators’ ability to monitor the student loan industry and enforce the law.
Details of consumers' complaints regarding the financial industry should be public
Consumer advocates wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in favor of publishing consumers' complaint narratives regarding the banking, credit and loan industries. Public complaint details empower consumers to make better financial decisions, prevents problems and improves the functioning, transparency, and efficiency of markets. However, leaders from the financial industry do not agree and fear their reputations will be hurt if complaint details are made publicly available.
The Dept. of Labor has the chance to protect Americans hoping to retire one day
Millions of hardworking Americans who have spent years saving for retirement are receiving financial guidance from professional advisers who are not obligated to act in the best interest of their clients, (called a fiduciary duty), resulting in a huge drain on retirement savings for many workers and retirees. Those advisers are often permitted to recommend investments that come with high fees, poor returns, and even substantial risks because they have no fiduciary duty to their clients. This behavior will continue unless the U.S. Department of Labor completes its work updating the 40-year old fiduciary duty rule that regulates those who advise retirement plans and plan participants.
Mobile banking: Convenient, but is it safe?
In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's request for information on mobile banking services, Consumer Action and other privacy advocates highlighted issues of concern that should be addressed in light of these emerging financial services. Federal regulators can help both consumers and the mobile banking industry by establishing strong minimum standards that protect consumers' finances and privacy. The industry should welcome thoughtful regulation to help bring consumer protections into the modern world to protect emerging payment systems.
Ban remotely created checks and check hold times for prepaid cards
In light of the once-in-a-decade review of all insured-banking related regulations, (the 1996 Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act), consumer advocates submitted a letter to the Federal Reserve Board asking the Board to closely monitor the payment processing procedures and compliance safeguards currently in place. Advocates also reminded regulators that consumer protection should be their first priority during the review, citing banking regulations that did not protect consumers as the main cause of the global economic crisis of 2008.
Does CarMax sell dangerous cars to consumers?
Consumer Action joined 10 organizations in asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate auto retail giant, CarMax over claims that its advertisements are deceptive because CarMax does not fix used vehicles under recall before it sells them. CarMax, the nation’s largest used-car retailer, runs ads promising that the vehicles it sells have undergone rigorous quality inspections.
"Choking" banks that don't respond to the threat of consumer fraud
The Department of Justice (DoJ) responds to the proliferation of financial fraud by cutting off access to banks and payment processing companies that enable wrongdoers to debit victims' bank accounts and move money around. Its Operation Choke Point helps eliminate unlawful activity like senior fraud, payday loan fraud, bogus debt relief services and other mass-marketing fraud schemes that cause tens of billions of dollars of losses each year from millions of individuals and businesses. Consumer Action joins coalition advocates in urging the Senate to support the DoJ's Operation Choke Point and other efforts that protect consumers and taxpayers from fraud.
Advocates ask for auto insurance affordability study
Consumer Action joined over 30 organizations from around the country in urging the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to collect data from insurance companies in order to assess the affordability of auto insurance for low- and moderate-income Americans and those living in historically underserved communities. Advocates want to know what discounts, if any, are extended these customers and who qualifies for the programs.
In support of the CFPB: standing up in favor of more transparent banking
In response to the 11 proposals and bills that were designed to harass and undermine the authority of the Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB), coalition advocates urged Congress to stop obstructing reasonable regulation that serves to protect consumers and the financial industry from another financial crisis. While the bills before the committee are an attempt to portray the CFPB as a too-powerful agency that threatens consumer freedom and privacy, it is clear that the CFPB is getting results for consumers and making markets work better.