Posts Tagged ‘consumer financial protection bureau’

Credit Card Companies Milking Consumers: The Number One Reason Why We Need Elizabeth Warren as Director of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

An article today in the Washington Post discussed how credit card companies are now charging customers with good credit, who manage their finances wisely by paying off their balances in full every month. Such customers are now finding that they’re having to pay an annual fee, where they didn’t before.

The reason for this is that credit card penalty fee income has been reduced by the new credit card regulations and the banks, not wanting to see sources of profit dry up, no matter how ill-gained those profits were, are now having to charge the only customers they have left: those with good credit who have traditionally never been a great source of profit. As Curtis Arnold, owner of CardRatings.com says “The only true deadbeat customer is someone who has a card and never uses it. Just having good credit alone in today’s market is not enough for that customer to be profitable."

The article goes on to say that this problem illustrates the “challenges” facing the credit card industry, as if the only choice credit card companies have in order to make money is to find new ways to screw people. Really? Why is interest income not enough? Why do they need fee income? They don’t…they’re just greedy, having been accustomed to years of being largely unregulated and able to do whatever they wanted without consequence.

Because the credit card industry and Wall Street in general is so corrupt and so greedy, we need a strong watchdog to lead the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren is the best qualified person for that job, and if the Obama Administration allows Timothy Geithner and his cronies to place another industry sycophant in that position, then you can be sure that the agency will do nothing more than rubber stamp whatever fee scheme the credit card companies come up with next.

If you don’t want to be charged exorbitant fees, then I suggest you write to President Obama and to your senators and tell them you want Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPB.

Wall Street Is Circling The Wagons Against Elizabeth Warren as Head of Consumer Bureau

The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was an idea conceived Harvard Professor and long time advocate for the middle class, Elizabeth Warren.  Since the agency was her idea, and she is obviously the most qualified person to lead it, then her confirmation as its head should be a shoo-in.

That would be true in the real world, but in the Washington Beltway, what is up is down and what is wrong inevitably turns out to be right as long as enough lobbyist money is spent to woo political officials along the way.

Wall Street was extremely opposed  to the consumer financial protection bureau and  through their lobbying efforts, managed to get it moved within the Fed instead of outside it. Beyond that, they haven’t managed to weaken it any further, but appointing a Wall Street insider would ensure that the agency would have no teeth and be practically useless.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner,  a Wall Street insider if there ever was one, is quite opposed to Warren, who has dressed him down a time or two as he appeared before the Congressional Oversight Committee that she chairs. Where no one else would ask the tough questions, Elizabeth Warren did, and when the answers given were less than candid or complete, she poured on the heat.

 

 

 

Now we hear that Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee does not believe that there are sixty votes in the Senate to confirm Warren as director of the CFPB.  From the article:

I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," Dodd told NPR’s Diane Rehm on Monday. "The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about it.

Senator Dodd has taken a great deal of donations from the banking industry and while fighting for financial reform, he has also worked to weaken it at the behests of his donors. His remarks today are even more of an indication that Wall Street will fight tooth and nail to prevent Warren from heading the agency that was her brainchild.

Financial Reform Passes: What Does It Mean For The Average Consumer?

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So the Senate voted today to pass financial reform, a bill aimed chiefly at reining in Wall Street from doing the kinds of things that lead to the financial collapse of 2008. There has been a lot of talk about derivatives  and credit default swaps, and while these are important parts of the reform bill, which ultimately affect each and every one of us, there are other aspects of this bill that will more directly affect average Americans.

The largest of these is the creation of a new consumer watchdog agency known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This agency will be located within the Federal Reserve but will be completely independent from it. It will have an independent director and will have the authority to make and enforce rules against unfair and deceptive consumer credit practices. This agency will regulate the practices any business that engages in consumer lending, from credit card companies and mortgage lenders to payday loan companies. The one group exempted from CFPB authority are auto dealers.

Basically, what the CFPB will do is make sure that when you sign a credit card agreement, you know exactly what you’re getting into. Even more importantly, it will ensure that if you borrow money, you can do it safely and with the knowledge that you can pay it back without going broke. Hopefully, the CFPB will put an end to the usurious practices of payday lenders, for example.

Finally, the reform bill contains new regulations with respect to mortgage lending.  Lenders will no longer be allowed to pay brokers additional fees for steering borrowers into riskier and more expensive loans if they qualify for cheaper safer ones. It also forces lenders to adopt stricter underwriting standards to ensure that no one receives a loan they can’t afford to repay and it reduces abusive repayment terms like huge prepayment penalties and other “junk” fees.

While the reform bill isn’t as strong as many would like, it does have some good aspects that will help consumers better manage their debt. I hope that Elizabeth Warren is appointed to be the director of the CFPB. 

I’m curious….what do YOU think about the financial reform bill?

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