All Eyes are on California

Last year, California enacted the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CCPA), the most sweeping state privacy legislation in the country. Even though the law doesn’t go into effect until 2020, there are several bills in the California legislature this year that would either strengthen or weaken it. Why does that matter to those of us outside … Continued

CFAnews Update – April 3, 2019

Without Fixes SEC Advice Standard Will Harm Investors, CFA Warns Unless the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) adopts extensive changes to its proposed “best interest” standard for broker-dealers, Regulation Best Interest will end up depriving investors of protections they currently receive and misleading them into expecting protections the rule does not deliver, CFA Director of Investor … Continued

White House Wades into Mortgage Finance Debate

President Trump issued a memorandum on March 27 directing the Treasury, HUD, VA and USDA to develop a comprehensive plan for reform of the mortgage finance system, including both administrative and legislative actions as necessary.  The memorandum specifically tasks Treasury with developing a plan to end the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “upon … Continued

Fannie, Freddie Should Use Updated Credit Scoring, CFA and other Consumer and Civil Rights Groups Urge FHFA

CFA joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and Woodstock Institute in urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to support more rapid Adoption Of Alternative Credit Scoring Approaches For Mortgage Lending to make the mortgage lending process accessible to the broadest possible number of consumers. The … Continued

CFAnews Update – March 20, 2019

CFA Joins in Lawsuit Against Fuel Economy Standards Roll-Back In response to the Trump Administration’s effort to roll back reasonable fuel economy standards, CFA filed an amicus brief with the D.C. Circuit last month in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s  (EPA) action to withdraw the Final Determination on the mid-term review of the … Continued

Consumers are in the Dark About Dark Web Monitoring Services

A new survey we commissioned revealed that 36 percent of consumers who have seen ads for “dark web monitoring” incorrectly believe that identity theft services can remove their personal information from the dark web. An equal number (37%) mistakenly believe that these services can prevent people who buy their personal information on the dark web … Continued

CFAnews Update – March 1, 2019

CFPB Moves to Protect Predatory Payday Lenders With new leadership in place, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) moved quickly last month to repeal payday loan rules that are designed to protect consumers from triple-digit interest loan traps. “While not perfect, the CFPB’s final payday lending rule was a giant step toward helping struggling families … Continued

Can America Keep Up with Changing Housing Needs?

CFA’s 2018 Financial Services Conference featured a Nov 30 plenary panel discussion titled “Can America Keep Up with Rising Housing Needs?”  Our guest blogger Alanna McCargo, Vice President of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center, moderated the panel and prepared this summary.  Copies of the panel presenters’ slides can be found here.  One of the … Continued

False Trade-Offs for Privacy

The article originally appeared in The Hill. A recent survey from the Center for Data Innovation, a DC think tank, purportedly shows that Americans’ strong support for reducing the amount of personal information that is collected about them online drops significantly when they’re asked to consider certain trade-offs. We’ve seen these claims before, and it’s … Continued

CFAnews Update – January 17, 2019

Rollback of Fuel Economy Standards Will Ravage Low-Income Consumer Budgets As the Trump Administration continues to consider a rollback of federal fuel economy standards, CFA released an analysis last month showing that a rollback would hurt low-income consumers the most, forcing them to pay more for gas and leaving less for family and household essentials. … Continued

Free Credit Monitoring for Active Duty Military Members

Under a law that Congress passed last year, members of the military who are on active duty have the right to ask credit reporting agencies for free electronic credit monitoring services. A popular feature of many fee-based identity theft services, credit monitoring alerts people when there are changes to their credit reports such as new … Continued

Fintech Innovation: Dreams Come True, or New Nightmares, for Financial Consumers?

Could fintech innovation be the best thing that ever happened for financial consumers? Or will it make their lives worse? Or maybe… some of both? These were the questions we dug into at CFA’s Financial Services Conference in Washington on November 30. I was delighted to moderate a panel with Lauren Saunders, Associate Director of … Continued

Retailers Step Up Game Against Scammers

This past holiday season, millions of consumers bought gift cards for friends and family. They’re the perfect presents – no need to worry about whether they’ll fit or if they’re the right thing because, just as with cash, the recipients can use them to buy exactly what they want. But just as with cash, once … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 19, 2018

OCC Appears Poised to Weaken CRA Compliance Test Changes to Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations suggested by a recent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) could reduce effective community investment by regulated lenders, CFA wrote in a comment letter last month. CFA is among a number … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 10, 2018

CFPB Allows Predatory Lenders to Target the Nation’s Military Personnel The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, announced last month that it plans to end supervisory examinations for violations of the Military Lending Act (MLA), which is designed to protect military service members and their families from predatory lending. The CFPB … Continued

Tracking Every Step You Take

This week seven European consumer organizations filed complaints with their national Data Protection Authorities against Google, asking them to investigate whether the company’s Android smartphones are tracking users’ locations in violation of the new privacy law that took effect in Europe last May. Based on a research report, Every Step You Take, by the Norwegian … Continued

OCC Must Take a Multi-Faceted Approach to Community Reinvestment Act Enforcement

The Community Reinvestment Act has served since 1977 as a critical part of a broad national policy to promote the participation of private capital in serving America’s communities and consumers.  The Act was prompted in large part by widespread evidence of private lender discrimination in lending patterns.  Following the first Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 31, 2018

ZIP Code-Based Auto Insurance Rates Hurt Minority and Lower Income Consumers Many good drivers are paying far too much for auto insurance simply because of their home ZIP code, according to a new CFA report, which found significant premium differences among neighbors living within 100 yards of each other in adjacent ZIP codes, sometimes as … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 16, 2018

Public Interest Groups Urge Opposition to the “GRATER Act” Public interest groups are calling on the House Oversight and Financial Services Committees to oppose H.R. 5381, the “GRATER Act,” which would require federal agencies to transfer all credit and guarantee risk assumed by the government to the private sector, to the maximum extent possible. In … Continued

New Twists and Five Lessons from the CFA Consumer Complaint Survey

Every year when we survey state and local consumer agencies about the complaints they receive, some things come up time after time, but there are always new twists. For instance, auto sales and service usually top the list of most common complaints, but this year’s complaint survey was the first time that I had heard … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 24, 2018

SEC’s Proposed Disclosure Form Confuses, Misleads Investors Investors are confused – and may even be misled – by disclosures proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help investors choose an investment professional, according to independent testing conducted by Kleimann Communications Group on behalf of AARP, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and the Financial … Continued

Free Trials That Aren’t Free

You’ve seen them advertised online and on television: enticing offers for a “free trial” on new or unusual products such as skin creams, herbal supplements, computer software, and exercise programs. But these offers often have hidden terms that kick in once your free trial is up and cost much more than you imagined. Remember: if … Continued

Take Advantage of Your New Right to Freeze Your Credit Files for Free

If you’re concerned about identity theft (and these days, who isn’t?), there is good news. As of September 21, 2018, you have the right to ask the consumer reporting agencies that operate on a nationwide basis to freeze your credit files and lift the freeze, whenever you want, at no charge. “Security freezes” make it … Continued