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Posts from October 2011

Know Before You Owe: Let’s tackle student loans


We started Know Before You Owe several months ago to make mortgage disclosure forms easy to understand and easy to compare. The idea was and is that people should see the basic facts about the loan they’re applying for right up front.

But this idea holds true in areas far beyond mortgages. That’s why today, we are beginning a project with the Department of Education to apply this same idea to student loans. Right up front, before they commit, students should see the basic facts about what they’re going to pay for school. (more…)

Know your student loan repayment options


Between the increasing cost of higher education and the impact of the financial crisis, students are more reliant than ever on loans to pay for school.

With November around the corner, student loans are about to become an even bigger worry for some new graduates. Most federal student loans and many private student loans offer borrowers a six month grace period after leaving school before they must begin repaying. Since college students often graduate in May or June, many borrowers are nearing the end of that six month grace period now.

These borrowers may be asking themselves some important questions. (more…)

Live from Minneapolis!


Today’s live events have now ended. You can read Raj’s full remarks from the University of Minnesota.

Be sure to check out the new Know Before You Owe – student loans initiative. We’re helping the Department of Education to develop a new model financial aid offer. Tell us what you think of the project.

You can watch an archived version of this morning’s speech below:

The content on this page changed throughout the day to reflect the current or upcoming video.

From day one


Greetings. I’m Skip Humphrey, and I’m excited to begin work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as the head of the Office of Older Americans.

I grew up in a household where it wasn’t enough to just have a point of view. My parents taught me that if I had a problem, I needed to do something about it. Here at the Office of Older Americans, we’ll be embracing this do-something attitude from day one. (more…)

Know Before You Owe: What’s next


Four times since May, we have asked you to take a few minutes to help us create a simpler mortgage disclosure form. Each time, you told us what you liked and disliked, and what you thought was effective at communicating important loan information.

From what to include (like total payments, a signature line and certain closing information) to design details (like black tabs and grey shading), your feedback has been invaluable. You have sent us more than 24,000 comments that have given us a clearer understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and what else you’d like to see. Thank you for helping us make Know Before You Owe such a success.

Last month, we changed what we asked you to do. Instead of comparing two different designs, we asked you to compare two different loans using the same design. We wanted to see if the design enabled you to tell us which product you would choose for yourself or recommend to a customer. Your comments showed us that the design is helping you find the information you want to make your choices, and that is encouraging.

This week, we’re testing a revised design with consumers and industry in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re giving you a break for this round, but we want you to see what you’ve helped us achieve, so take a look at the newest prototype. We’re comparing a fixed-rate and an adjustable-rate loan, so you can see how this prototype would work for both. We are happy to keep our conversation going, so if you’d like, respond to this post in comments or send us an email with your thoughts.

So far, we’ve been testing a disclosure that combines the Truth in Lending form and Good Faith Estimate that you get after you apply for a mortgage loan. But what about at the other end of the transaction? When you close your mortgage, you get a new form that discloses the final terms and costs. Well, we’d like that disclosure to be just as clear and effective as the application disclosure will be, thanks to you. So, stay tuned because soon we will be sharing a prototype closing disclosure and asking for your feedback.

And, stay with us throughout this process, because this isn’t the last you’ll see of the application disclosure. It needs to work together with the closing disclosure, so we’ll be asking for your feedback on both in the future. We created Know Before You Owe in May so the people who will use these forms could help us make them better. Please continue to help us as we move into this next effort.

Make sure you know about the next opportunity to weigh in. Sign up to receive notifications about Know Before You Owe. And again (we can’t say it enough): thank you.