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Save the date, Long Beach!

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Join us for a joint FTC/CFPB roundtable entitled, “Debt Collection and the Latino Community,” which will examine how debt collection and credit reporting issues affect Latino consumers, especially those who have limited English proficiency (LEP). The event will take place on October 23, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:

Grand Ballroom at the University Student Union
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840

The roundtable will bring together consumer advocates, industry representatives, state and federal regulators, and academics to exchange information on a range of issues.

This event is open to the public, but registration is encouraged. To register, send an email with your name and affiliation.

A livestream of the event will also be available here on our blog.

If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

See you there!

We can help you fight improper actions by debt collectors: Venida’s story

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Consumers often come to us with complaints about problems with debt collection and related credit reporting issues. We forward their complaints to the companies and work to get a response from them. In Venida’s case, within weeks of submitting her complaints, she was able to get the inaccurate information on her credit reports removed.

“Now that I have received the help from [the] CFPB”, she said, “I feel as if I can go along with my life enjoying my grandchildren and my children…and not worry about… whether I’m going to be sued.” She continued, “It’s so important because older people my age get taken advantage of. These collections agencies have them thinking that they owe this, they owe that. They don’t know that there’s a resource out there that can help them like the CFPB.”

We’re glad Venida got the help she needed, and we want to make sure that you know that we’re here for you too. To share your experience or learn more from others, visit us at consumerfinance.gov/yourstory.

Disputing debt you never owed: William’s story

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Being on the hook for a debt you don’t owe is not only stressful, but can be scary. If you don’t know where to turn, you might feel hopeless. We heard from William, who was receiving calls for a debt he didn’t owe. William tried to resolve the issue for over four years, seeing his credit get ruined in the process. He said “None of them could do anything… except tell me I had to pay them the $8,500.”

Stories like William’s are important because it’s often hard to know where to turn and who to trust for help. Because William submitted a complaint, he was able to end a four year long credit dispute in one week.

“Just to have the situation resolved…that just felt good.” William said. “In a situation for me that was seemingly endless and hopeless, the CFPB helped me to find resolution. It’s a new day.”

We’re glad William got the help he needed, and we want to make sure that you know that we’re here for you too. To share your experience or learn more from others, visit us at consumerfinance.gov/yourstory.

Spring 2014 rulemaking agenda

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Today, we’re posting a semi-annual update of our rulemaking agenda in conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions across the federal government. Portions of the Unified Agenda are published in the Federal Register, and the full set of materials is also available.

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to publish regulatory agendas twice a year. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now by voluntarily participating in the Unified Agenda. Our regulatory agenda includes rulemaking actions in the following stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long term actions, and completed actions.

Mortgages

Our agenda includes a number of rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. For example, we recently convened a small business review (SBREFA) panel to discuss potential amendments to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, some of which were mandated by Section 1094 of the Dodd-Frank Act. We’re also focusing intensely on supporting the implementation process for our recent rulemaking to implement a Dodd-Frank Act directive to consolidate and streamline federal mortgage disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. We’re also continuing work with stakeholders to address questions that have arisen with regard to the 2013 mortgage rules, including issuing additional clarifications and amendments as warranted.

Defining larger participants

We’re also continuing rulemakings to implement our supervisory program for certain nonbank entities by defining “larger participants” in various markets for consumer financial products and services. For example, we’re developing a proposal to identify “larger participants” in the market for auto lending. We’ve previously defined larger participants in the consumer debt collection, credit reporting, and student loan servicing markets and are now in the process of finalizing a rule defining larger participants in the international money transfer market.

Debt collection

We’ve been doing research and outreach to assess issues in various other markets for consumer financial products and services over many months. In November 2013, we issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment, data, and information from the public about debt collection, which is the single biggest source of complaints to the federal government. We received more than 23,000 comments in response to the notice, and in our 2014 annual report on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, reported that we received more than 30,000 consumer complaints in this area.

Payday loans and prepaid cards

We’re researching and considering whether rulemaking is warranted in the areas of payday and deposit advance products, as well as consumer overdraft products. We held a field hearing in March 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, and also released a report that analyzed payday lending and found that four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed within 14 days. We’re also expecting to build on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we published in 2012 concerning prepaid cards by issuing a proposed rule to strengthen federal consumer protections for these products. We’ve been testing potential disclosures that we may propose to be used on the packaging of prepaid cards.

Privacy disclosures

We’re returning to a topic that had been raised as part of an earlier initiative to seek comment on ways to streamline and modernize regulations that we had inherited from other agencies. Specifically, we are expecting to issue a proposal regarding the notices that consumers receive each year from their financial institutions to explain the companies’ information sharing practices. A number of commenters had suggested that eliminating the annual privacy notices where there has been no change in policies would reduce unwanted paperwork for consumers and unnecessary regulatory burdens, at least where a financial institution limits the sharing of information with third parties.

We’re continuing research, analysis, and outreach on a number of other consumer financial services markets, and will update our next semi-annual agenda to reflect the results of further prioritization and planning.