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.
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.
Privatizing tax collection wastes taxpayer money, and that's not the only problem
Coalition advocates oppose language in the EXPIRE Act of 2014 that requires the use of private collection companies to collect taxes on a commission basis. The use of private debt collectors harms taxpayers by exposing them to potential abuses that are unfortunately common within the student loan industry. It will also disproportionately impact low-income taxpayers. Paying private collectors is a waste of taxpayer dollars, lining the pockets of private companies at the expense of the U.S. Treasury.
Strengthening mortgage reform protections
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in supporting Sen. Brown's amendment to the Housing Finance bill (Johnson-Crapo) that would require servicers to disclose any new fees, the loan's default status and whether a loan modification application has been submitted prior to transferring servicing duties to a new mortgage servicer.
SECURE Act helps consumers clear up credit reporting errors
Data that determines consumers' credit worthiness, and the agencies that handle this data, should be obligated to ensure consumers' information is accurate and their inquiries and disputes are being answered. Consumer Action and advocates urge Senate to support the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act, which pushes for more credit reporting transparency and accountability industry-wide.
Proposed Freddie and Fannie reform needs work
Significant changes are needed to improve and strengthen the proposed Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform legislation before it could provide the access to affordable credit guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If this bill became law in its current form, it would be a giant step backward for the working class, people of color, Millennials, and other traditionally under-served communities.
Debt collection abuse could get worse if lawyers are let off the hook
Lawyers and law firms have been at the forefront of some of the worst debt collection abuses in this nation. Rather than limiting protections, we need to increase them for consumers. The proposed Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) of 2013 (HR 2892) would effectively permit lawyers and law firms engaging in debt collection to evade essential requirements of the FDCPA which prohibit deceitful and unfair practices and prevent consumer harassment. Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging Congress to oppose HR 2892.
Wall Street is about to crash the housing market -- again
In a letter to housing regulators, Consumer Action joins advocates demand "immediate federal intervention" to rebalance the housing market in favor of qualified borrowers who currently can't get affordable mortgage loans. All-cash buyers keep the lending high, making it seemly impossible for first-time homebuyers to enter the market.
Limiting the CFPB's power helps Wall Street, hurts consumers
The deceptively named bill, Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act (H.R. 3193), would replace the position of Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with a five-member commission, would change the voting standard for the Financial Stability Oversight Council from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority vote, and would make the agency subject to the congressional appropriations process rather than the current funding system through the Federal Reserve.
Homeowners could face extra tax burden in 2014
The foreclosure crisis is far from over for many homeowners. The expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act means those who were forced to short sell their homes will be subject to higher tax rates by the IRS.
Stronger gainful employment rule is needed to protect taxpayers
Stronger reform is needed to protect students and taxpayers from for-profit schools that receive federal funding, but do not meet educational requirements, graduate their students, or provide the skills needed for graduates to find post-graduation employment. Consumer Action and 50 other consumer advocates drafted a letter to the President addressing several flaws in the current gainful employment legislation, proposed by the Department of Education, that aims to protect Americans from for-profit college shortcomings.
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