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Written by Katie Buitrago on November 5, 2009

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted this week to accelerate the implementation of the Credit CARD Act, which will provide protections from some abusive credit card practices.

Tags: credit cards
Written by Katie Buitrago on November 3, 2009

New foreclosure filings in the Chicago metro area have returned to first-quarter 2009 levels after a slowdown in the second quarter, says the latest Woodstock Institute analysis of regional foreclosure activity. This sharp increase likely reflects federal and state interventions that delayed new filings in the second quarter until the third quarter.

Tags: foreclosures
Written by Katie Buitrago on October 30, 2009

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) introduced bills in October targeted at curbing some of the abusive practices of overdraft protection programs. A recent Woodstock report cited the impact of overdraft programs on older persons and found that this product, and other high cost forms of credit, may increase economic insecurity later in life.

Written by Dory Rand and Tom Feltner on October 22, 2009

Over major opposition from the financial industry and nearly all Republican committee members, the House Financial Services Committee today passed HR 3126, which would create the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive financial products and practices.  Advocates are hopeful that the bill will be strengthened in the Senate where Woodstock and others are pushing for agency oversight of the Community Reinvestment Act, which has been severely weakened under the current regulatory structure.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 21, 2009

Woodstock Institute applauds Rep. Melissa Bean’s (D-IL) decision to withdraw her amendment to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) Act that would allow large national banks to override state consumer protection laws.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 20, 2009

The Department of the Treasury recently released its third report card on how mortgage lenders are doing modifying loans for eligible homeowners under the government’s Making Home Affordable program (see the first and second report card).

Written by Jen Hall de Kock, Americans for Financial Reform on October 20, 2009

As early as today the U.S. House Financial Services will vote on a bill aimed at reforming our nation’s troubled financial system by creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. This agency would do the same thing for financial products that the Food and Drug Administration does for medical safety and the Consumer Products Safety Commission does for products like toys and electronics: set common sense rules to keep institutions from peddling bad mortgages and loans that destroy families’ financial futures. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency could have headed this financial crisis off at the pass by preventing millions of mortgages with wildly adjustable rates and exploding payments from ever entering the market.

Written by Dory Rand on October 16, 2009

The Chicago Tribune recently reported on American Union Savings & Loan Association’s objection to receiving a poor rating under Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) from the FDIC, its regulator.   American Union’s claim—that “reckless lenders attract [mortgage] applications and get favorable CRA ratings [and] these applications turned into bad loans”—is one that has been widely discredited by banking regulators and researchers.

Tags: CRA
Written by Katie Buitrago on October 15, 2009

Today, the House Financial Services Committee deliberates over crucial provisions in the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) Act. One of these is an amendment, proposed by Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL), that would stop states from enforcing their own consumer protection laws if they’re stronger than federal laws, turning the CFPA into a ceiling, not a floor.

Written by Dory Rand and Tom Feltner on October 13, 2009

As the debate on financial services reform continues in Washington, a new report finds that key decision makers in Congress have received sizable donations from the very industry they are seeking to reform.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 12, 2009

President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Plan (HAMP) is slowly reaching troubled homeowners—almost 500,000 borrowers have been offered trial loan modifications as of September 30. But, according to a new report from the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) charged with evaluating foreclosure prevention, one in eight mortgages are currently in foreclosure or default and 250,000 foreclosures are initiated each month.

Written by Dory Rand on October 8, 2009

If we hadn’t been waiting for a decade to see regulators and banks take consumer protection seriously, then their recent moves might be welcomed more enthusiastically. Instead, we view the recent efforts by regulators and banks to embrace consumer protection as cynical attempts to undercut the growing movement for consumer protection and financial reform.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 5, 2009

Mortgage loan modifications, like those under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), that reduce monthly payments are more likely to be sustainable in the long term than earlier modifications, according to the latest Mortgage Metrics Report from the OCC and OTS.

Written by Tom Feltner and Katie Buitrago on October 1, 2009

As efforts to curb overdraft abuse gain traction in the Senate, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo last week announced a kinder, gentler bounced check loan – but are these changes enough to fend off sweeping reforms?  And will banks and regulators finally provide consumers with the full disclosure they need to make an informed decision? 

Written by Tom Feltner on September 24, 2009

In our fragmented regulatory system, agencies charged with overseeing banks lowered consumer protection standards in the interest of self-preservation, even as whole segments of the financial industry went unsupervised. 

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