Tell the Senate Banking Committee you support real reform

Let's make sure that the voices of the financial industry are not the only ones heard by Washington. Please call Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Banking Committee Member Evan Bayh (D-IN) during the Americans for Financial Reform National Senate Call-In Week of March 1-March 4 and tell them to support financial reform that holds Wall Street accountable, including the creation of a strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

OCC releases new RAL policy, but enforcement must be effective to protect consumers

Written by Dory Rand on February 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Although these OCC actions come too late to protect millions of consumers who have already been harmed by deceptive marketing and high-cost RALs this tax season, Woodstock Institute welcomes the OCC efforts as a step in the right direction. The new OCC Policy will be effective only if it is rigorously enforced, however. The new Policy’s disclosure requirements and prohibition of deceptive marketing practices are only slightly stronger than an OCC policy that has been on the books since 2007 but never widely publicized or enforced.

AG Madigan Takes On Abusive Debt Settlement Companies

Their story is not uncommon. In fact, the Illinois Attorney General’s office has seen a sharp rise in complaints against debt settlement companies, culminating in a lawsuit filed earlier this month alleging four companies of abusive and deceptive practices. “These companies are unfairly luring financially strapped consumers with misleading claims that they can effectively eliminate consumers’ debt,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan says.

Credit to the community: proposals offer new funding source for CDFIs, expand SBA express program

Community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, play a key role in providing financing to small businesses, particularly those in traditionally underserved communities that have been hit hardest by the crisis.

Tax preparers operate with little oversight as refund loan protections go unenforced

Written by Tom Feltner on February 8, 2010 - 12:00am

At issue is a 2007 federal guidance, which requires banks making refund anticipation loans, or RALs, through paid tax preparers to review both the advertising and the professional qualifications of paid tax preparers arranging the loans.  Advertising violations and incorrectly prepared tax returns suggest that the guidance has not been adequately implemented.

From the President: RAL Borrowers Need More Protection

Written by Dory Rand on January 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Failure to disclose interest rates, adequately supervise third party loan arrangers acting as agents of national banks, and maintain sufficient capital-these are the same criticisms my organization and others lobbed at the mortgage industry long before its collapse. These criticisms apply just as well to the tax refund loan industry. Rather than wait, we ask federal banking regulators to take additional steps to protect consumers now — before another $114 million in potential assets are lost this tax season.

Energy-efficient mobile home proposal would create jobs

Written by Tom Feltner on January 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Illinois has currently has about 150,000 units of manufactured homes, representing about 3 percent of the state’s housing stock.  Of those, over half were built prior to 1980.  More than 2 million Americans, often elderly and people with disabilities, live in homes built prior to the national code for manufactured housing established in 1976. They have the highest energy burden and least resources to replace their homes.

From the President: Urgent Need to Complete Financial Reforms

Written by Dory Rand on January 14, 2010 - 2:00am
With the stock market up and bonuses flowing again, things are looking better for some Wall Street firms and employees. Wall Street interests are continuing to pour millions of dollars into blocking financial reform efforts. Some may be lulled into thinking that reforms are unnecessary.

Federal Reserve Chair Stresses Need for Better Regulation

Woodstock Institute agrees that better regulation could have helped avoid the irresponsible underwriting and proliferation of abusive and predatory lending practices that spurred the housing bubble. The Federal Reserve failed to use its authority to regulate these markets early enough to prevent a crisis.

From the President: House Passage of Consumer Financial Protection Agency Bill a Momentous Step Forward for Consumers

Written by Dory Rand on December 16, 2009 - 2:00am
The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) could address problems that plague our financial system today, such as deceptive-by-design loans, misleading advertising, and contracts with terms buried in fine print. The CFPA would not only make financial products safer and improve the economic lives of consumers, but also lay the groundwork for a healthier, more transparent financial system and help prevent future financial crises.


Subscribe to policy