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CFPB Criticizes Student-Loan Lenders for 'Auto Defaults'The Wall Street Journal (04/22/14) Zibel, Alan, Stech, Katy, and Andriotis, Annamaria
In a report issued on April 22, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) criticized student lenders that demand full repayment of a loan after a co-signer dies or files for bankruptcy protection, a phenomenon the bureau is dubbing “auto defaults.” The student loan ombudsman at the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, declined to say if the bureau would be pursuing cases against lenders that operate in such a way, but industry analysts note that such a feature is common practice in many types of loans.
In the 2012-2013 academic year, 91 percent of student loans were given to students with co-signers, up from nearly 78 percent in 2008-2009. Student lenders noted that since the loans are unsecured, clauses like these are one of the only ways they can ensure that the debt is repaid. Industry analysts observed that recent graduates are much less likely to obtain a co-signer release from a student loan company than an individual who graduated several years previously.
CFPB Launches Pilot Program for Electronic Mortgage ClosingsAmerican Banker (04/23/14)
Citing complexity and little time for review, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) introduced a new pilot program dubbed eClosings that would give consumers the ability to electronically review and sign mortgage closing documents. The agency stated that they have received a high volume of complaints from consumers that the closing documents are far too complex and that they do not have adequate time to review them before having to sign. "These new homeowners leave the closing table with a whole new level of anxiety, as they find themselves wondering what was buried in the stack of paper that may create some nasty surprises in the years ahead," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray during a field hearing in Washington.
The goal, according to Cordray, is to investigate whether electronic closing documents reduce errors and give consumers peace of mind. However, some industry analysts noted that the eClosings system could be a hotbed for fraud, particularly against consumers who may not understand all the inner workings of mortgages.
The program is part of the bureau’s “Know Before You Owe” plan and will be launched in the next several months, starting with several companies that already offer electronic closings.
Housing Market's Foiled SpringThe Wall Street Journal (04/23/14) Lahart, Justin
The slumping figures in home sales are taking their toll on the industry, but the situation may not be nearly as bad as it seems, according to many industry analysts. A new Commerce Department report found that new home sales hit an annual rate of 384,000 in March, down nearly 15 percent from the previous year. In addition, home sales in the south and west, where weather was not a factor, also suffered. Several other factors are affecting the stagnating market: homes are becoming more expensive, loans remain relatively difficult to obtain, and weak growth in income does not provide extra cash for individuals to purchase a home.
Still, analysts note that housing data, particularly for the first quarter, tends to be extremely volatile. Also, the high home prices primarily affect the south and west, meaning the northeast and midwest could see a drastic uptick in sales as the weather warms.
Moody’s Caution Grows in SubprimeSubprime Auto Finance News (04/23/14)
According to a new report from Moody’s, subprime auto lenders may be letting off the throttle a bit, but are still steadily lending to consumers with less than perfect credit. The data for the report was collected by Experian.
Moody’s president and senior analyst Peter McNally explained that one of the key factors demonstrating lenders’ caution is the increase in credit scores for used vehicle loans in the last quarter of 2013. Slow growth in the market segment by banks, credit unions and captives also points to a pullback. Rising interest rates signaled that lenders are becoming more cautious before agreeing to finance a vehicle. “Declining competition from non-traditional subprime lenders puts less pressure on independent finance companies to lend to weaker borrowers to maintain their lending volumes” McNally said.
Delinquencies are beginning to rise slightly, causing lenders to be more cautious. However, the Moody’s report and the Experian data behind it show that originations and new loan volumes likely will remain high at least through 2015 as conditions remain favorable for consumers to borrow and lenders to lend.
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Vermont Targets TV Stations, Search Engines in Online Lending CrackdownAmerican Banker (04/23/14) Wack, Kevin
Vermont has some of the toughest laws in the nation with respect to payday lending. Now, the state is unveiling a novel approach to cracking down on online lenders that may be offering their products in Vermont. On April 22, the Vt. attorney general’s office sent warnings to television stations and internet search engine providers that knowingly assisting unlicensed lenders by allowing them to advertise is against the law. The letters specifically asked both television and internet-search engine companies to stop running ads for lenders not licensed to operate in Vermont. The AG's also published a 17-page report in which it estimated that 5,000-8,000 residents have obtained Internet loans.
The attorney general’s office also filed suit against a company that processed payments for unlicensed lenders and announced a settlement with another. Several other states have taken similar steps to stop internet payday lending and also are considering legislation that is similar to the Vermont law.
Vermont also is seeking assistance from the state’s banks and credit unions. In an April 22 letter, the attorney general’s office asked financial institutions whose customers use payday loan products to be especially vigilant for illegal or predatory loans.
Wells Fargo Hires Two CFPB Experts on Mortgage RulesAmerican Banker (04/17/14) Witkowski, Rachel
Wells Fargo has hired two former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau staffers who played critical roles in writing new mortgage rules. Peter Carroll served as the bureau assistant director of mortgage markets and will became senior vice president of capital markets at Wells Fargo Home Mortgages. Lisa Applegate was the bureau’s mortgage implementation lead and will join Wells’ home lending capital markets group as the strategic quality manager. The hirings are part of Wells Fargo’s continuing efforts to offer effective guidance on policy matters.
The CFPB has named Abhishek Agarwal as the acting replacement for Carroll while it searches for a permanent successor. Applegate’s position may not be filled.
April 24, 2014
AFSA Newsbriefs is a weekly executive summary of AFSA initiatives and consumer credit articles. AFSA Newsbriefs is free for members. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
The American Financial Services Association, or AFSA, is the national trade association for the consumer credit industry, protecting access to credit and consumer choice. The association encourages and maintains ethical business practices and supports financial education for consumers of all ages.