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    Financial Choice Act slated for House floor vote during week of June 5, Consumer Finance Monitor

    On May 26, the House of Representatives Committee on Rules announced that House members have until June 2 to propose amendments to the Financial Choice Act bill.  The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb Hensarling, is expected to introduce an amendment to strike from the bill the provision which purports to repeal the Durbin Amendment.  The Durbin Amendment enacted in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, imposed limits on fees banks are allowed to charge retailers for debit card transactions.  It is anticipated that this amendment will pass.

    The House Financial Services Committee approved the Financial Choice Act bill on May 4.  We blogged on the topic here and here.  It is anticipated that the full House will vote to approve the bill during the week of June 5. Read More

    CFPB Has Released Monthly Complaint Report, ConsumerFinance.Gov

    The CFPB has issued its Complaint Report from May 2017, which highlights complaints from older consumers (age 62+).  General findings include:

    • The CFPB handled approximately 1,163,200 complaints nationwide by the 1st of April 2017. 9% of these complaints (approximately 103,100) came from older consumers.
    • The top 3 most-complained-about issues submitted by older consumers are (1) debt collection, (2) mortgages, and (3) credit reporting.

    See Full Report.

    Nevertheless It Persists: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Fights Trump, Congress, and Federal Courts in Effort to Remain Unaccountable to Anyone,

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's days as the federal government's most uniquely unaccountable regulatory agency might be numbered.

    The CFPB, a product of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation package passed in the wake of the 2009 financial collapse, has broad authority to regulate American financial institutions. Unlike other federal regulatory agencies, however, the CFPB does not have to answer to Congress or the president for its actions. It gets its funding directly from the Federal Reserve, and is run by a single director (an unusual arrangement since most regulatory agencies are run by a bipartisan group of three or five individuals) who serves a 10–year term and cannot be removed from office before that time.

    Just about every part of that description could be changing—and soon.

    Lawyers for the CFPB were in front of the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week, appealing a previous ruling that determined the bureau's single-director structure to be unconstitutional. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's budget proposal would restructure the CFPB's funding stream so Congress has to provide appropriations to fund the bureau. A separate piece of legislation that could come up for a vote in the House as soon as next week would similarly hold the CFPB's budget accountable to Congress and would make it easier for the president to remove the bureau's director. 

    That three-front battle to reform the CFPB is the culmination of six years of Republican opposition to the bureau's creation, spurred by progressive darling Elizabeth Warren in the days before she was a member of the Senate. The fight over the future of the CFPB is, in part, a partisan project to discredit one of the major progressive achievements of the Obama administration, but it's also an effort to hold a potentially powerful regulatory body accountable to the democratically elected branches of government. Read More

    FTC Staff Provides Annual Financial Acts Enforcement Report to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, SATPRNews

    The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has provided its 2016 Annual Financial Acts Enforcement Report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on enforcement and related activities regarding Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act), Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act), and Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfer Act).

    The report on TILA, CLA, and EFTA addresses, among other things, the FTC’s enforcement actions related to non-mortgage credit, including automobile purchases and financing, payday lending, and consumer electronics financing, mortgage-related credit such as forensic audit scams, leasing, and negative options and other cases involving electronic fund transfers.  It also provides information about the FTC’s efforts regarding consumer and business education, research, and policy development related to truth in lending, leasing, and electronic fund transfers.

    A copy of the report also has been provided to the Federal Reserve Board. Read More. 

    Consumer bureau chief defends agency amid GOP threat, The Hill

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray on Wednesday criticized Republican efforts to limit the agency’s scope and power.

    Cordray defended the CFPB’s history of enforcement actions against banks and financial services firms as the House prepares to vote next week on a bill to strip much of that power away.

    “It is abusive to take unreasonable advantage of people’s lack of understanding or inability to protect themselves,” Cordray said at an event in Arlington, Va., according to Bloomberg BNA.

    “We are speaking to every institution in that market by setting the expectations they must meet in their own compliance work to avoid similar violations, right away and without excuses.”

    Cordray’s comments come a week before the House is scheduled to vote on the CHOICE Act, a GOP rewrite of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Republican bill would drastically limit CFPB’s power, revoking its authority to punish “unfair, abusive and deceptive practices” — and it is expected to pass along party lines.

    Cordray and Democratic lawmakers say the agency has used that authority to protect vulnerable consumers from predatory financial services firms. CFPB’s defenders often point to the more than $11 billion in restitution for customers taken by the agency from allegedly abusive lenders and banks. Read More

    Kilgore Man Chared with Third Bank Robbery, This One in Downtown Longview,

    A Kilgore man charged with robbing banks in Kilgore and Liberty City has also been charged for allegedly robbing a downtown Longview bank in November 2016. 

    Hector Camargo, 48, is under federal indictment for three counts of bank robbery charges and two counts of using, carrying or possessing a firearm and ammunition during a violent crime. The indictment was handed down May 17, and court records show Camargo will be brought to a Tyler federal court to answer to the charges.

    Arrest records show Camargo was arrested April 21, on Cotton Street in Longview shortly after the First National Bank of Hughes Springs in Liberty City was robbed at gunpoint. Camargo was charged with driving while intoxicated and for having expired vehicle registration. 

    A Kilgore police detective said at the time that investigators working with the FBI noticed similarities between that robbery and one that happened the past December at Citizens National Bank in Kilgore.  

    At the time of his arrest, police seized $6,953 from Camargo, according to the indictment. The paperwork shows he is accused of carrying off $5,574 from the downtown Longview bank, $4,218 from the Kilgore bank, and $7,802 from the bank in Liberty City. Read More

    Syracuse man orchestrated $3.5 million fraud, Click Lancashire

    According to a criminal complaint, 44-year-old David Miller electronically stole the money from the city's bank account from July to October of last year.

    According to court documents, Miller somehow obtained the city's SunTrust bank account number and set up the ticket-selling account under the name of an IL man, identified as "R.W".

    A NY man is facing federal charges that he stole $3.5 million from a Florida city to buy sports tickets and resell them online.

    Court documents revealed that Miller obtained SunTrust's account number and formed a ticket-selling account under an alias of an IL man named "R.W". In one case he deposited a counterfeit check from Miami Beach into a family member's bank account, authorities said.

    According to a court complaint, per Atlanta's WSBTV, city officials got a hold of Federal Bureau of Investigation once they discovered "several million dollars in unauthorized ACH transfers". Read More

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