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    This Week... So Far: CFPB issues 2017 TILA-RESPA Rule

    This Week... So Far: CFPB issues 2017 TILA-RESPA Rule

    CFPB issues 2017 TILA-RESPA final rule and Executive Summary, ConsumerFinance.Gov

    The Bureau has issued a final rule (2017 TILA-RESPA Rule) amending and clarifying certain mortgage disclosure provisions implemented in Regulation Z. To support implementation of the 2017 TILA-RESPA Rule, the Bureau has issued an Executive Summary.

    We have also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding when a creditor may use a Closing Disclosure, instead of a Loan Estimate, to determine if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith and within tolerance. The 2017 TILA-RESPA Rule does not make changes or clarifications related to this issue. Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

    You can access the 2017 TILA-RESPA Final Rule on the Bureau’s website.

    You can access the proposal on the Bureau’s website.

    You can access the Executive Summary here.

    FDIC Seeks Comment on Manual for Processing Deposit Insurance Applications, FDIC.Gov

    FDIC is seeking public comment on a procedures manual developed to assist FDICstaff as they evaluate and process deposit insurance applications.

    Statement of Applicability to Institutions with Less Than $1 Billion in Total Assets: This Financial Institution Letter applies to all proposed insured depository institutions.


    • The manual provides comprehensive guidance to staff regarding the deposit insurance application process.
    • Topics addressed include pre filing activities, application review and acceptance, application processing, pre opening activities, and post opening considerations, among other important items.
    • Public issuance of the manual will provide transparency and benefit applicants and other interested parties by further clarifying the path to establishing a de novo institution.
    • The content of the manual complements other resources available from the FDIC, and its release extends the FDIC's efforts to work with any group interested in organizing a de novo institution.
    • The manual does not supersede any existing statutes, rules, or regulations applicable to the application process or newly formed institutions.
    • The FDIC is seeking comment on the extent to which the manual contributes to organizers' understanding of the FDIC's processing of applications for deposit insurance.
    • The 60-day comment period ends on September 8, 2017. Comments should be submitted to
    • Additional resources are available on the FDIC website dedicated to applications for deposit insurance.

    CFPB: Financial firms can no longer force consumers to use arbitration in group disputes, USA Today

    Consumers can now sue banks in class-action lawsuits. 

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday financial companies will no longer be allowed to force customers to use arbitration to settle group disputes, restricting the industry's favored legal tool after years of review.

    Currently, credit card and bank companies often insert arbitration clauses in their contracts to prevent consumers from banding together to file class-action lawsuits over scams and fraudulent products. Harmed individuals who seek remedy – often in small amounts -- are forced to sue on their own in small claims court, discouraging many lawsuits from consumers who deem them not worthy of their time, money and effort.

    Increasingly favored by large and small companies, arbitration involves a third party -- typically a retired judge -- reviewing evidence from both sides and issuing a legally binding decision. Arbitration gives companies more flexibility in choosing the arbitrator and allows them to avoid jury trial while saving on legal costs. Evidence and judgments in arbitration are sealed and kept confidential among the parties involved. 

    Consumer advocates applauded the agency's move. Arbitration denies consumers' day in court. And empowering consumers in courts would ultimately improve the business practices of banks, credit card companies, payday lenders and other financial firms, they say. "These companies are betting on the fact that most of us don’t read these provisions, buried in the fine print,” said Myriam Gilles, vice dean at Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in New York.

    Bankers were disappointed by the ruling, saying arbitration is an efficient way to resolve disputes. “Banks resolve the overwhelming majority of disputes quickly and amicably, long before they get to court or arbitration," according to a statement from the American Bankers Association, an industry group. "Arbitration is a convenient, efficient and fair method of resolving disputes at a fraction of the cost of expensive litigation."

    The ruling will likely trigger a pushback from the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers who have been critical of the independent agency's aggressive crackdown of the financial industry. Last month, the House of Representatives debated a Republican bill that proposes, among other industry-friendly provisions, to curb the CFPB's power by having its funding appropriated by Congress and allowing the president to fire its director at will. 

    Read More. 

    Ex-Rhode Island Lawmaker Due to Report to Prison for Fraud, Identity Theft, & Filing False Tax Returns, U.S. News

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former high-ranking Rhode Island lawmaker is scheduled to report to federal prison for his sentence on charges including fraud, identity theft and filing false tax returns.

    WJAR-TV reports former House Finance Committee Chair Ray Gallison is expected to report Monday to the Devens prison facility in Ayer, Massachusetts. He was sentenced last month to four years, three months in prison.

    He pleaded guilty to wrongdoing, including taking $678,000 from the estate of a dead client for whom he was executor and $8,900 from the trust of a person with special needs.

    The 65-year-old Bristol Democrat resigned from the House in May. Read More

    Former bank official to plead guilty in loan fraud caseThe Washington Post

    DOVER, Del. — A former bank loan officer has agreed to plead guilty in a case involving a Maryland doctor charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud and making false statements on loan applications.

    A federal judge this week scheduled an Aug. 7 plea hearing for Tae Kim, who worked at Citibank and WSFS.

    Kim is accused of conspiring to engage in fraudulent activity with Zahid Aslam of Elkton, Maryland, an OB-GYN who also has medical practices in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

    An indictment unsealed last month accuses Aslam of recruiting two associates as straw borrowers for loans for which he would not qualify. Read More

    5 States With the Highest Average Credit Scores, Madison.Com

    So, what does the average credit score look like in America? According to ValuePenguin, the average credit score hit an all-time high of 695 in 2015. As a reminder, the FICO credit score scale runs from a low of 300 to a high of 850, with a score of 700 and above viewed as "good." Since hitting a trough of 687 in 2009 and 2010, scores have been on the rise.

    What's possibly even more impressive is that we're witnessing credit score trends stay good or improve for between 80% and 93% of residents in all 50 states. It's a sign of a healthy economy and a potentially more credit-savvy public.

    However, a handful of states really stand out for their credit scores. Here are the five states with the highest average credit scores, along with their accompanying average score in parenthesis.

    1. Minnesota (707)
    2. North Dakota (700)
    3. Wisconsin (698)
    4. South Dakota (697)
    5. Massachusetts (694)

    You'll note that only two states -- Minnesota and North Dakota -- really qualify as having "good" credit. The other top states are close, but still have some work to do. In particular, ValuePenguin's data shows that just 7% of North Dakota's residents, 9% of Minnesota's, and 8% of South Dakota's, have declining credit scores. Read More

    Want to Learn More About Credit Scores? Order last week's webinar for $219! You have 12 months to watch (and, re-watch) this informative session!

    Credit scores going up for millions; check yours, The Clarion-Ledger

    This month, up to 20 million Americans who keep a close watch on their credit scores will get a pleasant surprise as all existing civil judgments and many tax liens will disappear from credit reports. The result will be an immediate bump — as much as 20 points — in the credit scores from the “Big 3” credit reporting agencies. Many expected the changes to take effect July 1, so it may have already happened.

    Because of new policies requiring more documentation, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion announced recently they’ll be removing these items from their credit reporting. The action comes after many regulators and advocates have expressed concerns over the reliability and accuracy of the information contained in many credit reports. In particular, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called out the credit reporting industry in a March report, citing lax standards for researching the information contained in credit reports and leading to inaccuracies.

    You may recall that, last October, Attorney General Jim Hood announced a settlementwith the Big 3 over a variety of supervisory practices that led to large numbers of errors affecting thousands of consumers. The companies agreed to pay more than $7.1 million to settle the charges, gave Mississippi residents free credit reports (see below), promised to remove certain liens and judgments and said they’d make substantial changes in their practices.

    The credit report — and the scores generated from them — are extremely powerful in determining whether you get credit, a job or even a place to live. But with the increase in their usage, it’s more important than ever that the information is accurate. Errors can unfairly ding your credit and limit your options when it comes to credit.

    Credit scoring — typically called “FICO” or “Vantage”— uses a computer algorithm to look at your credit history, including how much debt you have and how long you’ve had it, how much of your credit you’re using, whether you’ve been responsible with credit in the past and several other factors. It all comes down to a number between 300 and 850. (Wallethub reports that the average FICO score in the U.S. is 699). People on the high end generally get better credit, while those stuck in the low end of the range are often out of luck.

    The credit report is divided into several sections, one of which is Public Records. In this section, you’ll find whether you’ve been the subject of negative actions by the government or courts including tax liens and civil judgments. For example, if you’ve lost a lawsuit and the court has ordered you to pay, it might appear on your credit report as a civil judgment. If you’ve gotten behind on your taxes, the government can claim some of your assets until the debt is paid. That would be considered a tax lien. These are simple examples, but both civil judgments and tax liens can be quite complicated.

    Read More

    Want to Learn More About Credit Scores? Order last week's webinar for $219! You have 12 months to watch (and, re-watch) this informative session!