Consumer Payment Card News

CFPB Consumer Protections OK Despite Mulvaney Damage

Another Trump appointed Devos-like moron is under consideration to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Kathy Kraninger knows nuttin about protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.

Illegally appointed Mick Mulvaney, interim CFPB director, tried to wreck the CFPB by:

• announcing its intention to reconsider and delay its payday lending rule.

• dropping its lawsuit against four online lenders it had accused of deceiving consumers by collecting debts not legally owned.

• considering hiding its consumer complaint database from public view.

Despite the damage done by Trump, the GOP and Mulvaney, the ability of the CFPB to protect consumers is largely still intact.

Over the past several weeks the CFPB settled with Citibank, TCF National Bank, National Credit Adjusters and Triton Management Group.

Citibank has settled with the CFPB to pay $335 million in restitution to consumers. Citibank violated the Truth in Lending Act by failing to reevaluate and reduce the annual percentage rates (APRs) for approximately 1.75 million consumer credit card accounts consistent with regulatory requirements, and by failing to have reasonable written policies and procedures to conduct the APR reevaluations consistent with regulation.

Under the terms of the deal, Citibank must correct these practices. The CFPB did not assess civil money penalties based on a number of factors, including that Citibank self-identified and self-reported the violations to the Bureau, and self-initiated remediation to affected consumers.

TCF National Bank (TCF) , headquartered in Wayzata, MN has agreed to pay $25 million in restitution to customers who were charged overdraft fees and has agreed to an injunction to prevent future violations. The proposed order filed would also impose a civil money penalty of $5 million. This penalty would be adjusted to account for a $3 million penalty imposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

TCF operates approximately 318 retail branches across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, and South Dakota.

The CFPB says banks must first obtain a consumer’s consent before they can lawfully charge overdraft fees on one-time debit purchases and ATM withdrawals. The Bureau alleged in its lawsuit that, when attempting to obtain this consent, TCF obscured the fees it charged and made consenting to overdraft fees seem mandatory for new customers to open an account.

The CFPB announced a judgement against National Credit Adjusters (NCA), a privately-held company headquartered in Hutchinson, KS, and its former CEO and part-owner, Bradley Hochstein.

The CFPB says NCA and Hochstein used a network of debt collection companies to collect consumer debt on NCA’s behalf. Some of those companies engaged in frequent unlawful debt collection acts and practices that harmed consumers, including by representing that consumers owed more than they were legally required to pay, or threatening consumers and their family members with lawsuits, visits from process servers, and arrest, when neither NCA nor the collection companies intended or had the legal authority to take those actions.

NCA and Hochstein continued placing debt with those companies for collection with knowledge or reckless disregard of the companies’ illegal consumer debt collection practices. NCA and Hochstein also sold millions in consumer debt to one of those companies with knowledge or reckless disregard of the company’s illegal consumer debt collection practices.

A judgment for civil money penalties of $3 million against NCA and $3 million against Hochstein has been ordered. Full payment of those amounts is suspended subject to NCA paying a $500,000 civil money penalty and Hochstein paying a $300,000 civil money penalty.

Triton Management Group, a small-dollar lender that operates in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina under several names including “Always Money” and “Quik Pawn Shop,” has agreed to settle with he CFPB.

Under terms of the deal Triton must return unlawful fees paid by consumers. The $1.5 million judgement against Triton represents the undisclosed finance charges consumers paid on their Triton loans. The full payment of this amount is suspended subject to Triton’s paying $500,000 to affected consumers.

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