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03/23/2021

Agencies publish ECIP investments rule

The Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC have published [86 FR 15076] their previously announced interim final rule that makes Treasury's investments under the Emergency Capital Investments Program qualify as regulatory capital of insured depository institutions and holding companies.

The rule became effective yesterday, upon its Federal Register publication.

03/23/2021

CFPB submits report on FDCPA administration to Congress

The XFPB has released its 2020 annual report to Congress on the administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The report highlights efforts by the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers, particularly those who have suffered profound financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

03/22/2021

FTC informs CFPB of debt collection activities

The Federal Trade Commission has provided the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with an annual summary of its activities in the debt collection arena. The annual report highlights both agencies’ efforts to stop unlawful debt collection practices, including law enforcement, education and public outreach, and policy initiatives. Among the actions taken to combat unfair, deceptive, and otherwise unlawful debt collection practices in 2020, the FTC:

  • led Operation Corrupt Collector, a nationwide federal/state law enforcement sweep and outreach initiative targeting phantom debt collection and abusive and threatening debt collection practices;
  • filed or resolved 7 cases against 39 defendants, and obtained $26 million in judgments;
  • brought the first federal action combating unlawful “debt parking";
  • banned the operator of a debt collection scheme who engaged in serious and repeated violations of law from ever working in debt collection again;
  • deployed educational materials to inform consumers about their rights, and educate debt collectors about their responsibilities, under the FDCPA and FTC Act; and
  • supplied 15,755 copies of a fotonovela (graphic novel) on debt collection, developed for Spanish speakers, to raise awareness about scams targeting the Latino community.

03/22/2021

Wells Fargo resolves customer discrimination claim

HUD announced on Friday that it has approved a Conciliation Agreement between Wells Fargo Bank and a customer, resolving the customer’s claim that the mortgage lender denied her a loan after learning it was for a group home for persons with disabilities. Under the Conciliation Agreement, Wells Fargo Bank will pay $125,000 to the woman and provide fair housing training for its employees, including home mortgage consultants, managers and underwriters. It will also ensure that its policies do not violate the Fair Housing Act.

03/19/2021

PA bank pays flood insurance penalty

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a civil money penalty order directing that the Bryn Mawr Trust Company, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, pay $105,000 for a pattern or practice of unspecified violations of the National Flood Insurance Act.

03/17/2021

Student loan debt-relief schemers sued by Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced yesterday it has filed a complaint against a student loan debt relief company, its owner, and manager for allegedly charging thousands of consumers more than $3.5 million in illegal upfront fees.

The lawsuit accuses California-based Student Loan Pro, Judith Noh, and Syed Gilani of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). FNZA Marketing, LLC, is also named as a relief defendant. Student Loan Pro, which operated from 2015 through 2019, provided federal student loan debt-relief services to consumers nationwide. The CFPB alleges that the company charged borrowers illegal upfront fees to file paperwork on their behalf to access free debt-relief programs available to consumers with federal student loans. The CFPB’s lawsuit seeks monetary relief for consumers, and asks the court to end the illegal conduct.

03/17/2021

February G.17 report released

The Federal Reserve Board has released the February 2021 G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report.

Total industrial production decreased 2.2 percent. Manufacturing output and mining production fell 3.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively; the output of utilities increased 7.4 percent. Severe winter weather in the south central region of the country in mid-February accounted for the bulk of the declines in output for the month. Most notably, some petroleum refineries, petrochemical facilities, and plastic resin plants suffered damage from the deep freeze and were offline for the rest of the month.

Excluding the effects of the winter weather would have resulted in an index for manufacturing that fell about 1/2 percent and in an index for mining that rose about 1/2 percent. Both indexes would have remained below their pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels.

At 104.7 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in February was 4.2 percent lower than its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 1.7 percentage points in February to 73.8 percent, a rate that is 5.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2020) average.

03/17/2021

Deferment period for COVID-19 EIDL extended

The SBA has announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.

All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12 months to 24 months from the date of the note. SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12 months to 18 months from the date of the note.

03/17/2021

FEMA to suspend communities in nine states

FEMA has published [86 FR 14545] in this morning's Federal Register a list of communities in Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia that have been scheduled for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on March 23, 2021, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. The affected communities are:

  • Iowa: Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, Donahue, Eldridge, Le Claire, McCausland, Panorama Park, Princeton, Reverdaale, Scott County (unincorporated areas)m and Walcott
  • Kentucky: Crestwood, Oldham County (unincorporated areas), and Orchard Grass Hills
  • Michigan: Blaine, Frankfort, and Lake
  • Minnesota: Alvarado, Argyle, Grygla, Marshall County (unincorporated areas), Middle River, Newfolden, Oslo, Stephen, and Warren
  • Mississippi: Bolivar County (unincorporated areas), Isola, Moorhead, Renova, Sharkey County (unincorporated areas), Sunflower, Sunflower County (unincorporated areas), and Washington County (unincorporated areas).
  • Oregon: Douglas County (unincorporated areas) and Seneca
  • South Carolina: Beaufort, Bluffton, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island, Port Royal, and Yemassee
  • Utah: Coalville, Henefer, Oakley, Park City, and Summit County (unincorporated areas)
  • Virginia: Greene County (unincorporated areas) and Stanardsville

If FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to March 23, it will not be suspended.

03/16/2021

FTC bans defendants from debt collection industry

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that two South Carolina companies that used robocalls and illegal threats to convince consumers to pay non-existent debts will be permanently banned from the debt collection industry as part of settlements resolving FTC charges they threatened consumers with legal action to collect on debts that did not exist.

Complaints filed by the FTC accused National Landmark Logistics, LLC and Absolute Financial Services, LLC of using illegal robocalls to leave messages with consumers that threatened outcomes from lawsuits to arrest. The messages didn’t identify the caller as a debt collector, and when consumers would return the calls, the defendants would present themselves as mediators or attorneys.

Under the terms of the National Landmark Logistics settlement, defendants Liberty Solutions & Associates, LLC; LSA Processing Systems, LLC; James Dennison; and Eric Dennison will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection. They will also be prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program. A monetary judgment of $16.4 million, was partially suspended for inability to pay.

Under the terms of their settlements, Lashone Elam (also known as Lashone Caldwell); Absolute Financial Services, LLC; Absolute Financial Services Recovery, LLC; AFSR Global Logistics, LLC; and Talesia Neely will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection. They will also be prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program. The settlement with the corporate defendants and Elam contains a monetary judgment of $11.2 million, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay. The corporate defendants will be required to turn over the contents of a number of bank accounts to the FTC, while Elam will be required to turn over $10,000.

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