NACA submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to share its views for the upcoming hearing titled “Wells Fargo: One Year Later.” In September 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. $100 million for illegally opening millions of accounts without its customers’ permission. Since then, the continued revelations and allegations of the bank’s years-long, systemic mistreatment and defrauding of customers to reap profit has been astounding. Indeed, the level of Wells Fargo’s offenses is reminiscent of the recklessness that led to the 2008 financial crisis when profitable but predatory financial schemes were accepted despite their devastating threat to American consumers’ financial security. It is in the Committee’s hands to support and uphold policies, including the CFPB’s arbitration rule, that will ensure Wells Fargo and other bad actors in the financial sector, such as the credit reporting agency Equifax, are not only held fully accountable for damage they cause but that they are also deterred from engaging in pernicious business practices in the first instance.
The Community Bank Advisory Council of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (bureau) should recommend meaningful solutions to address the size and number of overdraft fees that institutions mount on their customers, said five public interest organizations (Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Responsible Lending, Public Citizen, National Consumer Law Center, and NACA) in a letter to the bureau.
National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), a national nonprofit association actively engaged in promoting a fair and open marketplace that forcefully protects the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means, urged U.S. Senators to oppose S.J.Res.47 and H.J.Res.111, a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would repeal the arbitration rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (bureau). The Resolution would give the financial sector a pass to once again take away Americans’ legal rights that the bureau has rightfully restored.
NACA joins other advocates for students, consumers, veterans, service members, faculty and staff, civil rights, and college access to urge the Department of Education to place the interests of students front and center as the Department explores potential changes to regulations. Current federal higher education regulations and oversight need to be strengthened and improved to better protect students and taxpayers, and schools that pose greater risks to students and taxpayers deserve more oversight and scrutiny, not less.
NACA joins organizations in supporting the Senate and House companion bills, S. 1659/H.R. 3760, the “Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act,” sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Jeff Merkley, Representative Matt Cartwright, and Representative Steve Cohen. The Senate and House bills would extend to all consumers a 36 percent usury APR cap. A fair rate cap will protect consumers by curbing abuses in the high-cost small dollar loan market, while permitting responsible lending on reasonable terms to continue. A strong rate cap also has strong public support, with a large majority of the public consistently supporting interest rate caps on payday, car title, and other high-cost loans.1
NACA joins oranizations to strongly support The Equal Employment for All Act (S.1819), introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren. The bill would eliminate an unfair and discriminatory barrier to economic mobility and security for many Americans by prohibiting the use of personal credit history in employment.
NACA, consumer organizations expressed strong opposition to an amendment offered by Congressman Moolenaar that was included in the FY18 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. This amendment, based on the “Anti-Pyramid Scheme Promotion Act of 2016,”ii would rob the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) of its ability to protect consumers from all but the most egregiously fraudulent pyramid schemes.
Consumers Union, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center on behalf of its low-income clients, National Consumers League, Public Citizen, and Public Knowledge thanked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its work to encourage the development of a caller ID authentication system to address fraudulent call spoofing, and are encouraged by the support for the project revealed in the submitted comments. Fraudulently spoofed calls evade call-blocking mechanisms, threaten consumers with scams and fraud, and disturb their privacy. Thus, we reiterate our call for the FCC to take rapid action, to require full participation by providers, and to take the lead in establishing effective standards for consumer protection.
NACA joins comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re: its examination of rulemaking to ease the problem of “slamming,” in which a customer’s long-distance carrier is changed without his or her knowledge, as well as the problem of “cramming”—when a third party enters unauthorized charges into a consumer’s phone bill. Though the FCC has examined cramming and slamming several times over the last ten years, and has extended important protections to consumers—for example, requiring carriers to list third-party charges separately on bills, and to inform customers if they offer a service to block third-party charges, regulatory gaps persist.
H.R. 2359, the “FCRA Liability Harmonization Act,” would deprive victims of credit reporting abuses of deserved compensation for their losses and would disrupt the marketplace by diminishing the justice system as a key tool to deter systemic and abusive conduct in the vast and complex credit reporting and information system.