Postings

Revamping the CFPB’s “Qualified Mortgage” standard could impact credit availability
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed changes to the Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition would allow the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) patch to sunset in 2021. Advocates warn that terminating the patch could cut off adequate access to mortgage credit to borrowers who are self-employed or more likely to work non-traditional jobs and don’t often conform to traditional QM standards, including borrowers of color and borrowers with student debt.

Relaxing fair lending laws would make it harder to prove discrimination
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to abandon its recently-proposed rule that would undermine the ability to enforce fair lending laws and prevent discrimination in the mortgage lending market.

Flawed HUD report lets Bank of America off the hook for possible lending violations
Consumer Action joined a group letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to express serious concerns regarding a recent flawed report that incorrectly concluded that Bank of America complied with HUD rules prior to selling defaulted loans through its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program. The report relied on an inadequate sampling of loans, relied completely on Bank of America’s files, and did not include critical input from U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured borrowers.

Advocates tackle data-driven discrimination
Big Data has the potential to create racial and social inequalities, and make existing discrimination even worse. While civil rights protections have existed in brick-and-mortar commerce for decades, they are largely missing from the internet economy. Online services should not be permitted to use consumer data to discriminate against protected classes or deny them opportunities in commerce, housing, employment, or full participation in our democracy.

How the government shutdown puts working families at risk
As the longest federal government shutdown in our nation’s history drags on, advocates raised concern as to how working families could potentially be harmed long after the government reopens its doors. Without a paycheck, federal employees fear losing their homes, consider risky financial loans in lieu of income, tax credits and refunds, and worry about the lasting impact that missed bill payments will have on their credit.

Advocates warn that HUD’s disaster relief program is too limited in scope
In an official letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), advocates urge HUD to improve its efforts to expedite the process for borrowers in disaster areas to access loss mitigation. While a good start, The Disaster Standalone Partial Claim program does not do enough for borrowers in disaster areas that have not yet fully recovered, and the program includes vague and unnecessary eligibility requirements that will impose unnecessary barriers to mortgage relief.

The CFPB’s consumer education programs must be protected
In open comments to the agency, advocates urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to keep its education programs, just one component in its set of consumer protection tools. Other Bureau responsibilities, including its enforcement and rulemaking authority, should also be utilized to fully protect consumers in accordance with the CFPB’s mission.

FHFA announces major upgrades to mortgage application process for LEP borrowers
Consumer Action joined advocates in applauding the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in its efforts to improve its affordable housing goals and to reach underserved communities.

Advocates alarmed as HUD considers dropping key mission
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), responsible for stopping housing discrimination, proposed new language in its mission statement that seemed to encourage consumer “self-sufficiency” over strict enforcement. The move alarmed civil rights, consumer, and fair housing advocates, who worry that the government agency expressly responsible for combating housing discrimination would deemphasize the importance of its mandate under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The groups joined in a March 8 letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him to correct this “unfortunate impression.” (It’s been reported that Carson subsequently responded in a HUD memo, saying: “The notion that any new mission statement would reflect a lack of commitment to fair housing is nonsense.”)

Federal government should not be financing gentrification of low-income neighborhoods
Consumer Action joined legal service offices, housing and consumer credit counseling agencies, base organizing groups and civil rights organizations in expressing strong concerns over the Federal Housing Finance Agency's oversight of Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) and the Federal Home Loan Bank System enabling the displacement of low-income people and people of color.

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