Dec 1

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Dec 1

By Joseph Rhee and Alexa Valiente – ABC News

A debt collector who uses the name “John Anderson” when making calls is now a debtor himself after a California woman sued him and the debt collection agency he worked for.

Anderson, whose real name and employer ABC News’ “20/20” has agreed not to divulge, said he’s “one of the best in the world” at his job. He said he follows the law, for the most part.

“[I] push the edges a little bit sometimes,” Anderson told “20/20.” “You’re not supposed to call after 9 o’clock at night. I might call at 9:15 [p.m.].”

But after a court judgment, Anderson currently owes over $33,000 to Jessica Burke, who said Anderson called her several times a day over $350 in late payments for a used car she bought in Arizona in 2007.

“He suggested that because he was a private investigator, he knows everything. He could find me no matter where I was,” Burke said. “He knew who I worked for, and he had contacted my boss at that time and released the information that I had a debt.”

Although she had never even seen the caller in person, Burke said he was even able to learn some of the names of her coworkers and friends.

Anderson denied harassing Burke. “I wasn’t really the one pursuing Jessica. The finance company pursued her more than I did,” Anderson told “20/20.”

However, Anderson said he did get angry after he claims Burke got into a physical altercation with a woman he sent out to repossess the car, which Burke denies. Anderson also admitted that he did make remarks about Burke’s weight on the phone.

“She said, ‘I have a refund coming.’ I said, ‘A tax refund or a Jenny Craig refund?’ … meaning that she was overweight,” Anderson said. “It’s probably not the proper thing to do.” [read more]

Nov 25

By Kelly Cochran – CFPB

Today, we’re posting a semi-annual update of our rulemaking agenda in conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions across the federal government. Portions of the Unified Agenda will be published in the Federal Register, and the full set of materials is now available online.

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to publish regulatory agendas twice a year. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now by voluntarily participating in the Unified Agenda. Our regulatory agenda includes rulemaking actions in the following stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long term actions, and completed actions.

Our agenda includes certain mortgage rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. For example, in July 2014 we released a proposal to amend Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act’s amendments to HMDA, and to help align the law with existing industry standards for collecting data on mortgage loans and applications. Additionally, the proposal would revise Regulation C to improve the effectiveness of HMDA, including changes to institutional and transactional coverage, modifications of reporting requirements, and clarifications of existing regulatory provisions.

We’re also focused intensely on supporting the implementation process for our recent rulemaking (TRID Final Rule) to implement a Dodd-Frank Act directive to consolidate and streamline federal mortgage disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. For example, in October 2014 we released a proposal to provide for technical corrections to the rule text and commentary in the TRID Final Rule; allow for the placement of certain language related to new construction loans to be added to the Loan Estimate form; and relax the timing requirement that creditors provide revised disclosures on the same day that a consumer’s rate is locked. We’re also continuing work with stakeholders to address questions that have arisen with regard to the 2013 mortgage rules, including issuing additional clarifications and amendments as warranted. For example, we just released a proposal this week that would amend various aspects of the 2013 mortgage servicing rules, including disclosures, early intervention, and loss mitigation. The proposal also addresses proper compliance with the rules when a consumer is a potential or confirmed successor in interest, is in bankruptcy, or sends a cease communication request under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). [read more]

Nov 24

By Ashlee Kieler – Consumerist

Since the recession began in the late 2000s, many homeowners have struggled to keep their homes, often fighting off aggressive and shady foreclosure attempts. Over the years, consumers groups have fought to extend protections for these consumers. On Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took steps to ensure that homeowners and struggling borrowers are treated fairly by mortgage servicers.

The Bureau’s proposed rules [PDF] cover a variety of issues from providing additional help to consumers who previously faced foreclosure to making sure that loan servicers who buy a borrower’s loan provide the consumer with the same protections and advanced notice as previously afforded to them.

The rules focus on correcting the often shady tactics mortgage servicers – companies responsible for collecting payments from the borrower and forwarding the payment to the owner of the loan – employ when typically handling customer service, collections, loan modifications, and foreclosures.

Officials with the CFPB say the proposed rules are part of the Bureau’s ongoing effort to protect struggling homeowners and to make the mortgage process easier to understand.

Back in 2010, the CFPB put in place rules to eliminate surprises and runaround from consumers, the rules require servicers to maintain accurate records, give troubled borrowers direct and ongoing access to servicing personnel, promptly credit payments and correct errors on request.

Since those rules went into effect the CFPB has continued to hear from consumer advocacy groups that more could be done to protect consumers. [read more]

Nov 19

By Les Christie – CNN

They thought losing their home was bad enough.

Now, years later, collectors are coming after them for thousands of dollars in back debt.

Ben McLarin lived near Jacksonville, Fla., until he lost his job and got divorced in 2007. His wife kept the house, but then couldn’t keep up the payments, spurring the bank to foreclose in 2009.

This year, a debt collector informed him he was being sued for $115,000, the difference between what was owed on the house and the amount the lender managed to recoup after it sold the home, said McLarin, an IT worker, who now lives in California.

His attorney, Chip Parker, with Parker & DuFresne in Jacksonville, said McLarin is one of thousands.

Parker estimates that one debt collector alone, Dyck O’Neal, has filed more than 10,000 suits in Florida this year, involving roughly $1 billion in foreclosure debt.

“There are people who lost their homes to foreclosure five to seven years ago, took the credit hit, repaired their score and, just as they were recovering, they take another hit,” said Parker.

Dyck O’Neal declined to comment. [read more]

Nov 18

By DL Cade – PetaPixel

For photographer Brittany M. Powell, debt isn’t just the subject of a personal portrait project, it’s a harsh reality that she’s had to face herself.

Inspired by her own experience with debt and bankruptcy after the financial crisis in 2008, she set out to expose the truth about debt and how it impacts both our society and our personal identity in The Debt Project.

At its core, The Debt Project is as much for the subjects as it is for the photographer and the ultimate viewers. A mixed-media project, each portrait is attached to a video interview and a short written statement in which each of the subjects writes down the amount of debt they’re in and the story behind it.

“In a state of Social Darwinism, (which we basically live in) the people who have less are seen as weaker… no one wants to consider themselves as lesser or weaker, but when you live in a culture that worships wealth, how can that be avoided?” she told Feature Shoot recently in an interview. “The shame is self-perpetuating and it consistently fuels the stigma.”

Her photographs and the project as a whole gives her participants the opportunity to discuss their troubles, and reminds them that they are not alone. Many found it “liberating… to discuss their experiences,” she writes, and each exhibition helps to shed more light on a pervasive problem that, according to CNN, is only getting worse. [read more]