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  • Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints | NJPIRG
    loan signing the agreement receiving a credit offer other problems We also compare companies and complaints on a state by state and total basis Findings Consumer complaints about mortgages are the most common complaint in the CFPB s database Since it began accepting mortgage complaints in December 2011 the CFPB has published 138 086 complaints about mortgages the most complaints received about any financial product Through March 16 2015 38 of all published complaints in the database were mortgage complaints Although annual mortgage complaint volumes declined slightly in 2014 as the volume of the CFPB s 10 other product complaint categories i e debt collection credit reporting credit card bank account or service consumer loan student loan payday loan money transfers prepaid card and other financial services continued to grow data are insufficient to predict a declining trend See Figure ES 1 and Table ES 1 Figure ES 1 Consumer Complaints about Mortgages over Time In early 2015 debt collection complaints became the 1 complaint to be published in the CFPB s database on a monthly basis Mortgage complaints however remain at 2 on a monthly basis and are still the 1 complaint overall The vast majority of mortgage complaints 85 fall into two issue categories Problems when consumers are unable to pay categorized in the database as loan modification collection foreclosure make up 55 of the total problems making payments categorized in the database as loan servicing payments and escrow account make up 30 The other four issue categories total 15 See Figure ES 2 Figure ES 2 Breakdown of Complaints by Issue Five out of the six mortgage issues declined in volume One issue complaints related to making payments loan serving payments escrow account complaints continues to increase See Figure ES 3 Such complaints increased by 19 in 2014 compared to 2013 The CFPB says that payment related complaints include loan servicing payments and escrow accounts Figure ES 3 Consumer Complaints about Mortgages by Issue over Time Ten companies account for 77 of all mortgage complaints to the CFPB Bank of America Wells Fargo Ocwen JPMorgan Chase Nationstar Mortgage Citibank Green Tree Servicing HSBC U S Bancorp and PNC Bank Bank of America has the most total mortgage complaints with 31 123 making up about 23 of all mortgage complaints Bank of America was the most complained about company in 45 states and the District of Columbia Wells Fargo was complained about the most in five states When adjusted for market share the three most complained about companies are Ocwen Nationstar Mortgage and Bank of America in that order Recommendations The Consumer Complaint Database is an essential tool in the effort to protect consumers from deceptive and abusive practices in the financial marketplace The CFPB has acted on recommendations we have made in previous reports to improve the quality of the Consumer Complaint Database and the effectiveness of the bureau We commend the CFPB for Adding complaint narratives to the database In March 2015 the CFPB started allowing

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/usp/mortgages-and-mortgage-complaints (2016-04-29)
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  • Budget | NJPIRG
    use complicated gimmicks to shift U S earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens countries with minimal or no taxes in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars Tax haven abusers benefit from America s markets public infrastructure educated workforce security and rule of law all supported in one way or another by tax dollars but they avoid paying for these benefits Instead ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab either in the form of higher taxes cuts to public spending priorities or increases to the federal debt Read more about Picking Up the Tab News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget New Report New Jersey Receives a C in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending New Jersey received a C when it comes to government spending transparency according to Following the Money 2014 How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data the fifth annual report of its kind by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Law Policy Center NJPIRG LPC Read more about New Report New Jersey Receives a C in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Following the Money 2014 This report NJPIRG LPC s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive one stop one click transparency and accountability for state government spending Over the past year new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens access to critical spending information Many states however still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively Read more about Following the Money 2014 News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Tax NJ could save nearly 60 million with simple proven method to curb offshore tax dodging new study finds New Jersey taxpayers could save 59 8 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging according to a new report released today by the NJPIRG Law Policy Center The reform which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income Read more about NJ could save nearly 60 million with simple proven method to curb offshore tax dodging new study finds News Release NJPIRG Budget Democracy Tax New Study 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 Read more about New Study 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 Report NJPIRG Budget Tax Offshore Shell Games Many large U S based multinational corporations avoid paying U S taxes by using accounting tricks to make profits made in America appear to be generated in offshore tax havens countries with minimal or no taxes By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated 90

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/topics/budget (2016-04-29)
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  • Following the Money 2015 | NJPIRG
    first time as well as data on three of the state s five most important subsidy programs North Dakota improved its website with partially downloadable data Ohio unveiled an entirely new transparency website incorporating all of the features typically found on leading sites as well as cutting edge functionality States have made varying levels of progress toward improved online spending transparency See Figure ES 1 and Table ES 1 Leading States A range Fourteen states lead in online spending transparency representing an all time high in this category They have created user friendly websites that provide visitors with accessible information on an array of expenditures Not only can ordinary citizens find information on specific vendor payments through easy to use search features but experts and watchdog groups can also download and analyze the entire checkbook dataset Advancing States B range Eighteen states are advancing in online spending transparency with spending information that is easy to access but more limited than Leading States Most Advancing States have checkbooks that are searchable by recipient keyword and agency Middling States C range Thirteen states are middling in online spending transparency with comprehensive and easy to access checkbook level spending information but limited information on subsidies or other off budget expenditures Lagging States D range The two Lagging States fail to provide tax expenditure reports and provide almost no checkbook level detail on the recipients of economic development subsidies North Dakota makes data available for a single program There are significantly fewer Lagging States this year than last evidence of states ongoing progress in opening the books on spending F ailing States F range Three states fail to meet several of the standards of online spending transparency For example two of the three do not host an online database for searching or viewing expenditure details and only one makes tax expenditure reports available via a central transparency portal None of the Failing States provide any information on economic development subsidies Some states are innovating new features for online transparency They have developed new protocols and datasets and introduced new website functionality giving the public unprecedented ability to monitor and influence how their government allocates resources For instance Ohio s site populates instant search suggestions based on the letters typed into the search bar creating a website that looks and behaves much like the top search engines Ohioans most commonly visit and interact with elsewhere on the internet This feature aids transparency by helping users track down information without needing prior knowledge of exact search terms In addition every web page has the phone number and email address for a point of contact in state government as well as social media share buttons Minnesota Oklahoma and Texas have added new detail and made data easier to understand with new visualization tools including maps graphs and a taxpayer receipt that explains how a citizen s tax dollar is distributed to different state spending functions Florida now posts the value of payments excluded from the checkbook for

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/following-money-2015 (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Health Care Consumers Win With Supreme Court Ruling Today s decision is good news for consumers in New Jersey Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Budget Food Senate Vote on Farm Bill a Disappointment Taxpayer dollars still going to Big Ag NJPIRG is disappointed in the Senate s approval of the 2012 Farm Bill which will send tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Ag The Senate missed a golden opportunity to tackle the problem of wasteful agricultural subsidies which have cost taxpayers 260 billion since 1995 Instead this bill recommits to taxpayer support for the largest agribusinesses Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law Policy Center Financial Reform Common Sense Refinancing Options Could Help 402 431 New Jerseyans and Stabilize Housing Market Data released today by NJPIRG and the Center for Responsible Lending finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options save money and stabilize New Jersey s housing market In NJ alone 402 431 families would qualify saving them 1 67 billion Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Safe Energy Court Recognizes Spent Fuel Safety Threat We re pleased the Court recognized that nuclear waste storage poses a significant health and safety threat and the NRC s storage rules demand further scrutiny Spent fuel storage is a very real problem for New Jerseyans and Governor Christie was right to challenge the NRC Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Consumer Protection Testimony to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee Supporting ACR146 The Division of Consumer Affairs adopted a waiver under Governor Christie s Executive Order No 2 that would undermine all consumer protections Keep Reading Pages first previous 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 next last Report NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Democracy Transportation Greasing The Wheels In the wake of the Minnesota I 35 bridge collapse there was enormous public outcry and recognition of the need to repair our crumbling infrastructure Americans expected public officials to respond to the tragedy with a large scale effort to address the nearly 73 000 structurally deficient bridges in this country The findings in this report suggest that did not happen Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Food Recipe for Disaster The recall of more than 500 million eggs from two Iowa egg farms is the largest but not the last of 85 recalls that have taken place in the year since food safety reform moved to the U S Senate The U S House of Representatives passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act H R 2749 on July 30 2009 However the Senate s version of the bill the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act S 510 has languished while waiting for time on the Senate s floor schedule Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Transportation Economic Stimulus or Simply More Misguided Spending This fall Congress asked states to submit lists of ready to go transportation infrastructure projects that could be funded by the stimulus package Lists from nineteen state departments of transportation DOTs show that the

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=15 (2016-04-29)
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  • Time To Defend CFPB as Senate Banking Committee Aims Sights at It | NJPIRG
    Senator Brown engaged hostile witnesses on a variety of subjects including defense of the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database which was also the core subject of our statement to the committee see below He also explained the history of the financial collapse and warned the committee not to engage in collective amnesia by repealing the protections enacted to prevent a repeat of the 2008 collapse A frequent critique of the CFPB is that it lacks oversight Tomorrow morning CFPB Director Richard Cordray will present the statutory Semi Annual Report of the CFPB to the committee The notion that the CFPB lacks oversight or is out of control is rebutted by the simple fact that Director Cordray s appearance tomorrow will be approximately the 59th testimony by him or other senior bureau officials before Congress since the agency was stood up on July 21 2011 as the nation s first regulator with just one job protecting consumers He has presented the report already in the House so it is available most recent Fall 2015 is subject of these hearings It is a formidable and encyclopedic report summary of most recent report in Director Cordray s House testimony in March yet it is by no means the only oversight document of the CFPB For example here are a few other recent oversight documents Latest Monthly Consumer Complaint Snapshot March 2016 Annual Report of the CFPB Office of Servicemember Affairs March 2016 Supervisory Highlights March 2016 Annual Report To Appropriations Committees January 2016 Our statement for the record focuses on three issues with excerpts below Defend the CFPB It Works PIRG stands in strong support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB including support for its single director structure its independent funding insulating it from special interest chicanery and its broad authority and tools to make all financial markets work Without any doubt establishment of the CFPB is the most important consumer financial protection action by the Congress since the establishment of deposit insurance in the 1930s And independent funding is neither a controversial nor new idea it s been the law since 1864 for all bank regulators Defend the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database It Works The CFPB s public Consumer Complaint Database is a critical mechanism to both aid CFPB enforcement and select its rulemaking priorities but also to help it avoid the calcification or worse regulatory capture typified by its predecessor consumer regulators In just four and one half years the CFPB now has the largest public consumer complaint database of any federal agency with over 834 000 complaints collected as of 1 March 2016 Over 540 000 of the 834 000 complaints to the CFPB have been posted in the Public Consumer Complaint Database others are still being processed or have been referred to other agencies It is important to point out however that transparent public consumer complaint databases are now the rule not the exception Other examples include the Consumer Product Safety Commission saferproducts gov and

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/time-defend-cfpb-senate-banking-committee-aims-sights-it (2016-04-29)
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  • Ed Mierzwinski | NJPIRG
    has had recent articles in the American Prospect and the Journal of Consumer Affairs Mr Mierzwinski has appeared on television and radio shows including the Today Show Good Morning America CBS This Morning ABC Nightline CNN Crossfire and Anderson Cooper 360 C Span Washington Journal and NPR s flagship talk shows including The Diane Rehm Show To The Point with Warren Olney and Talk of the Nation He is regularly quoted in major newspapers including the New York Times Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and has been profiled in the New York Times He is a 2003 recipient of Privacy International s Brandeis Award for privacy protection efforts and a 2006 recipient of the Consumer Federation of America s Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award For his efforts on Wall Street reform in both 2010 and 2011 The Hill newspaper selected him as a Top Lobbyist awardee and in 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek selected him as one of 15 Power Brokers Regulators lawmakers and lobbyists shaping the torrent of regulations Others on the list included U S Senators and high administration officials In August 2009 Mr Mierzwinski was elected to a 3 year term on the board of directors of Consumer Reports publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine and with an advocacy arm now known as Consumers Union He is a founding and current member of the Steering Committee of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue which advises the U S Government and European Union on consumer issues He is a former member of the Federal Reserve Board s Consumer Advisory Council Mr Mierzwinski is a graduate of the University of Connecticut BA MS and previously was Executive Director of the Connecticut PIRG Full staff list Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/staff/xxp/ed-mierzwinski (2016-04-29)
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  • What is payday lending? | NJPIRG
    300 on average that people cannot pay off their loans while covering normal living expenses The typical borrower is compelled to take out one loan after another incurring new fees each time out This is the debt trap The average borrower takes out 10 loans and pays 391 in interest and fees 75 of the payday industry s revenues are generated by these repeat borrowers The debt trap is in fact the payday lending business model 1 Car title and installment loans are variations on the same theme Car title lenders use a borrower s vehicle as collateral for their unaffordable loans Installment loans typically have longer payoff periods and replace slightly lower interest rates with expensive unnecessary ad on products The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB is preparing to issue a new rule governing these high cost loans We are asking that payday lenders be required to make good loans 3 There is a pretty simple widely accepted definition of a good loan A good loan is a loan that can be paid back in full and on time without bankrupting the borrower By this definition banks and other for profit lenders make good loans all the time A strong rule would Require lenders confirm a borrower can repay given their income and expenses Stop the debt trap by preventing long term indebtedness as the FDIC recommends Not create a safe harbor or legal immunity for poorly underwritten loans Protect borrowers bank accounts by stopping abuses related to payday lenders direct access to a consumer s checking account Find out how you can support a strong rule against payday lending For the original text please check out AFR s explainer here 1 How State Rate Limits Affect Payday Loan Prices Pew Charitable Trusts April 2014 2 DNC Chair Joins

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/what-payday-lending (2016-04-29)
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  • Kathryn Lee | NJPIRG
    school for environmental organizing Kathryn was a development associate and also a field organizer working on issues around global warming and stopping the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms She also spent two summers with The Fund for the Public Interest overseeing the administration and budgets of a region of door to door citizen outreach offices canvassing to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act and to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Kathryn is based in Denver Colorado and is a graduate of Colby College in Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and a minor in Anthropology Full staff list Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Energy Service Corps Our Federation Take Action Donate JOIN US Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/staff/usp/kathryn-lee (2016-04-29)
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