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  • Big Banks, Big Complaints | PennPIRG
    24 9 Sovereign Bank 9 1 Capital One 6 5 RBS Citizens 6 1 GE Capital Retail 5 7 Regions 4 8 TD Bank 4 8 First Niagara Bank 4 3 PNC Bank 4 3 Fifth Third Bank 4 3 Complaints about banks vary by state and by the primary federal safety and soundness supervisor of the bank All banks and credit unions as well as non bank financial firms are subject to the CFPB s regulations In addition the CFPB supervises and examines all large bank and credit unions 10 billion in assets for their compliance with consumer protection laws Large banks and credit unions also have a separate prudential or safety and soundness supervisory agency as well Consumers filed 2 9 complaints for every billion dollars in deposits held by large national banks chartered by the Office of Comptroller of Currency compared to 2 3 complaints about large state chartered banks supervised for safety and soundness by the Federal Reserve System and 1 6 complaints about large state chartered banks supervised for safety and soundness by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Wells Fargo was the most frequently complained about bank in 24 states based on total number of complaints filed Bank of America was the most frequently complained about bank in five states and Regions Bank was the most frequently complained about bank in four states See Figure ES 2 Figure ES 2 Most Complained About Bank by State i More than one in four complaints about banking services processed by the CFPB ended with the consumer receiving some form of financial relief However consumers disputed the resolution of roughly 20 percent of all complaints The CFPB has helped more than 5 000 consumers to receive monetary compensation to resolve their complaints The median amount of monetary relief was 110 Additionally nearly 1 000 consumers had their complaints closed with some form of non monetary relief such as a bank contacting a credit bureau to request a change in a credit report Bank responses to complaints vary based on the issue raised by the complaint Nearly half of all complaints related to an individual s funds being low were resolved with monetary relief compared with 28 percent of all complaints Low funds issues include overdraft fees non sufficient funds fees and bounced checks Banks vary in the degree to which complaints are resolved with monetary relief TCF National Bank responded to more than half of all complaints with offers of monetary relief compared to just 4 percent of responses by New Orleans based Whitney Bank Consumers were less likely to dispute company responses that included monetary or non monetary relief than other responses Only one out of every nine consumers who received monetary relief disputed the company s response compared to one out of five of all consumers TCF National Bank had the highest ratio of disputed responses to deposits followed by Sovereign Bank and Capital One Bank The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau s Consumer Complaints Database is

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/big-banks-big-complaints (2016-04-27)
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  • Moving Off The Road | PennPIRG
    per capita in 2011 were above their 2004 or 2005 peaks Meanwhile since 2005 double digit percent reductions occurred in a diverse collection of states Alaska Delaware Oregon Georgia Wyoming South Carolina the District of Columbia Pennsylvania Indiana and Florida The fifty states plus the District of Columbia offer a useful natural experiment to examine different factors behind America s reduction in driving since 2004 Examining the commonalities and differences in driving trends among states can provide insight into the potential causes behind the downturn in driving and the direction of future trends This study finds that declining rates of driving do not correspond with how badly states suffered economically in recent years On the contrary Among the 23 states in which driving miles per person declined faster than the national average only six saw unemployment increase faster than the nation as a whole Among the 10 states with the largest declines in driving per person only two rank among the ten with largest increases in unemployment Among the 23 states where driving declined faster than the national average only 11 saw faster than average declines in the employed share of their working age population Among the 10 states with the greatest reductions in the employed share of population only two were also among the ten states with the largest reductions of driving Georgia and the District of Columbia The evidence suggests that the nation s per capita decline in driving cannot be dismissed as a temporary side effect of the recession While certainly a contributing factor and an economic rebound could be expected to have some upward lift on driving the recession does not appear to be the prime cause of the fall off in driving over the past eight years Nor is it clear that future economic growth

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/moving-road (2016-04-27)
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  • Student Loan Debt in Pennsylvania | PennPIRG
    the Pennsylvania Job Market The Pennsylvania job market is experiencing a skills gap between the number of people without jobs and the skills employers are looking for in their employees By 2020 60 percent of the jobs in the state will require a certificate or a degree while only 43 percent of the current population has one 6 Keeping the interest rate at 3 4 percent on student loans will send an urgent signal to students workers and the unemployed to get the postsecondary training needed to adapt to new economic realities Pennsylvania s Senators Senator Bob Casey has supported students and the economy in Pennsylvania Senator Casey backed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 which set the lower interest rate 7 Last year Senator Casey voted for both the first 8 and final 9 rate extension plans Senator Pat Toomey opposed both the first and final rate extension plans last year 1 Analysis U S Department of Education 202 401 1576 2 Student Debt and the Class of 2011 The Institute for College Access Success http projectonstudentdebt org files pub classof2011 pdf 3 Analysis U S Department of Education 202 401 1576 4 Philip Elliott House Advances Student Loan Fix Associated Press May 16 2013 http bigstory ap org article house take student loan fix 5 Tom Raum Recovery Threatened by Student Loan Debt Associated Press April 3 2012 http www boston com news education higher articles 2012 04 03 recovery 6 Pennsylvania Analysis 2011 College Complete America http www completecollege org docs Pennsylvania pdf 7 Bill Summary and Status 110 th Congress 2007 2008 H R 2669 Library of Congress http thomas loc gov cgi bin bdquery z d110 H R 2669 8 U S Senate Roll Call Votes 112 th Congress S 2343 United

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/student-loan-debt-pennsylvania (2016-04-27)
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  • A New Direction | PennPIRG
    any other age group The severe economic recession was likely responsible for some of the decline but not all Millennials are more likely to want to live in urban and walkable neigh borhoods and are more open to non driving forms of transportation than older Americans They are also the first generation to fully embrace mobile Internet connected technolo gies which are rapidly spawning new transportation options and shifting the way young Americans relate to one another creating new avenues for living connected vibrant lives that are less reliant on driving If the Millennial led decline in per capita driving continues for another dozen years even at half the annual rate of the 2001 2009 period total vehicle travel in the United States could remain well below its 2007 peak through at least 2040 despite a 21 percent increase in population If Millennials retain their current pro pensity to drive less as they age and future generations follow Enduring Shift driving could increase by only 7 percent by 2040 If unexpectedly Millennials were to revert to the driv ing patterns of previous generations Back to the Future total driving could grow by as much as 24 percent by 2040 All three of these scenarios yield far less driving than if the Driving Boom had continued past 2004 Driving declines more dramatic than any of these scenarios would result if future per capita driving were to fall at a rate near that of recent years or if an nual per capita reductions continue through 2040 Regardless of which scenario proves true the amount of driving in the United States in 2040 is likely to be lower than is assumed in recent government forecasts This raises the question of whether changing trends in driving are being adequately fac tored into public policy Figure ES 3 Recent Official Forecasts of Vehicle Travel Compared to Range of Scenarios 1946 2040 U S DOT U S Department of Transportation STIFC Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission U S EIA U S Energy Information Administration The recent reduction in driving has already delivered important benefits for the nation while raising new challenges Future driving trends will have major implications for transportation policy and other aspects of American life Traffic congestion has fallen According to data from the Texas Transportation Institute Americans spent 421 million fewer hours stuck in traffic in 2011 than they did in 2005 Further reductions in driving could lead to additional easing of congestion without massive investments in new highway capacity as long as roads are maintained in a state of good repair America is less dependent on oil In 2011 gasoline consumption for trans portation hit a 10 year low Further reductions in driving consistent with the Ongoing Decline scenario coupled with expected vehicle fuel economy improvements could result in the nation using half as much gasoline or other fuels in our cars and trucks by 2040 as we use today Our roads are getting less use but the gas tax is bringing

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/new-direction (2016-04-27)
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  • A Sub-stantial Achievement | PennPIRG
    of the top five chicken producers followed suit promising to phase out routine antibiotics use from their flocks At that moment it was clear there is power in the marketplace So the same collection of organizations that had worked on McDonald s Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC Consumers Union Friends of the Earth and Keep Antibiotics Working set our sights on the largest market player of them all Subway Subway boasts over 27 000 locations nationwide and purchases a tremendous amount of meat We knew that like McDonald s action by Subway to eliminate antibiotics from its meat supply would have a major impact on the industry and help put an end to the overuse use on antibiotics on livestock and poultry We got to work Our citizen outreach teams blanketed neighborhoods throughout the nation and gathered over 100 000 petitions from consumers hungry for meat raised without routine antibiotics We organized over 500 health care professionals to co sign a letter urging Subway to take this step for public health We generated thousands of tweets and Facebook comments from our members sending message straight to Subway s online front door With our campaign gaining traction others important players like the Center for Food Safety and the Food Babe joined in Together we gathered over 270 000 petition signatures including over 100 000 from U S PIRG activists urging Subway to phase out routine antibiotics from its meat supply Two days before we planned to deliver these signatures Subway set one of the stronger antibiotics policies of any chain to date Thank you Subway This is a huge victory for public health Subway s commitment means fewer poultry and livestock operations will dose healthy animals with our life saving medicines It means halting a practice that breeds antibiotic resistant bacteria

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/sub-stantial-achievement (2016-04-27)
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  • Victory: Subway Commits to Help Save Antibiotics | PennPIRG
    rose to the occasion Our organizers were set to deliver nearly 300 000 petition signatures to Subway headquarters on Thursday many of which were collected by PIRG activists who had blanketed neighborhoods around the country since early this summer it now looks like we ll deliver a giant thank you card instead We re ecstatic that Subway will be living up to the healthy image they ve created They have more restaurants in the U S than any other chain and their announcement will put major market pressure on the meat producers to stop overusing antibiotics Public Health Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/victory-subway-commits-help-save-antibiotics (2016-04-27)
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  • As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | PennPIRG
    their campaign to defund and defang the bureau because it works for consumers not them Last week the American Bankers Association and other major trade groups representing Wall Street and other financial interests revealed in an op ed in The Hill newspaper that in fact they were the driving force behind intensified Congressional efforts to pass HR 1266 Neugebauer TX to eliminate the Bureau s single director and replace him with a highly politicized 5 member Commission This of course was not man bites dog news to me But the op ed also revealed that their campaign to kill the CFPB is fueled by misrepresentations and untruths It s clear that the powerful special interests are just tired of having even if it is only 4 years old a regulator that is not under their control In their op ed column they claim that they actually want to strengthen the bureau s independence from the political whims of a different White House Actually they want to make sure that they can manipulate an already politicized nominations process and appoint 5 lapdog commissioners to a weakened bureau Worse their op ed revealed that they are not above misconstruing and misrepresenting the long held positions of the founders of the CFPB Senator Elizabeth Warren MA then an advisor to the President former Representative Barney Frank MA the Frank of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and former Representative Brad Miller NC chief sponsor of the original bill that developed into the CFPB They claim these leaders always wanted a commission not a single director Click the highlighted names to see that Rep Maxine Waters ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee published corrections to that doctored record Our group letter to the committee opposing HR 1266 rebuts the other false claims made in the op ed including that virtually all agencies are commissions some are and some aren t The oldest and most powerful bank regulator the OCC founded in 1864 is run by a single director While consumer protection opponents prevailed in passing HR 1266 out of committee last week they failed in their effort to steamroll more Democrats into jumping on board once it became clear that the bill s train was being driven by Wall Street lobbyists Two conservative Democrats already co sponsors did vote for the bill Over at his Newsweek blog our colleague Jim Lardner of Americans for Financial Reform has more on the fight to defend the CFPB from the Real Wolves of Wall Street We expect more attacks on the CFPB s independence and funding throughout the fall Not only will there be a second fight on this bill when leadership moves it to the House floor but Industry is also demanding that rollbacks to CFPB and other agencies be attached as riders on the budget proposal that will be negotiated over the next few months government funding authority expires on December 11 We will keep you informed Consumer Protection

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/cfpb-advances-consumer-protection-attacks-cfpb-escalate (2016-04-27)
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  • House holds stacked hearing to attack retirement savings rule proposal | PennPIRG
    As discussed in Part I A Section 2 would prevent the Department from completing its long overdue rulemaking by making that rulemaking contingent on prior unrelated rulemaking by the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC or Commission under Section 913 of the Dodd Frank Act Investors would continue to experience losses resulting from financial advisers incentives to make recommendations that are not in investors best interest with no guarantee that the Commission would ever adopt rules under Section 913 As explained in Part IB it is unreasonable to make any rulemaking contingent on SEC action in view of the SEC s longstanding rulemaking paralysis Section 3 of H R 1090 would require unnecessary redundant and burdensome reports and analysis by the Commission and would be inconsistent with APA principles of notice and comment as I discuss in Part I C I strongly support the Department s proposal and urge Congress to take proactive steps to help the Department finalize its rulemaking The Department s proposal to treat financial advisers who make investment recommendations to investors as fiduciaries will help protect investors from abusive sales practices and conflicted compensation arrangements Fiduciary status will cause broker dealers and financial advisers to violate certain prohibited transaction rules as a result of conflicted compensation arrangements that make the amount of an adviser s compensation depend on the recommendation made by the adviser However the Department has proposed exemptions from the prohibitedtransaction rules that are both workable for the industry and effective in protecting investors Wall Street has ramped up massive mythic arguments against the rule One of its witnesses Mr Paul Schott Stevens CEO of the powerful special interest known as the Investment Company Institute ICI appears in his oral responses to have even brazenly misrepresented the authority of the SEC over retirement accounts It would be very odd if he is not aware that that it has none zero nil That s why the proposed rule was drafted by the Department of Labor which does have authority over retirement savings and investments Wall Street interests led by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association SIFMA and ICI plus a phalanx of their members including the kingpins of the life insurance industry have launched a massive lobbying PR and campaign contribution campaign against the rule ICI is even replying to my tweets so at least we ve got their attention Their efforts even include an astroturf website that looks a lot like but doesn t include the same facts as the pro rule SaveOurRetirement org site again that s the one backed by Americans For Financial Reform AARP Consumer Federation of America Better Markets and other reformers including U S PIRG Here s some info from our site Thanks to loopholes in the rules that govern advice about retirement investing banks brokers mutual fund companies and insurance agents are able to portray themselves as trusted advisers while acting as self interested salespeople They can recommend investments with higher fees riskier features and lower returns because

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/house-holds-stacked-hearing-attack-retirement-savings-rule-proposal (2016-04-27)
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