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  • Time To Defend CFPB as Senate Banking Committee Aims Sights at It | PennPIRG
    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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safercar gov U S PIRG maintains an appendix of these and several other searchable government consumer complaint databases in each of its six

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/time-defend-cfpb-senate-banking-committee-aims-sights-it (2016-04-27)
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  • Ed Mierzwinski | PennPIRG
    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 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/staff/xxp/ed-mierzwinski (2016-04-27)
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  • What is payday lending? | PennPIRG
    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 GOP Attack on Elizabeth Warren s Agency The Huffington Post March 1 2016 3 What does it mean to renew or roll over a payday loan The

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/what-payday-lending (2016-04-27)
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  • Kathryn Lee | PennPIRG
    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 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 communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/staff/usp/kathryn-lee (2016-04-27)
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  • Lowering your APR might be easier than you think | PennPIRG
    coworker who has Discover called and had better success He started out with 19 percent APR When he called he was offered a permanent APR of 16 percent and even better a yearlong promotion of 3 2 percent APR He took this yearlong rate much lower than his previous rate and will call back one year from now to renegotiate before it jumps back up to 19 percent As he put it I was surprised by how easy it was to lower my APR I thought I was missing something but no it s actually just really easy if you make the call Regardless of the outcome there s no harm in calling to try to lower your APR Most credit card companies are very competitive and customers hold more power than they might think While it is always best to pay off your credit card balance in full or as much as you can afford a lower APR means you pay less interest If you have more than one card make your biggest payments on the cards with the lowest APRs If you pay only the minimum payment you are running on a debt treadmill the bank wins and you lose From our study the following factors played a role in successfully negotiating APR Length of time with a particular card longer is better Credit limit on that card a higher limit is better Unpaid balance to limit ratio on that card how maxed out the cardholder is a lower balance making a lower ratio is better Unpaid balance to limit ratio on all cards a lower balance is better Number of times an individual missed or paid late on a loan or a card other than the one for which they were calling fewer is better Here is a sample script you can use to try this out Do you have the authority to change my interest rate If the answer is no simply ask May I speak to someone who can Your supervisor perhaps Thank you Hi my name is I ve been a good customer of current credit card company for number of years but my APR is too high I have offers of x from competing credit card company A and y from competing credit card company B I ve had a good experience with you but I m considering switching I would like to have my APR lowered Can you can lower my interest rate Could you reduce the interest rate on my account to percent If they offer you just a point lower but don t get you to your target rate say Can you do any better If it s the best that they can do move on to the next step talking to a supervisor 1 Nerd Wallet American Household Credit Debt Study 2015 2 Ibid 3 CreditCards com Poll Most who ask get late fees waived rates reduced March 2016 4 U S PIRG Deflate Your Rate How to Lower

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/lowering-your-apr-might-be-easier-you-think (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection PA Matters Despite Improvements still Trouble in Toyland The annual Trouble in Toyland report from the U S Public Interest Research Group shows there are still toxic toys on the shelves despite improvements Keep Reading Pages first previous 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Facts About Toll Road Privatization Across Pennsylvania cash strapped governments are struggling to plug gaping holes in their budgets scarred by the impacts of the economic crisis At the same time Pennsylvania s roads and bridges remain congested and in desperate need of repair This is PennPIRG s fact sheet about the effects of Toll Road Privatization Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Facts About Toll Road Privatization Across Pennsylvania cash strapped governments are struggling to plug gaping holes in their budgets scarred by the impacts of the economic crisis At the same time Pennsylvania s roads and bridges remain congested and in desperate need of repair This is PennPIRG s fact sheet about the effects of Toll Road Privatization Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland In 2008 Congress responded to an unprecedented wave of recalls of toys and other children s products by passing the first major overhaul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission since it was established during the Nixon Administration By passing the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act CPSIA in August 2008 Congress not only expanded the agency s budget it also gave the CPSC more tools to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable and speed recalls moved toward banning toxic lead and phthalates except in trace amounts and greatly improved import surveillance Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Pennsylvania Small Businesses at Risk America s small businesses stand at the forefront of innovation Our entrepreneurs are the first to adopt new technologies and take new approaches in old industries As engines of job creation small businesses are the leading edge that pushes our economy forward They are also unfortunately on the front lines of the health care crisis Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund and Media and Democracy Coalition Consumer Protection A Public Interest Internet Agenda Connecting our entire nation via high speed broadband will bring remarkable economic social cultural personal and other benefits Robust economic development job creation improved health care at lower costs enhanced educational opportunities increased homeland security and public safety reduced energy consumption and pollution a reinvigorated democracy and more open government these are just a few of the benefits that will flow from our nation linking its entire population to the Internet at broadband speed Keep Reading Pages first previous 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 next last Blog Post Testimony in Support of Smoke free Workplaces The U S Surgeon General Richard H Carmona issued a comprehensive scientific report which concludes that there is no risk free level of exposure to secondhand smoke The report finds that even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause immediate harm and

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=14 (2016-04-27)
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  • About PennPIRG | PennPIRG
    Oliver helps credit bureaus see why this is a problem and that Judy still hasn t been able to resolve her mixed up identity Keep Reading Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last News Release U S PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Make VW Pay Transportation Framework for VW Settlement Announced Statement by Mike Litt Consumer Program Advocate at U S PIRG Education Fund on todays announced VW settlement For more details on what a strong settlement agreement ought to look like please see the open letter that we released earlier this week with other consumer and environmental groups Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Public Health Food Taco Bell Moves Away From Chicken Raised on Medically Important Antibiotics Taco Bell will no longer serve chicken raised on medically important antibiotics in U S locations starting in 2017 The announcement was included in a release from Taco Bell s parent company Yum Brands and comes amid widespread consumer demand and concern from the medical community about the overuse of antibiotics on livestock and poultry Taco Bell s announcement will put major market pressure on the meat industry to stop overusing antibiotics and should push its partner brands KFC and Pizza Hut to have stronger commitments as well Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Make VW Pay Leading Groups Send Criteria for Evaluating VW Settlement Four leading consumer environmental and public health organizations wrote an open letter in advance of the April 21 st deadline set by U S District Judge Charles R Breyer for a proposal that deals with Volkswagen s emission scandal Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice U S PIRG federal legislative director Jerry Slominski on The Release of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection Financial Reform More Than 100 Groups Insist on No Riders in Spending Legislation The day before the White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal a coalition of more than 100 groups including U S PIRG sent a letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders Keep Reading Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Result Health Care Young People Now Covered This year the federal health care reforms that U S PIRG worked to win have started to pay off for young people In the past teens saw their premiums soar or were denied coverage when they turned 19 even if they d been insured their whole lives Now they can remain on their parents plans until age 26 Keep Reading Result Food Researching How Tax Dollars Become Twinkies U S PIRG research found that since 1995 17 billion in agricultural subsidies have gone to corn syrup and other junk food ingredients That

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/pap/about (2016-04-27)
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  • All Issues | PennPIRG
    to delay competition and keep prices high This widespread pay for delay scheme needs to be put to an end Read more about Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs Issue Consumer Protection Label GMO Foods While the U S remains the only industrialized country without mandatory GMO labeling some major grocery stores like Whole Foods have committed to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients But labeling GMO foods shouldn t be the exception it should be the law Read more about Label GMO Foods Issue Consumer Protection Make VW Pay Read more about Make VW Pay Issue Health Care Making Health Care Work Now the fight for health care reform is in Harrisburg and so are the health care industry s lobbyists At stake is how we set up a new insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania the single biggest tool we have to clean up health care Read more about Making Health Care Work Issue Consumer Protection Protecting Consumers PennPIRG s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti consumer practices and unsafe products Read more about Protecting Consumers Issue Budget Consumer Protection Transportation Protecting Public Assets Road parking and other privatization proposals offer a hard to resist quick fix for state budget and transportation challenges But poorly conceived privatization deals can have hidden costs and big potential downsides for the public Read more about Protecting Public Assets Pages 1 2 next last 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues (2016-04-27)
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