At a glanceWednesday, January 16, 2019

Collection Industry News At A Glance - January 16, 2019
Wednesday January 16, 2019
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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Settles Claims with Sterling Jewelers, Inc.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) and the People of the State of New York today settled claims against Sterling Jewelers Inc.   The Bureau’s and the State’s parallel investigations found that Sterling violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 by opening store credit-card accounts without customer consent; enrolling customers in payment-protection insurance without their consent; and misrepresenting to consumers the financing terms associated with the credit-card accounts. The Bureau also found that Sterling violated the Truth in Lending Act by signing customers up for credit-card accounts without having received an oral or written request or application from them. The State of New York found that Sterling violated several provisions of state law.

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Fiserv to Buy First Data for $22 Billion, Forging Payments Giant

(Bloomberg) -- Fiserv will acquire First Data Corp. for $22 billion in a payments processing deal that marks one of the biggest financial mergers in a decade and a win for private-equity giant KKR & Co.   The deal will create the world’s largest payment processor amid a wave of consolidation in that industry, which faces threats from startups such as Square Inc. and Adyen NV. The all-stock transaction values First Data at a 29 percent premium to Tuesday’s closing price.

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Hackers broke into an SEC database and made millions from inside information, says DOJ

Federal prosecutors unveiled charges in an international stock-trading scheme that involved hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR corporate filing system. The scheme allegedly netted $4.1 million for fraudsters from the U.S., Russia and Ukraine. Using 157 corporate earnings announcements, the group was able to execute trades on material nonpublic information. Most of those filings were "test filings," which corporations upload to the SEC's website. The charges were announced Tuesday by Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, alongside the SEC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates financial crimes.

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Is Jamie Dimon warning of a downturn?

JPMorgan Chase reported what bankers want to see when it comes to lending — solid growth. But Jamie Dimon followed up with a message bankers don’t like to hear: Start preparing for a slowdown.   JPMorgan raised its loan-loss reserves by more than $300 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a reserve-build of about $100 million in the previous quarter. The reserves were almost evenly split between consumer and commercial loans.

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Ransomware attack comes with malicious ransom note

Some cybercriminals are taking an “in for a penny in for a pound” approach with a new ransomware campaign that is now under development.  MalwareHunterTeam discovered the ransomware and the fact the malicious actors kindly offer several forms of payment to obtain the decrytption key, including PayPal. However, if the victim chooses PayPal and follows the link provided they will end up on a phishing page where their account login credentials are stolen. When the target hits send a clue becomes evident that something is amiss. Instead of going to PayPal the payment goes to[.]php, which is one of the few clues that something is amiss.

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Wells Fargo now plans to operate under growth ban through 2019

Wells Fargo & Co. is planning to operate under a Federal Reserve asset cap through the end of 2019, rather than just the first half of the year, as it takes longer than anticipated to correct issues in its consumer business. “To have enough time to incorporate this feedback in our plans in a thoughtful manner and adopt and implement the final plans as accepted by the Federal Reserve and complete the third-party reviews, we’re now planning to operate under the asset cap through the end of 2019,” Wells Fargo Chief Executive Tim Sloan said Tuesday on an earnings call with analysts.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez secures powerful House committee seat that gives her a huge say over Wall Street

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has secured a spot on the House Financial Services Committee, the powerful House group that oversees Wall Street. Ocasio-Cortez confirmed the appointment on Tuesday night on Twitter, saying: "Financial Services is one of just four exclusive committees in the House. It oversees big banks, lending, & the financial sector." "I am very grateful for the opportunity to sit on this committee as a freshman, and look forward to working under the leadership of @RepMaxineWaters!" she added.

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A New Year Brings a New Vermont Law Aimed at Data Brokers and Credit Reporting Agencies

On Jan. 1, 2019, a new Vermont law intended to protect consumers by imposing new requirements on “data brokers,” companies that aggregate and sell consumer information, and credit reporting agencies took effect. Under the new law, data brokers must comply with registration, information security safeguards and reporting requirements, while credit reporting agencies are prohibited from assessing fees for establishing or removing security freezes. The Vermont legislature’s intent in enacting the new law is fourfold: (1) inform consumers about data brokers and their data collection practices; (2) protect consumer information by requiring that data brokers implement certain administrative, technical and physical safeguards; (3) prevent harm to consumers by prohibiting certain methods of acquisition and use of their information by data brokers; and (4) make it easier and less expensive for consumers to obtain and protect their credit information.

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Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to CFPB’s structure

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a lawsuit challenging the single-director structure of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. NAFCU has long advocated for a commission structure at the bureau to ensure long term continuity and stability in its policymaking.   The lawsuit – initially brought by the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association, an Alexandria, Va.-based free enterprise advocacy group – argued that the Dodd-Frank Act effectively gives "unbounded power to the CFPB," that far exceeds what is allowed under the U.S. Constitution.

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January 15th, 2019, Marietta, GA- Chris Zhao, PhD in Mathematics from Princeton University joined Sequium as  Vice President of Business Intelligence & Chief Data Officer.  Chris brings over 30 years of hands-on IT and leadership experiences in Software engineering, Data Mining, Business Intelligence, and Data Science. Prior to joining Sequium, he had been a Senior Consultant for UPS, Credit Suisse, Thomson Reuters, IPSOS, and Bain Capital, covering multiple business domains and industries. In consumer behavior analytics, Chris developed active index algorithms leveraging integrated consumer and behavioral data, and created tremendous values for his business clients. Chris was also adjunct professor at Rider University and Peking University. He is a graduate of Princeton University with Ph.D. in Mathematics.  

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CFPB to scrap key underwriting portion of payday rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to eliminate underwriting requirements in a highly anticipated revamp of its payday lending rule, according to sources familiar with the bureau’s proposal. The CFPB in October signaled its interest in "revisiting" the ability-to-repay provisions in the 2017 small-dollar lending rule issued under former Director Richard Cordray. But sources familiar with the agency's thinking say the CFPB — now led by Trump appointee Kathy Kraninger — has concluded the best approach is to remove those provisions altogether. Under the current rule, which has not yet gone fully into effect, lenders must verify a borrower's income as well as debts and other spending, to assess one's ability to repay credit while meeting living expenses.

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States Sue to Override Feds for Right to Regulate Fintech

States continue to fight the federal government for regulatory control of financial technology (fintech) companies, and the latest fintech lawsuit contends that feds don’t have the legal right to regulate them.
Fintech companies are technology startups specializing in a certain aspect of financial services. Lemonade, for example, offers renter’s insurance, SoFi refinances student loans and offers personal loans, and Kabbage provides small business loans.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to consumer protection bureau

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a Texas bank's constitutional challenge to the structure of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, passing up a case that could have led to more presidential power over an independent agency that President Donald Trump's administration already has weakened. The decision by the justices not to hear an appeal brought by State National Bank of Big Spring may not be the final word on the matter as three other cases involving the CFPB are heading toward the high court. The case was delayed in reaching the high court because it was put on hold while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was tackling a case involving mortgage servicer PHH Corp that had raised the same issues.

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OCC fights for US fintech charter in court

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) wants to dismiss the lawsuit that opposes its decision to create a special purpose charter for fintechs. As reported in September 2018, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) said it will renew its litigation efforts against the OCC concerning the charter. That followed on from the OCC accepting applications for national bank charters from non-depository fintech firms. Back in April 2018, John W. Ryan, CSBS president and CEO, said: “The OCC’s action is an unprecedented, unlawful expansion of the chartering authority given to it by Congress for national banks. If Congress had intended it to be used for another purpose, it would have explicitly authorized the OCC to do so.”

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Navient top in student loan borrower complaints in 2018

An analysis of student loan-related complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year shows one loan servicing company was the most complained about in 46 states, including Oklahoma.

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Regulators Encourage Institutions to Work with Borrowers Affected by Government Shutdown

While the effects of the federal government shutdown on individuals should be temporary, affected borrowers may face a temporary hardship in making payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans, or credit cards. As they have in prior shutdowns, the agencies encourage financial institutions to consider prudent efforts to modify terms on existing loans or extend new credit to help affected borrowers.  

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One potential winner from the government shutdown — payday lenders

While the partial government shutdown is largely bad news for U.S. companies, payday lenders look set for a boost. “We’re now getting to the point where federal employees are going to need some kind of short-term loan in some cases,” said federal budget expert Stan Collender.  In cases where these employees can’t turn to family or friends, companies that provide payday loans “are going to benefit a little bit, because there’s going to be a request for funds,” said Collender, known for his Budget Guy blog.  About 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without wages thanks to the shutdown, now in its 21st day. They are missing out on paychecks for the first time on Friday, which otherwise generally would have been payday.

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New Massachusetts law requires free ‘security freezes,’ monitoring after data breaches

Consumers will be able to receive free credit monitoring after a data breach and “security freezes” under a new law signed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. The law, which takes effect in 90 days, also requires entities that hold consumer data and have been hit with a security breach to offer free credit monitoring in some situations. Identity thieves often seek to open credit accounts with information stolen through data breaches. A “freeze” of credit files is one safeguard available to consumers.

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Should My Employees Receive Cybersecurity Training?

Cybersecurity training has quickly become extremely important for businesses. Employees don’t need to be cybersecurity experts, but they should be practicing healthy cyber habits. New-hire training and regularly scheduled refresher training courses should be established in order to instill the data security culture of your organization. As always, preparedness is the key to preventing most security breaches. It is always best to know how to avoid becoming a victim. Improper or lack of cybersecurity training can cause many problems for your business. We want you and your employees to be prepared so that you don’t become a statistic! What could happen if proper cybersecurity training isn’t implemented?

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Publishes Assessments of Ability-to-Repay and Mortgage Servicing Rules

Washington, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today published a report under section 1022(d) of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) assessing the effectiveness of the Bureau’s Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule and a separate report assessing the effectiveness of the Bureau’s mortgage servicing rule issued under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

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Credit unions respond to CFPB reports on ATR/QM and RESPA Mortgage Servicing Rules

Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2019) – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today released assessment reports on its Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) rule and the mortgage servicing rule issued under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continues to seek additional guidance and rule amendments in these areas on behalf of credit unions in need of regulatory relief. The trade association plans to provide substantive feedback on necessary modifications to the ATR/QM and RESPA servicing rule.

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1 in 5 millennials with debt expect to die without ever paying it off

The average millennial (aged 18 to 34) had about $32,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages, last year, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study. That debt can feel both crushing — and endless.

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Fintechs must compete on a level playing field, says NAFCU

NAFCU's Brad Thaler yesterday reiterated the association's call for lawmakers "to continue to scrutinize the growing fintech sector" to ensure a level playing field between fintechs and regulated financial institutions.

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Industry Events

Receivables Management Association 22nd Annual Conference

Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) 22nd Annual Conference Aria Resort & Casino 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89518 February 5-7 2019 916-482-2760

February 05 - 07 , 2019

(916) 482-2760

FTC Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century – February 2019

Federal Trade Commission

Washington , DC
February 12 - 13 , 2019

(202) 326-2222

ACA International Spring Forum & Expo 2019

ACA International

The M Resort
12300 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Henderson, NV 89044

March 13 - 15 , 2019

800- 269-1607

NCUCA – National Credit Union Collection Alliance

NCUCA - National Credit Union Collection Alliance

April 15 - 17 , 2019

Collection & Recovery Solutions 2019

Resource Management Services, Inc.

Four Seasons Hotel
3960 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas , NV
May 08 - 10 , 2019


National Creditors Bar Association 2019 Spring Conference

National Creditors Bar Association

Hilton Minneapolis
1001 S. Marquette Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

May 15 - 18 , 2019


PrivacyCon 2019

Federal Trade Commission

400 7th St., SW
Washington , DC
June 27 - 27 , 2019

(202) 326-2222

ACA International 2019 Annual Convention & Expo

ACA International

Event Location TBA

July 17 - 16 , 2019


Debt Connection Symposium & Expo 2019

Resource Management Services, Inc.

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
11011 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, Nevada

September 10 - 12 , 2019

(562) 906-1101

National Creditors Bar Association 2019 Fall Conference

National Creditors Bar Association

Marriott Marquis
Washington, Washington, DC

October 16 - 19 , 2019


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