At a glanceWednesday, March 17, 2021

Collection Industry News At A Glance - March 17, 2021
Wednesday March 17, 2021
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1.8 Million May Lose Their Home: Why Forbearance is a Temporary Fix for America’s Backlog of Foreclosures

President Joe Biden directed federal housing regulators to extend mortgage forbearance programs for an additional six months and prolong foreclosure relief programs.

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Ohio Governor Signs Statute of Limitations Bill

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill to reduce the statute of limitations (SOL) and it will take effect in 90 days.

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CFPB Takes Action Against Operators of An Unlawful Student Loan Debt-Relief Scheme

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today sued a student loan debt relief company, its owner, and manager for allegedly charging thousands of consumers more than $3.5 million in illegal upfront fees. The lawsuit filed in federal district court accuses California-based Student Loan Pro, Judith Noh, and Syed Gilani of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). FNZA Marketing, LLC, is also named as a relief defendant. Student Loan Pro, which operated from 2015 through 2019, provided federal student loan debt-relief services to consumers nationwide.

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Mortgage applications continue to fall as rates climb

Mortgage applications dropped for the second straight week — falling 2.2%, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The continued increase in mortgage rates is to blame, according to MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting Joel Kan. Rates have jumped north of 3%, with most recent reports showing it hovering around 3.5%. New home applications are down as well, as builders are still suffering from missing construction crews and the skyrocketing price of lumber and building materials. Home prices in general are staying high, as well.

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Americans paid off $83 million in credit card debt in 2020

WASHINGTON (SBG) - Even as thousands of people lost jobs and businesses went under, the pandemic did have on unexpected financial upside in 2020. While some families used funds from stimulus checks to buy food or pay rent, millions of others used it to pay down debt. Before 2020, full time working mom and part time chef Autumn Perry-MacClaron was drawing in student loan debt.

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CFPB rescinds 2020 policy statement to better protect against abusive practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has rescinded a policy statement issued in January 2020 to better protect consumers from abusive acts or practices. Specifically, the CFPB rescinded its “Statement of Policy Regarding Prohibition on Abusive Acts or Practices.” CFPB officials said the 2020 policy statement was inconsistent with the bureau’s duty to enforce Congress’s standard. Rescinding it will better serve the CFPB’s objective to protect consumers from abusive practices.

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WebRecon Stats for Jan 2021: Lawsuit complaints ? down from 2020, ↕️ mixed from previous month…

It’s something, right? All three of the major statutes are down in January from where they were a year ago at this time: FDCPA (-24.3%), FCRA (-4.4%) and TCPA (-55.6%). Of course, FCRA and TCPA are both up over December 2020 (+3.1% and +23.2% respectively) and FDCPA is only down by .2%, so it is not terribly newsworthy.

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Congress Urged to Stop Debt Collectors From Snatching Relief Checks

Direct payments from the newly approved coronavirus relief package began landing in people’s bank accounts with striking quickness this weekend, but a glaring shortcoming of the American Rescue Plan caused by the arcane procedural tool that Democrats used to pass the bill could prevent checks from reaching many vulnerable households.

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NRA Group Partners with Interactions to Drive Collections Industry Forward

FRANKLIN, MA – March 16, 2021: Interactions, one of the world’s largest standalone conversational artificial intelligence (AI) companies, today announced that NRA Group, a leading accounts receivable management (ARM) company, has deployed a sophisticated Interactions Virtual Collection Agent (VCA) in record time. Progressing from contract signature to first call in a few months, NRA Group is accelerating the impact of its REV-TECH™ channels using the VCA for dramatic improvements in efficiency and profitability.

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Mortgage forbearance ticks down to 5.14%

The industry is now less than two weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the CARES Act, which provided borrowers with federally backed mortgages the option to receive forbearance for up to 180 days. After many extensions and exits, the Mortgage Bankers Association estimates 2.6 million homeowners are still in some form of forbearance, though that number continues to slowly fall. As of March 7, servicers’ forbearance portfolio volume sits at 5.14% – down six basis points from the week prior.

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Fannie Mae Getting Stricter with Investment Property Loans

If you typically use conventional loans to finance your investments, take note: Starting April 1, it may get a lot harder. According to a letter sent by Fannie Mae (OTCMKTS: FNMA) to lenders this week, the GSE is delivering a one-two punch to investors, both tightening its lending standards on second home- and investment-backed loans, as well as cutting back purchases of these mortgages overall.

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ACA Supports Intent of Bill to Remove Paid Medical Debts from Consumers’ Credit Reports

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry reintroduces legislation seeking to improve consumers’ access to credit and amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The legislation, with some more research and clarification, could be beneficial for consumers and the accounts receivable management industry.

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Senate Democrats plead with Biden to erase student debt with executive order

Senate Democrats on Monday urged President Joe Biden to use his executive powers to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt following the passage of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, which included a provision to make student loan forgiveness tax-free until 2025.

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DelBene Introduces National Consumer Data Privacy Legislation

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act, legislation that would create a national data privacy standard to protect our most personal information and bring our laws into the 21st Century. 

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Attorney General Becerra Announces Approval of Additional Regulations That Empower Data Privacy Under the California Consumer Privacy Act

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced additional regulations approved by the Office of Administrative Law that advance protections for Californians seeking to control the sale of their personal information. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives consumers new tools and rights for protecting their data privacy.

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Defendants in Two Phantom Debt Cases Will Be Banned from Debt Collection Industry In FTC Settlement

Defendants in two Federal Trade Commission cases will be permanently banned from the debt collection industry as part of settlements resolving FTC charges they threatened consumers with legal action to collect on debts that did not exist.

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Will private student loans be forgiven? 3 ways borrowers can manage their debt now

If you have federal student loans, your monthly payments are on pause at least through September 30 thanks to President Joe Biden extended the loan payment suspension period soon after entering office. And while that can certainly provide some much-needed loan relief if a student loan borrower was suffering undue hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not a permanent solution by any means — especially if you were struggling with student loan repayment before COVID-19.

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What Is FTC’s Course Under Biden?

The new acting FTC chair, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, recently signaled that the FTC may increase enforcement and penalties in the privacy and data security realm. Slaughter pointed to several areas of focus for the FTC this year, which companies will want to keep in mind:

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FDIC and University of Santa Clara to Host ‘Big Data’ Webinar Series

WASHINGTON – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the University of Santa Clara today announced a series of public webinars to explore the opportunities and challenges in leveraging big data for the banking industry. Banking on Data: Great Possibilities, Great Responsibilities is a series of five webinars scheduled throughout the year to include industry leaders, academics and technologists on the use of new data analytics to improve the efficiency, competitiveness, and security of the nation’s banking and financial system.

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CFPB reverses course on UDAAP enforcement

Under former Director Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took frequent action against companies who had violated its Unfair, Deceptive, and Abusive Acts and Practices standards. But many in the financial services industry complained that the standards were ambiguous and requested clarification from the bureau. In January of 2020, then-Director Kathy Kraninger provided that clarity, announcing that the bureau was changing its approach to enforcing its standards and limiting its own ability to pursue claims for abusive financial practices.

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It’s Time to Talk about Privacy and License-Plate Readers (Again)

They help catch criminals, but they also keep track of where you're going and when. A Washington Post investigation found few rules limiting how data is used. "The documents paint a startling picture of a technology deployed with too few rules that is becoming a tool for mass routine location tracking and surveillance," the ACLU said on its website. "As the technology spreads, the ACLU calls for the adoption of legislation and law enforcement agency policies adhering to strict privacy principles to prevent the government from tracking our movements on a massive scale."

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MINNEAPOLIS – DCM Services, LLC (“DCMS”) and its sister company, Forte, LLC, the industry leaders in data and contact management solutions for the estate and specialty receivables recovery market, celebrate the launch of a major upgrade to the Probate Finder OnDemand application

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White House warns organizations have ‘hours, not days’ to fix vulnerabilities as Microsoft Exchange attacks increase

The Biden administration warned Friday that organizations face enormous risks from the recently disclosed Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities that have affected thousands of private organizations.

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RMAI Issues Guidance on Federal Stimulus Funds

With the pending release of an additional round of COVID-19 federal stimulus funds to struggling U.S. consumers, RMAI continues to advise our members to avoid seeking these funds as a potential source of payment on outstanding consumer obligations. This is the same guidance RMAI shared with our members on April 13, 2020 and December 17, 2020.

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U.S. Foreclosure Activity Sees An Uptick In February 2021, But Still Down Significantly From Last Year

IRVINE, Calif., March 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- ATTOM Data Solutions, licensor of the nation's most comprehensive foreclosure data and parent company to RealtyTrac (, a foreclosure listings portal, today releasedits February 2021 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 11,281 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — up 16 percent from a month ago but down 77 percent from a year ago.

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Forgiven Student Loan Debt Will Be Tax-Free

A small but significant provision in the stimulus package signed by President Biden will temporarily exclude forgiven student loans from taxes, a move that could make it easier for Biden to forgive some student debts.

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Attorney General James Holds American Medical Collection Agency Responsible for 2019 Data Breach

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced an agreement between a bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general from around the nation and the Westchester County debt collection agency Retrieval-Masters Creditors Bureau, d/b/a American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), that resolves a multistate investigation into the company’s 2019 data breach.

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BankThink: How the CFPB can better regulate data sharing

As the Biden administration takes steps to bolster the economic wellbeing of American households, a critical question must be addressed: How to provide consumers safe, equal access to the digital financial system?

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rescinds Abusiveness Policy Statement to Better Protect Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced it is rescinding its January 24, 2020 policy statement, “Statement of Policy Regarding Prohibition on Abusive Acts or Practices.” Going forward, the CFPB intends to exercise its supervisory and enforcement authority consistent with the full scope of its statutory authority under the Dodd-Frank Act as established by Congress. The CFPB has made these changes to better protect consumers and the marketplace from abusive acts or practices, and to enforce the law as Congress wrote it.

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Why executives are suddenly talking about “buy now pay later”

Corporate executives are talking more than ever about “buy now pay later”—the slick digital lending that is a hit with Gen Z and millennial shoppers. The question is whether it will disrupt the $8 trillion credit card industry, and whether these loans will encourage a new generation to borrow more than they can afford.

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California Applauds Appointment of U.S. Education Secretary Cardona and Joins States in Asking for Better Student Loan Protections

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) joined financial regulators across the country to congratulate newly-confirmed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and invited him to partner with states in protecting student loan borrowers by
reversing policies and guidelines issued by the previous administration.

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US jobless claims fall to 712,000 as pace of layoffs eases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 712,000, the lowest total since early November, evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs amid a decline in confirmed coronavirus cases and signs of an improving economy.

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Virginia Joins California with Passage of New State Data Privacy Law

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Virginia became the second U.S. state to enact a broad data privacy regime after Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) into law. Virginia follows California, which became the first state to pass a comprehensive data privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), in June 2018. The CCPA became operative January 1, 2020 after several amendments necessary for its implementation, which we previously covered here and here.  (California is set to enact another privacy law entitled the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) - to update the CCPA in November 2020.)  There is also a raft of other state privacy laws in the pipeline, and Virginia’s new law aligns with a trend toward states ratcheting up broadly applicable privacy-related legal obligations.

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Today’s mortgage refinance rates continue to hover at historical lows | March 11, 2021

Based on data compiled by Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, current mortgage refinance rates have remained unchanged compared to yesterday’s. Mortgage rates continue to hover at historic lows, with 30-year rates down slightly from 3.125% last week. Average rates for 30-year refinance have held firm at 2.875% for six consecutive days.

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Only 32 student loan borrowers — ever — have qualified for full forgiveness through an income-driven repayment plan

Only 32 borrowers have ever qualified for full student loan forgiveness in federal income-driven repayment programs, according to a study by the National Consumer Law Center released Monday.

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State program cuts student loan debt on path to homeownership

A new statewide program aims to help young adults saddled with student loan debt become first-time homeowners. The Illinois Housing Development Authority’s $25 million SmartBuy fund will provide up to $40,000 per person to pay down student loans, according to Crain’s. The measure will help potential buyers secure a mortgage by lowering their debt-to-income ratios, according to the report.

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Private debt collectors can seize $1,400 coronavirus relief checks to pay creditors

WASHINGTON – A warning for Americans who will receive $1,400 stimulus checks under the third round of direct COVID-relief payments: If you have unpaid debts, creditors may come after your money.

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Industry Events

RMAI 2021 Annual Conference – In Person and Virtual

Receivables Management Association International (RMAi)

Las Vegas, Nevada
April 12 - 15 , 2021

Collection and Recovery Solutions 2021 (CRS2021)

Resource Management Services, Inc.

Produced by: Resource Management Services, Inc. 10440 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 2 Santa Fe Springs, CA. 90670-8235
Las Vegas , Nevada
May 12 - 14 , 2021

562-906-1101 - This event has been tentatively postponed - to be held either later this year, or next year.