Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 

Postings

HUD must do more to protect older reverse mortgage borrowers
Advocates sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeking stronger protections for reverse mortgage borrowers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency announced a 60-day halt on foreclosures of all FHA-insured mortgages, but this timeframe falls short in light of projections of the long-term impact of this crisis.

Congress: Pass a clean budget for FY2021
Advocates called on Congress to pass an upcoming federal budget that funds the things that Americans care about, not undo essential consumer and environmental safeguards through policy riders. Policy riders are attached to legislation and rarely have anything to do with the bill. In fact, most riders are handouts to big corporations and special favors for interest groups that could not become law on their own merits. As Congress prepares the federal budget for fiscal year 2021, no appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions should pass if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest, including policies that ensure safe and healthy food, restrain Wall Street abuses, provide access to justice and fair housing, and guarantee access to safe healthcare.

Federal deregulation attempts increase barriers to affordable housing
All over the country, housing unaffordability has become a crisis. The number of households spending more than half of their income on housing payments has skyrocketed in the past decade. Almost 50% of renters are struggling with unaffordable rents, and the homeless population is rapidly growing in high cost areas. In response to this national crisis, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a request for information to examine how regulations could be creating barriers to affordable housing. In response, advocates point out that it's not regulatory efforts, but moves to deregulate the housing and financial markets that are eroding and withdrawing crucial commonsense oversights, thereby increasing barriers to affordable housing.

OCC proposal could greenlight predatory lending schemes
Consumer Action joined a coalition of more than 100 organizations in opposing a proposed rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that would facilitate predatory loans. Specifically, the proposed rule would make it easier for payday and other high-cost lenders to use banks as a fig leaf to offer predatory loans at interest rates of 100 percent APR or higher that are prohibited under state rate cap laws. This scheme is known as “rent-a-bank” or “rent-a-charter.”

Advocates urge CFPB to create strong protections for PACE borrowers
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs offer loans for energy efficient home improvements, such as solar panels, HVAC systems, and energy efficient windows, along with more questionable items such as “cool coat paint.” PACE loans, offered through home improvement contractors, often in door-to-door sales, and secured by a property tax lien, are collected through a property tax assessment that takes priority over any existing mortgage. PACE programs must be authorized by state and local governments, but are privately run with little or no government oversight. Advocates encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use its authority to issue a rule that applies all of the Truth in Lending Act to the industry and to continue to research the PACE market in order to develop strong protections that curb widespread program abuse.

HUD’s attack on core civil rights tool opens the door for discrimination
Consumer Action joined hundreds of organizations in submitting comments in response to a Department of Housing & Urban Development proposed rule that would gut an essential civil rights tool. The Trump administration’s proposal would severely weaken a critical tool for addressing housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, called “disparate impact.” This is one of the Trump administration’s most extreme moves to dismantle anti-discrimination laws.

New proposed rule empowers debt collects and their attorneys
In an effort to update the rule that governs debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposed rule that would make debt collector harassment worse for consumers.

Revamping the CFPB's "Qualified Mortgage" standard could impact credit availability
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed changes to the Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition would allow the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) patch to sunset in 2021. Advocates warn that terminating the patch could cut off adequate access to mortgage credit to borrowers who are self-employed or more likely to work non-traditional jobs and don’t often conform to traditional QM standards, including borrowers of color and borrowers with student debt.

Relaxing fair lending laws would make it harder to prove discrimination
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to abandon its recently-proposed rule that would undermine the ability to enforce fair lending laws and prevent discrimination in the mortgage lending market.

Flawed HUD report lets Bank of America off the hook for possible lending violations
Consumer Action joined a group letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to express serious concerns regarding a recent flawed report that incorrectly concluded that Bank of America complied with HUD rules prior to selling defaulted loans through its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program. The report relied on an inadequate sampling of loans, relied completely on Bank of America’s files, and did not include critical input from U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured borrowers.

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