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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Consumer protection
January 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Why we need a consumer protection bureau

More than 500 readers voted in Friday’s poll about whether we need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the few meaningful reforms to come out of the bubble and crash fueled by Wall Street fraud. Nearly 73 percent said we did, even though congressional Republicans have been blocking President Obama’s choice to lead the agency and have expressed hostility to the CFPB even existing.

Fresh evidence for its need came with the Sunday column by the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson. She details the suit by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto against Lender Processing Services, the giant foreclosure and default outfit that works for major banks:

With this case, she demonstrated how enlightening an in-depth study can be. The complaint, which came after a 14-month inquiry, contends that L.P.S. deceived consumers by committing widespread document execution fraud, misrepresenting its fees and making deceptive statements about its efforts to correct paperwork. Investigators interviewed former L.P.S. employees and customers and examined foreclosures the company had worked on.


Comments | More in Banking, Consumer protection, Housing

January 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Vote: The consumer protection agency

The abuses and reckless practices that caused the Great Recession led to precious few reforms. Only one has real teeth: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its aim is to police mortgage, student loan and payday lenders to prevent the kinds of behavior exemplified by the likes of Countrywide Financial.

Congressional Republicans have vehemently opposed the agency (so has the “financial services” industry) as adding more regulation to an over-regulated sector, potentially holding back lending and meddling in the free market. They blocked Elizabeth Warren, who championed and started up the bureau, then did the same to President Obama’s next nominee, Richard Cordray. Obama made a recess appointment anyway, and the agency is getting going. Cordray promises to be a vigorous watchdog.

What do you think?

About the new consumer watchdog

Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:


Comments | More in Banking, Consumer protection