Over the past decade or so we’ve all seen big employers doing all they can to get more involved (for better or worse) in the personal lives of their employees. If you work for a big company, there’s a good chance that you are familiar with this trend. Maybe you have to enroll for a wellness program in order to qualify for cheaper insurance through your employer. This is very common in corporate America these days. But there is a new type of wellness program that employers are starting to roll out to their employees – financial wellness/education services.girl, young woman having financial problems

Capital One, Chace and BOA are just a few of the big banks that are researching the potential to offer different types of financial education in the workplace. These financial firms seem to be responding to a real demand that exists. A recent Harris poll indicates that 86 percent of employees said that it is “important for employers to offer financial wellness programs. About 93 percent of big companies stated that they want to assist their employees more and to help them get a better understanding of their finances.

The McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union of New York has become one of the biggest supporters of this type of program. This credit union began to offer a course called “Financial Wellness in the Workplace” to a medium sized company in New York earlier in the year. This program doesn’t just offer assistance with the company’s 401k program; it offers training on debt, credit, buying homes, budgeting and much more.

The President and CEO of the credit union, Shawn Gilfeder said, “Folks are clamoring for this and they just don’t know where to find it. We do think the niche here is the workplace environment. If you ask the employees if they’d pay a sum of money to have that opportunity individually, they would say no. But if it’s offered in the workplace, they’re happy to participate.”

A report done for the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, delved into financial wellness programs that are offered by nine separate employers and discovered that they made efforts to offer valid information to people that was not commercially driven or biased. This report also found that employees who get involved with retirement planning seminars are more financially literate and many of these folks actually alter their retirement savings plan after attending educational seminars. Some even delayed their retirements once they found that they did not have enough money saved up.

The McGraw Hill Credit Union program eases participants into the process by doing lunch and learn sessions that touch on topics like identity protection, credit scores and smart budgeting tips. There are nearly 300 employees that participate in person, and more that participate remotely. The folks behind this program have been taken aback by how coworkers share information and talk about important financial topics that usually don’t get much conversation time.

Education is always a good thing. The thing that people will need to make sure is that they are learning about their finances via educators that are not trying to sell services or to offer biased opinions about these topics. And employers need to make sure that they don’t get too invasive about how they offer these services to their employees. Allowing people to participate is one thing; forcing them to – as many companies do with their health and wellness programs – is not going to sit well with people. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how many employers jump on the bandwagon and begin offering these types of educational services to their workers in the near future.

CarHop has been known as one of the country’s most popular auto dealers that allows buyers to “buy-here-pay-here.” The company has been in business for years, and has sold thousands of cars to people during that time. It comes as a bit of a surprise, then, to learn that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced that they are taking legal action against CarHop. According to the CFPB, CarHop and its in-house financing company, Universal Acceptance Corporation, are guilty of failing to provide positive and accurate credit information to consumers.auto750

Allegedly, CarHop and their financing company promised consumers that it would provide the positive, accurate credit information to the major credit reporting companies. The investigation by the CFPB has revealed that inaccurate credit information was provide on more than 84,000 accounts, and that the inaccurate reporting was a systematic issue within the companies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has officially ordered the companies to stop the illegal activity and to pay a civil penalty of $6,465,000.

The Director of the CFPB is named Richard Cordray. He has been somewhat of a lightning rod of controversy in recent years. However, he has never backed down from going on record with what he thinks about these types of financial misdeeds. When asked about the actions against CarHop, Cordray said, “Many consumers went to CarHop because they needed transportation and wanted to build up a good record of paying their bills. But CarHop and Universal Acceptance Corporation thwarted those expectations by inaccurately furnishing negative credit information. The CFPB will not stand for companies whose sloppy actions jeopardize consumers’ credit.”

CarHop is based in Minnesota and also goes by the name of Interstate Auto Group. This dealer is amongst the largest buy-here-pay-here auto dealers in the United States. These types of auto dealers not only sell cars, but they originate and service the car loans as well. There are over 50 CarHop locations spread across 15 different states. The majority of CarHop’s customers are folks with poor credit scores or virtually no credit histories. These types of consumers regularly rely on subprime or deep subprime lines of credit. These types of loans are often marketed as easy ways for consumers to rebuild/build their credit scores. CarHop apparently promised that it would provide all positive payment histories to the major credit reporting agencies. Many of the customers who regularly purchase vehicles from CarHop do so due to the fact that they have severe financial obstacles to deal with or bad credit scores.

The Universal Acceptance Corporation operates on behalf of this popular auto dealer. This company provides consumer account information to the big credit reporting agencies every month. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, during their investigation, discovered that the company reported information that was obviously false. It is believed that the company provided inaccurate information to the credit agencies for over 84,000 consumer accounts. This apparently went on between January of 2009 and September of 2013.

Reporting inaccurate information to credit reporting companies can cause harm to consumer credit scores. Bad information could cause credit scores to drop and may even prevent consumers from obtaining good lines of credit, or favorable job positions. As such, it is easy to understand why such a large line was leveled by the CFPB. The public will have to stay tuned to find out whether or not CarHop is going to stay in business and whether or not their daily operations, policies and procedures will change due to the actions taken by the CFPB.

Man-standing-at-lighted-door-within-green-matrix-postAlabama recently put a new database into action that helps the state to track payday lending. According to this database, over 462,000 payday loans, for a total of $146 million were processed over a ten week period. The group that tracks this activity, the Alabama Banking Department, started tracking payday loans back in August, after being victorious in a court battle to create the database to help enforce existing regulations that put a $500 cap on payday loans for consumers at any given time. The numbers collected so far help to provide an inside look at how much money consumers borrow from payday lending companies in the state of Alabama.

One “consumer advocate” who has petitioned for more regulations on payday lenders, Shay Farley, said, “Anyone, who looks at these numbers, I challenge them not to have their eyes opened because it is shocking,” with regards to the information from the state database. Those who are critical of payday lenders say that the state should take additional actions to provide additional protection for borrowers from what they describe as a “debt trap.” Representatives of the payday lending industry, however, say that the numbers provided are proof positive that the payday lending industry is already on a decline because of the increased regulations that have already been put into place.

When consumers take out a payday loan, they pay a flat fee – usually around $15 for every $100 that they borrow – and then pay the loan principal plus the fees back in about 10 to 14 days. Those who are critical of the payday lending industry have argued the borrowers wind up trapped in debt because they take out multiple loans to pay off their initial payday loans. According to Farley, the people of Alabama are well “ahead of the curve” with regards to payday loan usage.

The state of South Carolina, which has a population similar to that of Alabama, along with similar loan limitations, processed about one million payday loans the entire fiscal year of 2014. The state of Washington, processed just over 871,000 payday loans the same year. Farley went on to describe her opinion about these differences, saying, “In other states that have moved for reforms, there has been no rioting in the streets to bring back payday loans.” Again, however, payday lending industry insiders have countered that statement by saying that the numbers prove that people desperately need the financial services that payday lending companies offer, and that the industry itself is taking serious hits because of the new regulation.

Max Wood is the owners of several Cash Spot stores in Alabama cities. Wood says that figures he has been privy to show that about 300,000 people take out payday loans in Alabama. According to Wood, “There is no other choice for those 300,000 people for all practical purposes. Wood went on to argue that Alabama was not out of line with regards to citizens’ usage of payday loans, and that the numbers revealed by the database were not surprising in the least to those who really understand the industry. It looks like the public fights about payday lending in Alabama are not going to slow down any time in the near future. However, those consumer advocate groups need to realize just how much lower income people depend on these loans in the great state of Alabama, and that new regulations need to balance compassion with common sense in order to be truly effective for all parties involved.

10260485-fast-payday-loans-guaranteedSome people and organizations out there want to get rid of payday lending companies altogether. These critics consider short term, small dollar loans to be predatory. Other folks simply consider payday loans to be yet another financial product available to provide people with a line of credit. Payday loans can get passionate responses from both sides of the fence, but no matter how you slice it, people should have the right to take out these types of loans in a free society that is based upon capitalism, like ours.

Payday loans were originally created to provide a less stringent financial alternative to help people who are having immediate financial issues, need fast access to money, and may not have access to lending services from mainstream banks and credit companies. People routinely use these types of loans to take care of expenses when they simply don’t have enough money in the bank or on hand to deal with pressing, perhaps unforeseen expenses. The majority of payday lending companies require their customers to have steady income, bank accounts and to be at least 21 years of age. Payday lenders even routinely skip on using Social Security numbers when processing loans. Why is it, then, that so many people are opposed to the payday lending industry?

People who are up on their soapboxes with regards to payday loans often cite that these loans force borrowers to pay very high interest rates and that the loans themselves are just plain predatory in nature. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report in 2014 that stated that 58 percent of all payday loan customers receive government assistance. This fact would almost lead someone to believe that payday loans add to the financial difficulties that these people face, if it weren’t for the other facts that are not being taken into consideration.

unsecured-debt-consolidationWhat these payday loan opponents are not bringing to the table, however, is the fact that people have a very difficult time getting approved for loans. Loan approvals are not only complicated for people with bad credit scores and lower incomes, but they are even hard to get for people who are flush with cash and who have higher credit ratings. The banks have increased the stringency of their approval processes and they have prevented millions of people from getting loans, and made it difficult, at best, for millions of other borrowers. In a nutshell, this increased scrutiny on the part of mainstream lenders has made getting access to emergency cash an impossibility for millions of unbanked and underbanked households in the United States.

Our economy, at its most basic level, is built on the philosophy of supply and demand. In a free market, businesses are created to help fill the demand of customers. Since the late 1990s, the use of payday lenders has increased over 500 percent. This industry now brings in about $50 billion annually. Of course, this just goes to show that the demand is there. Why is it, then, that there are so many government watchdog groups that are hell bent on getting rid of the companies that supply a service to so many people? And doing so under the guise of protecting consumers to boot??

The people who take out payday loans are not doing so blindly. The lenders are not using predatory lending practices. At the end of the day, people need access to money for emergency expenses. If they cannot get this access via mainstream banks, then they need alternatives. The CFPB and federal government simply have no business making it more difficult for these consumers to get access to lines of credit when they need them the most.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken new steps to introduce stiff legislation on smaller dollar lending companies, better known as payday lenders. Just recently, the government watchdog group made an announcement that they were proposing new rules that lenders would have to follow. These rules revolve around borrowers having the ability to pay back any loans that they take out, and the lenders would have to be the ones to make sure consumers are able to make timely payments. The CFPB also proposed a new rule that would that would limit the collections actions lenders can use for any fees that are “in the excess.”

“Today we are taking an important step toward ending the debt traps that plague millions of consumers across the country,” said the director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray. “Too many short-term and longer-term loans are made based on a lender’s ability to collect and not on a borrower’s ability to repay. The proposals we are considering would require lenders to take steps to make sure consumers can pay back their loans. These common sense protections are aimed at ensuring that consumers have access to credit that helps, not harms them.”

This announcement has caused a bit of a tongue wagging in recent days, though some folks seem to be reacting positively to the proposals. The editors at the New York Times ran a story with the headline of: “Progress on Payday Lending” as a way to chime in on the proposal from the CFPB. The Washington Post also chimed in, with an article that said, “Payday lending is ripe for rules.”

“If you lend out money, you have to first make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back,” said President Obama with regards to the new rules. “We don’t mind seeing folks make a profit. But if you’re making that profit by trapping hard-working Americans into a vicious cycle of debt, then you got to find a new business model, you need to find a new way of doing business.”consumer-financial-protection-bureau-logo

Nobody wants to see Americans caught in these supposed ‘debt traps’ however, the rhetoric that supporters of the CFPB’s proposals use is obviously crafted to get people behind these new rules. It really comes down to certain folks in the government and in watchdog organizations that have decided to wage what they believe to be a righteous war against payday lenders. Being as most people, even the highly educated folks out there, really don’t understand how the payday lending industry works, it is easy to see how opponents of the industry are able to get people all riled up.

A recent piece in the New York Times reported that the proposed rule changes would only affect a billion dollar industry that ‘serves the working poor’ of this country. That is s common, though misleading view of the payday lending industry. A recent study found that 80 percent of people who take out short term loans make more than 25 thousand dollars a year, and that nearly 40 percent make more than 40 thousand dollars a year. Only around 18 percent of regular payday borrowers bring in less than 25 thousand dollars per year. That 18 percent is what most people envision when they are told about the plight of the ‘working poor’ in the United States. Seeing as how this group really only accounts for a minority of the people who take out payday loans, it is easy to see how the CFPB and its supporters are skewing the facts to tug at peoples’ heart strings. The fact of the matter is that most borrowers are able to pay back their loans, aware of the fees that they will pay and responsible enough to make their loan payments on time.

With Obama being one of the biggest cheerleaders for the CFPB, it looks like everyone will have to watch this bureau get their way for some time to come. But what price will people pay in order to give this organization even more power than it already has?

Financial times have been difficult (at best) over the past decade. From steady unemployment to a shaky investing outlook, people have been more worried about finances in the recent past than they have ever been before. Times have even been tough for providers of alternative financial services. With the DOJ using Operation Chokepoint to crack down on small dollar lending companies and check cashing facilities, the providers of alternative financial services have had to fight tooth and nail in order to assist the nearly 70 million people who are either underbanked or completely unbanked.

LA_at_dawnFor anyone who has been keeping tabs on things, the battle that non-bank financial service providers have had to go through, going all the way back to when the Comptroller of Currency set out on a mission to outright ban short term, small dollar loans from dispersing funds via big bank branches. While the office of the Comptroller obviously had their own agenda and job to do, with regards to taking a stance on the shady practices of SOME payday lenders, they certainly made life difficult for the legitimate short term lending companies too. Unlike what we’ve seen in recent years, with the rise of Operation Choke Point, it is easy to see that the past actions of the Comptroller’s office were not necessarily an attack on payday lenders, but rather was a step to prevent states from regulating national banks. Whether alternative financial service providers like what the Comptroller did or not, their policy was put in place to protect the interests of the entire national banking industry.

However, things could have been handled different with regards to thinking about the people who regularly take out payday loans or use other alternative financial services. Banks should actually do what they can to encourage small dollar lending, check cashing and other financial services that are regularly used by millions of people all across this land. The banks could do a lot of good, not just by encouraging these types of loans via third party lenders, but by directly offering these types of services to low and middle income customers who regularly make use of the services of both online and local alternative financial service companies.

There is a huge market out there for these types of financial services. Let’s take a look at this industry to better gauge just how huge this market is. According to information from the FDIC’s National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked:

Families that bring in less than $30K every year account for over 70 percent of the underbanked households in this country.

With these stats in mind, it should be apparent to the powers that be that there is a desperate need that mainstream financial service providers simply cannot meet at the present time, and millions of families out there who depend on the money that they can only get through payday lenders and other alternative financial service companies. Until the national banking industry can step up to the plate and offer these types of services to the millions of people who need them the most, it is in the government’s best interest to stop persecuting small lending companies, but instead to start encouraging them to be able to provide the unbanked and underbanked people of this country with the financial services they so desperately need to get by from week to week.

People have a habit of thinking that they are always smarter than that ‘other guy.’ Whether it is the coworker who supports a different professional sports team than you do, or that uncle of yours who has radical political views, we all seem to think that we usually know what’s best for other people. Let’s face it – getting up on a soapbox and looking down on others can often be a real rush for some people. This has become even more obvious in the Information Age, as everyone and their sister has a point of view about things that they are sure is more informed than yours.payday-loans-61

This all applies to payday loans. Many people seem to think that payday lenders are predators and that the people who take out loans from these lenders are ill informed and in need of rescuing. The lenders charge supposedly sky-high interest rates and “trap” their customers into a never ending cycle of debt. At least, that’s how the story gets told online time and time again. Oh, and those customers who take out payday loans?? They simply don’t know enough about finances to understand just how much they are screwing up by taking out payday loans, right?

This mindset is poisonous, judgmental and, as it turns out, not at all correct. Recent information that was released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seems to reveal the truth about both payday lenders and their customers, and this truth is not at all what you’ve heard or read about in all of those online exposes or local news stories. In fact, it looks like payday lenders are providing very much needed financial services, and, contrary to popular belief, the people who take out payday loans are actually pretty financially savvy.

The CFPB recently analyzed the complaints that they have received over the past three years. When all of the data was laid out on the table, it appears that payday lending really isn’t a problem at all. In fact, only about one percent of the consumer complaints logged online had anything to do with payday loans. The vast majority of complaints were related to mainstream financial services, like mortgages and regular old credit cards. Debt collection was also factored in, and those three areas all added up to over 66 percent of the complaints that were officially logged to the CFPB. This data is backed up by data from the FTC that pretty much reveals the same stats.

The date from the CFPB also disclosed that if people use overdraft protection – the mainstream financial alternative to payday or short term loans – and the APR terms used for payday loans were also used for those overdrafts that people would be much worse off. The APR on the typical overdraft protection fee would come in at an astonishing 1700 percent, while the average APR on a payday loan is only around 350 percent. The CFPB also noted that since people understand payday loan fees as flat, one time fees, rather than bloated APRs that they are better equipped to pay back their loans on time, without any misunderstanding.

We know that the websites and news organizations that love to beat up on payday lenders are not going to change their tactics any time soon. But knowing that even an organization like the CFPB understands that payday loans are not the scourge of the financial world, like so many people pretend that it is, goes a long way in helping to really understand how the payday lending industry compares to other types of financial service providers. And it’s nice to know that payday loan customers really are not the ignorant, helpless people that so many reporters from the mainstream news community like to make them out to be.

It is nice to have the bragging rights that come with having a high credit score, but there are other reasons you should do all that you can to improve your credit rating. Your credit score is an important aspect of your life, and one that can impact several areas of day-to-day living.credit-score (1)

It’s no secret that our credit scores are closely scrutinized for everything from applying for a new job to getting a new insurance policy. If your credit score is low, you may be suffering from the effects of bad credit without even being aware of it.

If you are on a mission to rebuild your credit score, it is important to be armed with the information you need to meet your goals. It all starts with pulling your credit report. But there’s more to your credit rebuilding master plan that you need to know about. Here are the things you need to do to take a day-by-day approach to improving your credit score.

Start off by Assessing the Situation

Once you have your credit report, take a look at the details to see if there are any errors. If you find errors, work with the credit reporting bureau and any creditors involved to get those issues resolved. You should also take a look at your credit score. If your FICO score is lower than 620, many creditors will consider you to have subprime credit. This means that immediate actions must be taken – and sometimes repeated – to improve your credit score. Don’t get discouraged if your credit score is lower than you thought, as there is no such thing as having a score so low that it cannot improve.

Open a Line of Credit

If you don’t have a credit card, getting one can be tricky. Thankfully, though, there are things that you can do to work toward opening your first credit card, or getting a new one if your credit score is low. Start off small by applying for a store or retail credit card. These types of cards are easier to qualify for and making timely payments improves your credit score, little by little, every month.

You may also want to apply for a small loan at your local bank branch. Be prepared to get turned down, but do your best to apply for a small loan. Your goal right now is to show that you are a responsible person and that you pay your bills on time every month. You can’t do that unless you are regularly paying on loans and/or lines of credit, so you will have to bite the bullet and see if you can qualify for small dollar loans or lines of credit to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Avoid the Temptation to Have too Many Credit Cards

There are people who go overboard and end up opening too many lines of credit. Remember, your credit score is calculated via five different factors: payment history, total debt amount, length of time you have had credit, the types of credit you possess and recent credit card activity. Your payment history and total debt amount added together account for 65 percent of your credit score. Reducing your credit card balances and maintaining a spotless payment history will do a world of good when it comes to improving your credit score.

A great credit score doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to take matters into your own hands. Making smart financial decisions can take practice, but before too long it becomes a habit – something you do day in and day out. That habit will ultimately increase your credit score.

 

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that actually has laws to prohibit payday lending. But despite the best efforts of the state, many people living in Pennsylvania are still able to take out payday loans via online lending sites and other companies that have ties to lending companies on nearby American Indian Tribal lands. The state seems to be fit for a fight, though, as new lawsuits are being filed to help the state of Pennsylvania crack down harder on payday lending companies that are offering services to the people of this state.

Case in point – the recent lawsuit filed by the state attorney general against a Texas-based lending company for allegedly scheming Pennsylvania citizens via an online payday loan scheme. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Kathleen Kane, recently announced that her office filed this suit against Think Finance Inc., a company that backs quite a few payday lending companies, like RISE Credit, for violating Pennsylvania laws and targeting borrowers in Pennsylvania to take out expensive payday loans.

The lawsuit alleges that Think Finance used the sway of three Native American tribes to allow them to target consumers in the state of Pennsylvania and to sell those customers alternative financial products (i.e. payday loans.) The tribes, which supposedly served as a cover for the lender, made it possible for Think Finance to bring in earnings through the many financial services that it charges to the actual tribal affiliations.

According to the complaint, this is not the only time that Think Finances has engaged in these types of covert lending actions in order to get around the state’s tough payday lending laws. It has been previously reported that the company was involved in a “rent-a-bank” scheme in which it made use of a Philadelphia bank to cover for the provision of small dollar, high interest loans to consumers in the state. This operation was actually shut down by the federal government not too long ago.

The Attorney General’s suit also named Selling source LLC – the company that backs MoneyMutual – as a defendant in this lawsuit because this company allegedly played an active role in the actions of Think Finance. It is alleged that MoneyMutual’s website and TV commercials – those famous spots with Montel Williams – have been used to generate online leads for Think Finance backed loans, and that MoneyMutual received commissions for these leads.

The lawsuit also claims that Selling Source continued with its efforts to refer Pennsylvania consumers to Think Finance after the company was ordered to cease the referrals back in a 2011 agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

Other defendants named in this lawsuit were several debt collection agencies, including the Washington law firm of Weinstein, Pinson and Riley and National Credit Adjusters LLC, which were supposedly used to collect on the debts initiated by the illegal loans provided by Think Finance.

All of the defendants are currently accused of violating multiple Pennsylvania laws, including but not limited to violations against the Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Law and the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act. The lawsuit is seeking restitution for all the consumers who were taken in by this scheme and there will also be some civil penalties handed out of up to $1,000 for every violation of state laws and $3,000 for every charge that involved lending/debt recovery to senior citizens in the state. It seems that Pennsylvania is very serious about taking action against short term lenders and that payday lending companies may want to think twice before trying to offer any such financial services in this state.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially commented on a proposal that will take direct action against No-Action Letters. The policy is designed to go after new financial products or financial services that promise to bring substantial benefits to consumers, but that are still a bit uncertain how regulatory or statutory provisions will be applied in the near future. The documents on this proposed policy are set to be released to the public on December 15, 2014.

Bringing up No-Action Letters reminds some of the SEC No-Action Letters which usually involve scenarios where the requester is not sure whether or not a particular financial service or product is in violation of existing federal security laws. In the letters that were released, SEC employees agreed not to ask for a legal action to be taken against the requester because of the facts that were presented. An alternative that exists is for SEC staff to draft a letter to bring clarity about a specific regulation or rule.

The CFPB No-Action Letters bare similarities to the SEC Letters. These letters would inform the business requesters that their staff is not going to recommend enforcement action due to specific aspects of a known legal requirement or policy. However, the CFPB No-Action Letters Policy is different from the SEC’s in that it only applies to financial products that are offered to the general consumer market, or for financial services which have no existing legal uncertainty.

By limiting the CFPB No-Action Letter Policy to only consumer-related products and services, the Bureau is able to remain consistent with how it interprets that Title X of the famous Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which provides governance for the CFPB, is intended to be helpful to consumers and to provide all consumers with access to transparent, fair, innovative financial markets. Additionally, the CFPB is bound to a statutory mandate that promises to promote and facilitate innovation and access in the market for consumer financial services and products.

To meet this goal, the CFPB created an innovative project called “Project Catalyst” in the fall of 2012. This project will support financial innovators that create consumer friendly financial products and services. The No-Action Letter Policy is quite simply the most recent module of Project Catalyst to be put into action.

Consumer friendly financial products and services can get assistance from the CFPB No-Action Letters. Recent consumer spending in the U.S. led to recent financial difficulties, although more complex financial institutions and high dollar deals greatly increased the financial woes of recent years. Quite a bit of effort has been put in to deal with more sophisticated financial businesses during the financial recovery that has been underway for the past few years. And while all of this has been underway, less attention has been focused on underbanked, unbanked and very low income communities around the country; not to mention consumers who may currently use traditional bank accounts but also use non-traditional payment methods too.

Not too long ago, the CFPB began to take steps to bring these sectors to the attention of the rest of the country when it began in inquiry into mobile financial solutions. The Bureau found that nearly 90 percent of United States consumers own cell phones and that this growing trend has led to a whole plethora of new mobile payment solutions that allow unbanked and underbanked households to take more control of their individual finances. We will all have to keep our eyes open to see whether or not these new mobile payment solutions continue to warrant scrutiny from the CFPB and to see how the No-Action Letters pan out for new financial services that are launched in the months and years to come.

« Previous PageNext Page »