Federal Reserve Launches New Initiative to Improve the U.S. Payment System

From: ACA International

The Fed seeks industry engagement in a Jan. 29 webcast on payment system improvement.

The Federal Reserve has issued a multi-faceted plan, “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System,” for collaborating with payment system stakeholders including large and small businesses, emerging payment firms, card networks, payment processors, consumers and financial institutions to enhance the speed, safety and efficiency of the U.S. payment system.

“A safer, more efficient and faster payment system contributes to public confidence  and economic growth,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome H. Powell, who will co-chair the initiative’s oversight committee. “We look forward to working with payment stakeholders to realize this vision.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Attempts to Regulate Telecom

by James Baldinger, Elizabeth Bohn | Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

Since it opened in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“the Bureau” or “CFPB”) has issued thousands of pages of regulations, mostly directed at the home mortgage industry, and aggressively exercised its authority to enforce consumer financial protection law. Dozens of enforcement lawsuits and administrative proceedings filed by the Bureau against major players in the credit card, mortgage, real estate settlement, auto, and debt collection industries have resulted in assessment of more than $1 billion in penalties and refunds against the targeted companies, along with imposition of costly modifications to industry business practices and continued reporting requirements.

Controversy builds at U.S. consumer protection bureau

From: Watchdog.org

By

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Costly building renovations at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are raising more congressional concerns that the agency is out of control.

A government report pegs the price of the work at $210 million — $120 million more than initial estimates, with off-site leasing costs included.

“That’s more per square foot than the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas,” said John Berlau, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

And, critics add, CFPB doesn’t even own the building.

Can High-Cost Payday Loans Be Made ‘Affordable’ For Borrowers?

From: WSJ | Total Return

By Alan Zibel

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, U.S. regulators imposed new requirements on credit-card companies and mortgage lenders, mandating that they evaluate whether borrowers have the financial resources to pay back their loans. Now, the focus is on high-cost, short-term “payday” loans.

The principle—that lenders should avoid making loans to borrowers who can’t afford them—may sound simple. But translating such a concept into rules lenders can follow is much more difficult in practice, particularly for low-income borrowers who take out payday loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is facing such a task as it works on the first set of national rules for the $46 billion payday-lending industry.