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Annual report of the CFPB student loan ombudsman 2014

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Annual report of the CFPB student loan ombudsman 2014
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established a student loan ombudsman within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Pursuant to the Act, this annual report analyzes complaints submitted by consumers with student loans from October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. The largest subset of private student loan complaints we handled relate to the lack of repayment options and flexibility in times of distress.

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Don’t let your student debt stop you from serving your country

October 1, 2014 Comments off

Don’t let your student debt stop you from serving your country
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Last year, the CFPB launched an initiative to enlist the support of public service employers to help their employees tackle their student debt. We also published a report, which estimated that approximately one-fourth of the labor force is working in a public service profession and potentially eligible for existing benefits to help them manage their student loans.

Today, we joined the Department of Education, the Peace Corps, and the Corporation for National and Community Service to release new resources for employees, volunteers, and recent graduates with student loan debt. Whether you choose to serve in the military, volunteer in the Peace Corps, or pursue national service, we know that managing your money while serving your country can be hard. This is particularly true if you have student loans.

To help, we’ve developed new customized guides for members of the military, for Peace Corps volunteers, and for participants in national service programs with student debt. In addition, we have partnered with the Peace Corps and the AmeriCorps programs to help their members understand how to qualify for loan forgiveness and other student loan benefits—part of our financial education project focused on public service and student debt.

Student loan borrowers working in public service have access to a range of existing benefits designed to help them manage their debt. One program provides borrowers that spend a decade or more in service with the opportunity to have their loans forgiven after 10 years (120 months) of on-time payments. There are also a range of other existing benefits for servicemembers, teachers and other public servants.

Updated reverse mortgage guide: Two things you should know

September 30, 2014 Comments off

Updated reverse mortgage guide: Two things you should know
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

More and more homeowners are considering tapping their home equity as they approach retirement age. Getting a reverse mortgage is one way that some older homeowners can do that. Reverse mortgages are a special type of home equity loan sold to homeowners aged 62 years and older, which are repaid when the borrowers sell the home, move out, or die. It’s a complicated type of loan that works best for homeowners who carefully consider all of their options.

Your Money, Your Goals: Financial empowerment tools for social services

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Your Money, Your Goals: Financial empowerment tools for social services
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Many people feel overwhelmed by their financial situations, and they may not know where to go for help. For many low-income Americans, frontline staff of nonprofit and public social services programs are in a unique position to provide that help.

Their clients already know and trust them, and in many cases, they’re already sharing financial information with them. Social workers and case managers know, however, that the financial stresses clients face may interfere with their progress toward other goals, like finding and keeping secure housing, staying in school, or even landing a job. As they make progress toward those goals, financial missteps can often erase their hard-fought gains.

That’s why social services programs across the country are taking steps to integrate financial empowerment into the work they do each day with their clients. To support their efforts, we’ve developed and field-tested a toolkit for financial services programs called Your Money, Your Goals.

The toolkit helps frontline staff understand when and how to introduce clients to financial empowerment concepts. It equips them to help consumers when it comes to:

  • Making spending decisions that help them reach their goals
  • Avoiding tricks and traps as they choose financial products
  • Ordering and fixing credit reports
  • Making decisions about repaying debts and taking on new debt
  • Keeping track of their income and bills
  • Deciding if they need a checking account and understanding what they need to open one

Consumer advisory: Virtual currencies and what you should know about them

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Consumer advisory: Virtual currencies and what you should know about them
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

You may have heard about virtual currencies like Bitcoin, XRP, and Dogecoin. But what are virtual currencies? What’s this “to the moon!” business on the internet about? And, as a consumer, what risks should you be aware of?

While virtual currencies offer the potential for innovation, a lot of big issues have yet to be resolved – some of which are critical, including:

  • Virtual currencies are targets for hackers who have been able to breach sophisticated security systems in order to steal funds
  • Virtual currencies can cost consumers more to use than credit cards or even regular cash once you take exchange rate issues into consideration
  • Fraudsters are taking advantage of the hype surrounding virtual currencies to cheat people with fake opportunities
  • If you trust a company to hold your virtual currencies and something goes wrong, that company may not offer you the kind of help you expect from your bank or debit or credit card provider

Data point: Checking account overdraft

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Data point: Checking account overdraft
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Our data point reports are prepared by our Office of Research to provide an evidence-based perspective on consumer financial markets, consumer behavior, and regulations to inform the public discourse. This third data point provides analysis of consumers’ experience with checking account overdraft.

Helping build financial capability across America

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Helping build financial capability across America
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

We just published our second annual financial literacy report to Congress. It outlines our strategy and what we’ve done over the past year to enhance financial literacy and capability. In the report, you’ll find out about the tools and information we provide to help consumers navigate financial choices. You’ll see how we collaborate with organizations that reach consumers where they are, and how we research effective approaches to financial education.

Financial literacy is gaining attention worldwide. For the first time, a study of educational achievement has compared the financial literacy of young people across the globe. The results show that 15-year-olds in the United States are in the middle of the pack, compared to their peers in 17 other nations and regions that participated in the study.

We’ll put these results to work—collaborating with other government and educational agencies to look at promising solutions, innovative approaches, and scalable strategies for educating the next generation of young Americans.

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