Financial Adviser Magazine included B'nai B'rith in its story on a report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group that focuses on abusive mortgage practices that target seniors.
B'nai B'rith said: "As a sponsor of low-income senior housing, we are pleased that U.S. PIRG has highlighted the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to collect data on older consumers. By categorizing these complaints, we believe there is an opportunity to better understand trends of predatory behavior towards seniors in order to work towards greater protection in the workplace.”
Abusive mortgage practices were the leading source of more than 72,000 complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from consumers 62 years or older, followed by credit reporting and debt collection abuses, says a new report from the U.S Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).
The report, co-authored by The Frontier Group, was cited by U.S. PIRG as additional evidence in its campaign against the Financial Choices Act (HR 10), which has been passed by the House. The group says the legislation would gut the powers of the consumer bureau at a time when financial scams against seniors are increasing.
“The Consumer Bureau has already taken numerous major enforcement actions against financial firms targeting older consumers,” says Ed Mierzwinkski, consumer program director at U.S. PIRG. “Gutting the CFPB makes it easier for financial scammers to move against older consumers threatening their homes and retirement savings.”
These were some of the key findings in the report:
• Mortgages account for 31 percent of complaints by older consumers. Other leading complaint categories were credit reporting (17 percent) and debt collection (17 percent).
• Eighty percent of mortgage complaints concerned traditional mortgages, but five percent of complaints were about reverse mortgages.
The report also listed some of the enforcement actions the consumer bureau has taken against companies ranking high in complaints:
• Mortgage enforcement actions have been filed against at least three mortgage companies ranked in the top 10 of the report’s complaint findings: Ocwen Loan Servicing, Nationstar Mortgage and Green Tree, which later merged with Ditech.
• The consumer bureau has taken actions against all three of the major consumer reporting agencies—in order of complaint volume, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
• The consumer bureau has taken actions against the top two debt-collection companies—in order of complaint volume, Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates.
The report “shows the vital importance of the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, which not only forces companies to respond to their customers effectively but also allows public interest advocates like U.S. PIRG to conduct critical empirical research that helps shine a light on areas of the market where policymakers need to focus,” says Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.
“As a sponsor of low-income senior housing, we are pleased that U.S. PIRG has highlighted the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to collect data on older consumers,” said B’nai B’rith International. “By categorizing these complaints, we believe there is an opportunity to better understand trends of predatory behavior towards seniors in order to work towards greater protection in the workplace.”
The findings underscore that “the so-called Financial Choice Act is the wrong choice for older Americans and all consumers because it takes away the CFPB’s tools to protect us, allowing financial predators to run amok,” U.S. PIRG’s Mierzwinski adds.
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