July 10 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken enforcement action against ACE Cash Express, one of the largest payday lenders in the United States, for pushing payday borrowers into a cycle of debt. The CFPB found that ACE used illegal debt collection tactics – including harassment and false threats of lawsuits or criminal prosecution – to pressure overdue borrowers into taking out additional loans they could not afford. ACE will provide $5 million in refunds and pay a $5 million penalty for these violations.
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July 2 – John M. Floyd & Associates, a provider of profitability and performance-improvement consulting for more than 35 years, was named a recipient of the 2014 Five*Star Award by the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) at the association’s Leadership Conference General Session held Friday, June 27, in San Antonio. The Five*Star Award recognizes IBAT Associate Members who routinely provide not just excellent service, but innovative solutions that help community banks grow faster, enhance profits, gain efficiency and shine.
April 17 – The Electronic Payments Association has launched a new opt-in program designed to mitigate the increasing volume of business bill payment exceptions originated to billers through online banking channels. Through the Bill Payment Exception (BPE) Mitigation Opt-in Program, NACHA seeks to improve the reliability of online banking bill payment channels, reduce costs and checks issued in association with bill payment exceptions, and improve overall efficiencies for billers and bill payment originators. Bill payment exceptions cost the industry nearly $800 million per year, according to an earlier study commissioned by NACHA.
March 28 – The National Retail Federation told the Senate that it’s time for an overhaul of the nation’s fraud-prone credit and debit card system, saying cards that use a signature instead of a Personal Identification Number puts merchants and their customers at risk. Indeed, card companies have continued to promulgate the use of fraud-prone signature cards despite their own research – conducted almost 25 years ago – that showed that PIN-based cards provided more security for consumers, retailers and banks, said the NRF.
Jan 16 – Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors from late November through the end of the year, according to the Beige Book released Jan. 15, 2014. Nine Districts indicated the local economy was expanding at a moderate pace; among these, the Atlanta and Chicago Districts saw conditions improve compared with the previous reporting period. Boston and Philadelphia cited modest growth, while Kansas City reported the economy held steady in December. The economic outlook is positive in most Districts, with some reports citing expectations of “more of the same” and some expecting a pickup in growth.
Dec. 9 – Ally Bank, the direct banking subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc., has expanded its Ally Mobile Banking app to include two new offerings designed to help customers conveniently access and manage their money on the go. Specifically, customers can now use their smartphones to send and receive Popmoney payments as well as make recurring electronic fund transfers between Ally and non-Ally bank accounts.
Dec 4 – Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from early October through mid-November. Activity in the New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Dallas Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco cited modest growth. Boston reported that economic activity continued to expand.
Nov 8 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently took the first step toward considering consumer protection rules for the debt collection market. Through its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the bureau is collecting information on a wide array of issues, including the accuracy of information used by debt collectors, how to ensure consumers know their rights, and the communication tactics collectors employ to recover debts. The bureau also announced that it will begin adding consumer complaints about debt collections to its public Consumer Complaint Database.
Nov 4 – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published an online newsletter that provides information showing how national banks and federal savings associations can use public welfare investment authority to invest in wind energy projects.
Oct 17 – Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of September through early October. Eight Districts reported similar growth rates in economic activity as during the previous reporting period, while growth slowed some in the Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City Districts. Contacts across Districts generally remained cautiously optimistic in their outlook for future economic activity, although many also noted an increase in uncertainty due largely to the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling debate.