Consumer groups are adding more to their Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wish list.
AARP is seeking protections for older Americans on several financial services and products – including credit cards, prepaid debit cards, overdraft fees, abusive loans, credit reports, debt collection, forced arbitration, and mortgages.
Testifying at a Nov. 15 Senate subcommittee meeting, AARP senior attorney Julie Nepveu said that the senior advocacy organization recommends “that the quality of consumer information in the marketplace be improved.”
“But,” she added, “education alone isn’t enough.” She cited problems with complicated disclosures, bad advice and abusive practices.
Older Americans make up 12 percent of the population but they comprise 30 percent of the victims of consumer fraud, she said.
Skip Humphrey, the director of the CFPB Office of Older Americans, formerly served on the AARP Board of Directors.
Separately, the Appraisal Institute and the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers weighed in on the latest version of CFPB’s proposed TILA/RESPA disclosure form.
In a Nov. 16 letter, the appraiser groups asked the CFPB to separate appraisal fees from administration and processing fees on the settlement forms that consumers receive when purchasing a home. The CFPB’s proposed disclosure still combines the two fees.
The two groups also said consumers are “paying higher costs for appraisal fees as reported on the Appraisal line of the HUD-1 statement1. At the same time, our members report significant reductions in appraisal fees, by as much 40 percent.” That’s because banks are passing along backroom expenses on the backs of consumers, according to the Appraisal Institute.
Another request targets prepaid cards. Prepaid card providers should offer the same protections as traditional debit card provides and be required to clearly disclose fees up front, Consumers Union and several other groups said in a Nov. 18 letter.
Other consumer group-related requests to date include:
- Give consumers an “accessible, user-friendly searchable system” of complaints filed with the CFPB (Americans for Financial Responsibility, May 2011)
- Protect consumers from fraudulent mobile payment transactions on sites like PayPal.com (Consumers Union, June 2011)
- Protections for loans, overdraft fees, payday lending and commercial credit for members of the military and their families (Consumer Federation, November 2011)
- Create a “standardized, concise and consumer-friendly disclosure form that lists the fees and key terms associated with checking accounts” (Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Jack Reed, D-RI, November 2011)