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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Aug 14, 2012 / 26 Menachem-Av, 5772

Consumer finance watchdog: a birthday, but no one comes

By Josephine Massey






Remember the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? It was an Obama Big Government project that was meant to empower the Little Guy and punish the Big Bad Bullies


JewishWorldReview.com | (TCSM) The first anniversary of American consumers' new financial watchdog came and went without fireworks. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) didn't trumpet its accomplishments. Its opponents didn't blast it for regulatory overreach. For an agency that (depending on your point of view) was either going to save consumers or bind and gag them with red tape, the silence was a little surreal.

"They've gotten off to a good start," says Claes Bell, a journalist for Bankrate, a Florida-based firm that tracks interest rates on mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards, among others. "They've created a user-friendly website and a streamlined complaint process." But "if you look at a list of things they've done to financial industries, they haven't done that much."



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Since it officially began operating July 21, 2011, the CFPB has helped students navigate loans and financial aid, advised consumers on how to avoid credit-card fees, and forced Capital One to pay up to $210 million in fines and reimbursements for pressuring customers to buy or retain additional credit-card services, such as credit monitoring and payment protection. The Capital One enforcement action has drawn the most attention. Not only was the settlement a lot higher than those that other federal agencies have imposed on banks traditionally, the CFPB detailed specific violations and which policy changes the company had to make to be in compliance.

They "don't look or sound like any other federal agency that you've ever heard of," says Travis Plunkett, legislative director at the Consumer Federation of America in Washington. "They're living up to their promises."

Banking officials are leery, however.

"The bureau's made a lot of people ooh and ahh, but we're still trying to figure out what that means for long-term development," says Richard Riese, senior vice president of the American Bankers Association's Center for Regulatory Compliance. For one thing, the agency went after the bank rather than the third-party vendors, whose customer-service employees were responsible for the violations. For another, the agency's expected ruling on mortgages is adding to banks' hesitancy to make loans.

Sometime after November's election, the CFPB is due to rule on what constitutes a qualified mortgage. If the rules are too loose, lenders could once again offer interest-only and other questionable mortgages that homeowners have no chance of paying off. If the rules are too tight, banks could restrict mortgage lending even more, choking off a housing recovery. A big question: If banks follow the lending rules, are they safe from consumer lawsuits?

If not, "that will substantially impede growth of the mortgage and housing market, make it difficult for large numbers of Americans to get loans, and will be a violation of a policy we've had for many years that says we will make mortgage loans available to everyone who has good credit," says Peter Wallison, codirector of American Enterprise Institute's program on financial policy studies and former general counsel at the US Treasury Department during the Reagan administration. "What we are seeing up to this time is not encouraging."

For example, by not defining what it means by "abusive" credit practices, the CFPB is putting businesses at constant risk of lawsuits, not only from the federal government but state authorities as well, he says. Also, if the agency continues to hand out stiff penalties for wrongdoing, then financial institutions may avoid lending to high-risk borrowers for fear that the CFPB might issue fines for the fees attached to the loan.


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© 2012, The Christian Science Monitor