Tag Archive | "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"

NADA’s Koblenz to Shed Light on CFPB at Agent Summit


LAS VEGAS — Andrew D. Koblenz of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) will speak at the upcoming Agent Summit and provide attendees with insights into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s regulation of the auto finance market, organizers announced Monday. The sixth annual event will be held May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“Understanding the trajectory of the CFPB’s activity regarding the auto finance market is critical to understanding the current regulatory environment in which we find ourselves,” Koblenz said. “It’s also a vital part of evaluating those concrete steps that dealers and lenders can and should be taking in the face of this new regulatory reality.”

Koblenz currently serves as executive vice president of legal and regulatory affairs for NADA, and also oversees the organization’s economic and research department. He is a frequent speaker and valued source for a number of industry events and publications.

At September’s Industry Summit, Koblenz presented “Solving the CFPB Problem,” a comprehensive review of actions undertaken by the CFPB, the effects of those actions on the industry and what the future holds for the oft-maligned agency. He is expected to touch on similar themes at Agent Summit.

“Andy never fails to connect with his audience, because he approaches the topic of compliance with hard-won expertise and disarming humor,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom magazines. “He understands both the seriousness and absurdity of the CFPB’s efforts. He is the ideal speaker for a key topic at a critical juncture.”

Registration for Agent Summit is now open at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email. Attendees who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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BMO Completes Acquisition of GE’s Transportation Finance Business


CHICAGO — On Monday, BMO Financial Group completed its acquisition of General Electric (GE) Capital Corporation’s transportation finance business, more two months after the company hinted at a reduction of its U.S. indirect auto finance portfolio to fund the purchase.

The newly acquired business unit, which BMO officials said represents North America’s largest financier to the truck and trailer segment, will be renamed BMO Transportation Finance. It will continue to operate under the leadership of Dan Clark and his management team. On closing, the business had net earning assets of about $8.9 million, BMO said.

“The trucking industry is vital to the North American economy, and we intend to grow that business, building on the team’s 40-year track record of providing industry expertise to its customers,” said David Casper, president and CEO of BMO’s subsidiary BMO Harris Bank, which will oversee the new business unit.

BMO Harris Bank stirred suspicions when it informed dealers on Oct. 1 that it was exiting approximately 12 states in order to refocus “its indirect auto business to solely include the bank’s core market states.” The pullback was thought to be the linked to the bank’s April 2014 decision to move to a flat-fee compensation model in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s scrutiny of dealer participation policies. Market insiders believed the bank lost dealers as a result of the move.

At the time of the announcement, a spokesman for BMO Harris Bank denied the move to flats resulted in lost business and maintained that the pullback was the result of a strategic decision. That claim was backed by a Sept. 10 conference call in which BMO Financial Group announced to media and investors its intentions to acquire GE’s business unit.

“The transaction will be funded using existing balance sheet liquidity, additional deposits and some wholesale funding,” Tom Flynn, BMO Financial Group CFO, said during the conference call. “In addition, our funding strategy includes a reduction of our U.S. personal and commercial indirect auto lending portfolio over the next few years.”

BMO Harris Bank, which terminated dealer agreements in those 12 noncore state on Oct. 31, continues to serve dealers in Illinois, Wisconsin Indiana, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, and Florida.

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NADA Files Second Request for Internal CFPB Documents


MCLEAN, Va. — The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today, asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to release internal documents acknowledging that the agency intended to regulate the auto finance market through enforcement action, and eschewed evidence that its methods for estimating disparate impact were deeply flawed.

This is the second time in less than three months that the NADA has requested internal CFPB documents leaked to American Banker. A request filed in July asked that the bureau turn over documents that allegedly stated the CFPB’s “goal” in the auto lending arena was to significantly limit dealer discretion, despite the fact that the regulator is specifically prohibited from regulating auto dealers under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The CFPB denied the NADA’s request three days later.

On Sept. 17 and Sept. 24, American Banker published articles that made numerous references to internal CFPB documents. Those documents supposedly show that the CFPB based its understanding of vehicle financing on a now-discredited study conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending. The bureau also allegedly acknowledged in the documents that the proxy methodology it uses to determine the presence of discrimination in auto lending is flawed, yet it continues to use the results to reach large settlements with finance companies like Honda Finance Corporation and Fifth Third Bank.

“These documents demonstrate a lack of transparency and accountability that should be deeply troubling to anyone concerned about how significantly a regulator can influence a market that affects millions of consumers,” said NADA President Peter Welch in a statement on the NADA’s website. “Consumers benefit tremendously from the discounts they get from dealers, and they have every right to demand that their voices be included in — not willfully excluded from — the debate about how to regulate the auto finance market.”

Earlier this month, during the bureau’s semi-annual report to Congress, CFPB Director Richard Cordray was challenged by lawmakers over the methods the bureau is using to bring enforcement actions against auto lenders. The regulator noted that “‘Accurate’ is in the eye of the beholder,” and that the CFPB is working to find the most reliable method possible to determine the presence of discrimination in auto lending.

However, Cordray was not forthcoming about the internal documents cited by American Banker, telling members of Congress he was only “roughly familiar” with the memos.

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NADA Expands Effort to Protect Dealer-Assisted Financing


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has launched a new initiative to highlight the true economic value of dealer-assisted financing, including video testimonials and a new website, officials announced this week.

On the new site, users can view testimonials from real consumers who benefited from receiving financing through a dealership.

“Consumers save money every day when they finance through dealerships, but that truth is getting lost in Washington, and that needs to change,” said NADA President Peter Welch. “The stories that we’re highlighting are far from unique. Dealers across the country save consumers money every day, and right now Washington is failing to understand what’s at stake for these consumers and millions more if competition is stifled and dealers are prevented from offering discounts on financing.”

In today’s vehicle finance market, local dealerships are able to shop a customer’s credit application to dozens of lenders all competing for the same loan. As a result, dealers usually offer better interest rates than consumers can find on their own. Furthermore, dealers have the ability to discount their rates to meet or beat a competing credit offer, which results in further savings for consumers.

“Most consumers know that financing is available at their local dealership, but what many don’t know is that dealer-assisted financing usually saves them money,” Welch added. “Many policymakers might not realize this either, but once the savings that comes from dealer discounting is made clear, it will be hard for Washington to turn a blind eye.”

The initiative is part of the NADA’s effort to stop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from restricting or eliminating the ability of dealers to provide competitive financing. The regulator has been targeting dealer markups, which it believes cause minorities to pay higher rates. But NADA officials have said the CFPB’s actions will have a negative effect on consumers’ ability to secure affordable auto loans.

Earlier this year, Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) introduced legislation — H.R. 1737 — that would promote transparency at the CFPB in order to help ensure that its policies do not unintentionally hurt consumers. In July, the legislation, which has 55 Democratic and 71 Republican cosponsors, passed the House Financial Services Committee on a 47-10 vote. The bipartisan vote included the support of 13 of the committee’s 26 Democrats, and House Republicans have indicated that the bill may come to the floor for a vote within the coming weeks.

“Our message is getting out, the facts are on our side, and people are starting to take notice,” Welch said. “But there’s too much at stake for consumers, so we don’t intend to take our foot off the gas until we know that consumer rights and consumer savings are adequately protected.”

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Consumer Complaints Hit 677,000, CFPB Reports


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report Tuesday highlighting trends in consumer complaints through August 1, with credit reporting complaints seeing the sharpest increase compared to both the prior month and prior year.

The bureau has handled approximately 105,000 credit reporting complaints since it began accepting them in October 2012. Those complaints jumped 56% between June 2015 (4,289 complaints) and July 2015 (6,969 complaints). In analyzing the period of May through July 2015, complaints increased by 45% compared to the prior year.

Of those complaints,77% involved incorrect information on reports. Consumers frequently complained of debts already paid or debts not yet due showing up on their report, negatively affecting their credit scores. The CFPB said that consumers also had trouble accessing their reports as a result of rigorous online identity authentication questions.

The three companies that received the highest volumes of credit reporting complaints were Equifax, Experian and Transunion, which accounted for 97% of credit reporting complaints.

Overall, the bureau has handled 677,200 complaints nationally. In July, the most complained about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 31% of complaints submitted. The second most-complained-about consumer product was credit reporting, accounting for approximately 6,696 complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was mortgages, accounting for approximately 4,498 complaints. The CFPB did not list auto loans amount the 11 credit products that triggered complaints.

The bureau reported that in a year-to-year comparison, consumer loan complaints, which include pawn loans, title loans, and installment loans, showed the greatest percentage increase (61%) from the same time last year. They went from approximately 718 complaints to 1,154 complaints on average per month over a three-month time period. Bank account or services complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease over the same time period, going from a monthly average of 1,976 complaints in 2014 to 1,895 complaints in 2015 — a 4% decrease.

Hawaii, Maine, Georgia, and North Carolina experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year, with Hawaii up 37%, Maine up 36%, and both Georgia and North Carolina up by 33%. South Dakota, New Mexico, and Alaska experienced the greatest complaint volume decrease from the same time last year, with South Dakota down 31%, New Mexico down 16%, and Arkansas down 11%.

“Whether a consumer is trying to get a mortgage, apply for a student loan, or buy a car, credit reports are fundamentally important in allowing people to access their financial goals,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. “As we see a rise in the number of consumers complaining about this issue, the Bureau will continue to work to ensure that credit reports are fair, accurate, and readily available to all consumers.”

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BB&T Switching to Flat Fee Compensation Model


GREENSBORO, N.C. — BB&T Bank’s dealership finance arm, BB&T Dealer Finance, announced today that it will be switching to a flat fee compensation model that eliminates dealer markups on retail installment sales contracts, reports F&I and Showroom. Some of the bank’s dealer clients believe the move was motivated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s actions in the auto lending arena.

The program changes will go into effect July 1, according to a press release issued by the bank. Dealers said they were contacted by phone following a regional meeting and told that BB&T will now be paying dealers 3% of the amount a car buyer finances, up to a maximum of $2,500.

“I told them this will hurt their volume,” said an F&I manager who requested that his name be withheld. “This is exactly what the bureau longs for: no litigation or outright charges — just simple scare tactics.”

Since issuing its fair lending guidance to auto lenders in March 2013, the CFPB has recommended that lenders adopt a flat fee compensation policy to eliminate fair lending risks. The regulator alleges that policies allowing dealers to mark up the interest rate on retail installment sales contracts result in minority car buyers paying higher rates. However, industry groups like the National Automobile Dealers Association say the methodology the CFPB uses to determine the presence of discrimination in auto lending is flawed and that a flat fee compensation model will not eliminate dealer pricing discretion, since dealers would still exercise discretion in selecting the finance source to which they would sell a contract.

“We are committed to the fair and equal treatment of all consumers,” said Derek Lane, BB&T Dealer Financial Services manager, in a release issued today by the bank. “The automobile finance industry provides a valuable service, and we highly value our long-standing dealer relationships. This new program will strengthen the process long term for both consumers and our dealer clients.”

A BB&T spokesperson contacted by F&I and Showroom added: “After testing and evaluating flat-fee products for the last two years, we believe this is a good long-term business decision for both consumers and our dealer partners.”

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