' Consumer Financial Protection Bureau'

A rare class-action victory over Wells Fargo's fake accounts proves binding arbitration sucks

Wells Fargo got caught ripping off millions of customers by setting up fake accounts in their names, then billing them for "services" related to those accounts, sometimes tanking their credit-ratings, costing them jobs, even their houses -- but the company says you're not allowed to sue them because their employees fraudulently signed your name to a "binding arbitration" agreement that forces you to take your case to a fake judge whose salary they pay. Read the rest

GOP wants to get rid of overdraft fee limits

A prepaid debit card company's lobbying efforts in Washington are paying off. Congressional Republicans are seeking to repeal limits to the amount banks can charge customers in overdraft fees. The company is Total System Services, and it stands to make tens of millions of dollars when the GOP starts letting it charge exorbitant overdraft fees. And Total System Services only had to spend $270,000 to make the GOP do its bidding. What a great investment!

Via Buzzfeed:

Last week, Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue introduced a resolution in Congress, alongside other Republicans including his fellow Georgian Johnny Isakson, to throw out a new package of rules for the prepaid debit card industry.

The rules, finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October, include limitations on overdraft fees, which have become a significant source of consumer complaints about the financial industry — and an important revenue stream for Georgia-based financial firm Total System Services, whose NetSpend unit is the country’s largest manager of prepaid cards, according to a 2015 financial filing.

The vast majority of prepaid debit cards don’t come with overdraft fees, but NetSpend’s do, and the fees accounted for 10-12% of its overall revenue in 2016, or $80-85 million, the company told investors in October. Its parent has spent big on lobbying and political donations in a bid to kill the rules: in the last three months of 2016 alone, it spent some $270,000 lobbying Congress.

The company’s political action committee has also given its home-state senators Perdue and Isakson $37,500 in campaign contributions since 2010, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Wells Fargo just hit with another massive fraud scandal, but thankfully Donald Trump owes them a lot of money

Wells Fargo didn't merely open 2,000,000 fraudulent accounts and bill its customers for them; it also tricked its customers into signing up for insurance policies, at mass-scale. Read the rest

Senate investigates Wells Fargo retaliations against whistleblowers

One after another, ex-Wells Fargo employees have come forward to reveal that when they blew the whistle of millions of frauds committed against the bank's customers, the bank's management fired them and blackballed them from the banking industry for life, by falsifying claims of wrongdoing on a semi-secret list of corrupt bankers that is consulted by the industry before they make new hires. Read the rest

Watch Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf get raked over the coals by Congress

Here's two hours of Democratic and Republican congresspeople not taking any weaselly bullshit from disgraced Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

In September 2016, Wells Fargo was issued a combined total of $185 million in fines for creating over 1.5 million checking and savings accounts and 500,000 credit cards that its customers never authorized. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued $100 million in fines, the largest in the agency's five-year history, along with $50 million in fines from the City and County of Los Angeles, and $35 million in fines from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency. The scandal was caused by an incentive-compensation program for employees to create new accounts. It led to the firing of nearly 5,300 employees and $5 million being set aside for customer refunds on fees for accounts the customers never wanted.

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Advice for people defrauded by Wells Fargo

If one of the 2,000,000 fraudulent accounts Wells Fargo opened was in your name, the US government has some advice for you. Read the rest

Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's action against predatory payday lenders

The predatory payday lending industry -- "'legalized loan sharks collect 75 percent of their fees from people stuck in more than 10 loans a year by charging 300 percent APR" -- is lobbying hard to kill the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed "debt trap" rule, "that would require lenders to determine whether borrowers can afford to pay back their loans and cut off repeated debit attempts that rack up fees and make it harder for consumers to get out of debt." Read the rest

Sanders donors flock to Tim Canova's campaign against DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the establishment candidate's establishment candidate: she co-sponsored SOPA, blocked reform of loan-sharking payday lenders, voted against marijuana law reform, called for the prosecution of SOPA, and chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign. She's served six terms in office and never had to face a primary challenger, until now. Read the rest

Forced arbitration clauses are a form of wealth transfer to the rich

A federal judge called America's move to forced arbitration and bans on class-action suits -- bans favored and enabled by Scalia -- "among the most profound shifts in our legal history." Read the rest

The Democratic Party's SOPA-loving, Snowden-hating, Hillary-partisan power-broker has her first-ever primary challenger

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a powerful, corrupt Democratic Party official, the chair of the DNC who has tilted the rules to give the advantage to Hillary Clinton (Wasserman Schultz co-chaired the Clinton 2008 campaign), publicly threatened staffers who questioned her Clinton partisanship, voted against medical marijuana, co-sponsored SOPA, demanded the extradition and prosecution of Edward Snowden, takes massive corporate donations, and stands unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination in South Florida in every election -- except this one. Read the rest

Debt collectors illegally hound people who don't owe money

A third of people who complain about debt-collectors who break the law say they don't even owe the money under discussion. Of the victims who complained to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about being hounded for money they don't owe, two thirds say they never owed it, and a third say they had already paid it off. Debt-collectors call wrong numbers or hassle people with names similar to those of debtors. They call them at work and at home, and use threats and obscene language when they're told they've got the wrong person. One offender, CashCall Inc, is being sued over its practices, and was separately ordered to refund $14M in debts it collected through fraudulent robo-signing. Read the rest

CIA chief Petraeus steps down, having failed to keep his drone in his pants

David H. Petraeus, the head of America's Central Intelligence Agency, resigned just days after the election after issuing a statement saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

"By acknowleding an extramarital affair, Mr. Petraeus, 60, was confronting a sensitive issue for a spy chief," reports the New York Times. "Intelligence agencies are often concerned about the possibility that agents who engage in such behavior could be blackmailed for information."

In an email to Wired's national security blog Danger Room, a former confidant says of the disgraced general, “He feels that he screwed up. He did a dishonorable thing and needed to try to do the honorable thing.” The source says the affair began after Petraeus retired from the military and became CIA director. Read the rest

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