Banks Ease Terms for Struggling Student Borrowers

Big banks are beginning to cut some slack to distressed student-loan borrowers. Wells Fargo announced a new program this week that will lower the interest rate on loans so payments will be more affordable based on a struggling borrower’s income. The bank will review borrowers’ financial situations to determine whether they qualify for short- or long-term loan modification. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses According to the Wall Street Journal, both borrowers and cosigners will have to show financial hardship to get a modification. Modifications …

Are Lenders Driving Student Loan Borrowers Into Default?

Borrowers struggling to repay private student loans say they have little choice but to default because lenders won’t revise payments to make them affordable, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “We are hearing from consumers that they are driven into default because private student loan companies are not providing concrete loan modification options,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Struggling private student loan borrowers are finding themselves out of luck and out of …

Regulator Seeks Greater Oversight of Auto Financing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to extend its oversight to large nonbank auto-finance companies to make sure they are not discriminating against consumers. The CFPB announced today its proposed rule to expand its supervision to these companies, which would include the finance arms of auto manufacturers. “Nonbank auto-finance companies extend hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to American consumers, yet they have never been supervised at the federal level,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Today’s proposal …

Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

President Makes It Easier to Repay Student Loans

Just as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is raising concern about growing student loan debt and defaults, President Barack Obama is moving to expand a repayment program aimed at helping lower-income borrowers. The president today signed an executive order that the administration says will allow nearly 5 million more borrowers to qualify for a program that keeps monthly payments on federal loans to no more than 10 percent of discretionary income. This plan has been available only to more …

Debt Collectors Fined, Told to Back Off

Here’s some good news for people hounded by relentless debt collectors and hauled into court. Two of the nation’s biggest debt collection companies have agreed to stop lawsuits against borrowers and drop collections on some $16 million in judgments. In a settlement with New York authorities, Portfolio Recovery Associates, based in Norfolk, Va., and Sherman Financial Group, based in New York, also agreed to pay fines to settle allegations that they violated state law by pursuing borrowers for debts that …