Get the Latest Dirt on Your Bank

How well does your financial institution treat its customers? You can now find out by going to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database. There you can read in the customers’ own words about their problems with financial products and services, and how the institutions offering them responded — or not. It’s sort of like Yelp for banks. The agency has been collecting complaints about financial service companies since 2011, and it has received more than 627,000 so far. …

CFPB: Reverse Mortgage Ads Can Confuse More Than Inform

Advertisements touting reverse mortgages often leave older consumers confused about the loan terms and unaware of the risks, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Perhaps most concerning of all, the ads left the consumers believing that if they purchase a reverse mortgage loan, they will be able to rest assured that they can live in their homes and enjoy financial security for the rest of their lives,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a teleconference. …

Consumer Agency May Clamp Down on Payday Lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing new rules to restrict high-cost payday and car-title loans that often leave borrowers in worse financial shape. The agency can’t do anything about the interest rates charged — that’s up to the states — although it does have the authority to regulate the lenders making these loans. “Too many short-term and longer-term loans are made based on the lender’s ability to collect and not on a borrower’s ability to repay,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray …

Arbitration Clauses for Credit Cards, Other Services May Harm Consumers

Millions of consumers may not be getting a fair resolution in disputes with their financial institutions over products and services, according to a report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB examined the arbitration clauses in contracts for credit cards, prepaid cards, private student loans, payday loans, cellphone service and checking accounts. These clauses generally permit companies to resolve consumer complaints using arbitration. Most bar consumers from filing class-action suits, which may provide a fairer and more …

Surprise! Reverse Mortgages Are Very Confusing

A three-year examination of reverse mortgage complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that borrowers often didn’t understand the terms of those loans, including how quickly their loan balances would go up and their home equity would fall, the bureau said in a new report. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to tap into the equity in their homes. They’re different from home equity credit lines or home equity loans because a reverse mortgage generally is paid back only when the homeowner …

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 …