GE Capital Ordered to Pay $225 Million to Consumers

GE Capital Retail Bank must shell out an estimated $225 million to consumers to settle government claims that it discriminated against Hispanic credit card customers and persuaded other card holders to buy add-on products that promised to cancel part of their debt if they became disabled, lost a job or suffered from another hardship, the Justice Department announced Thursday. “We will continue to take action against marketing tactics that trick consumers into buying credit card products they do not want or cannot use,” …

Medical Credit Card Issuer Ordered to Make Refunds

A dentist tells an older patient during an exam that she needs expensive treatment. She can’t pay the fee outright, so the dentist immediately arranges financing through a medical credit card plan. A month later, the patient opens her first bill and discovers that the card is not interest-free, as she’d thought. In fact, it carried an annual interest rate as high as 27 percent if she didn’t pay it off within a certain period. Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer …

Reporting Senior Scams Trumps Privacy Laws

Hoping to curb an epidemic of financial abuse against seniors, federal regulators are telling banks and other money managers that they can – and should – report questionable transactions without fear of violating privacy laws. Working with seven other agencies, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new “guidance” to  financial institutions. It assures them that telling authorities about signs that older customers are falling victim to scams and fraud doesn’t violate federal restrictions on sharing personal information – a long-time concern …

Retirees Borrow Against Pensions at Loan Rates Up To 106%

UPDATE: Last week, we cited a report by The New York Times that a growing number of older adults are using their pensions as the basis to borrow cash — and paying interest rates as high as 106 percent. That report caught the attention of New York banking regulators. They’re now probing 10 companies that do pension advances, the Times reported Tuesday. Benjamin M. Lawsky, who heads the Department of Financial Services (DFS), calls pension advances ”nothing more than payday …

Confused by Financial Designations? Read On.

As we head into our retirement years, we could all use a little financial guidance to help us fluff up our nest eggs. Do we tap a certified senior adviser or chartered financial consultant for advice, or would a senior or retirement specialist be better? Maybe a certified trust and financial adviser or an accredited retirement adviser would be best? No, wait, what about a certified financial gerontologist? Or a chartered adviser for senior living? Each day, tens of thousands …

Feds Get Tough With Home Loans

Federal regulators announced new rules Thursday that are intended to protect homeowners from getting sucked into the kinds of risky loans that caused millions to lose their properties during the collapse of the housing market. The rules laid by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) take effect one year from now. Sadly, they’re too late to help families who’ve already foreclosed because they couldn’t afford the terms of their loans. Still, it’s better late than never. Under the terms of the …