Friday, February 26, 2010

MCRC's Marceline White discusses consumer scams on ABC2 News


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baltimore Sun urges regulation of debt settlement industry

The Baltimore Sun's latest editorial, about House Bill 392, sponsored by Del. Vaughn:
The legislation would allow companies to charge a $50 fee to set up an account but would prohibit them from collecting more until the service is successfully completed. Given the damage these kinds of companies can do, the Maryland General Assembly would seem entirely justified in outlawing this business practice altogether. The proposed regulations, by contrast, seem downright generous. -- read entire piece

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Financial Fitness Series - Small Business 101

Have you ever dreamt about being a business owner but you didn't know where to start? Do you wonder how to structure your business or what information you should include in a business plan? Teddy Prioleau (also known as Teddy the Tax Man) from the Tax and Mortgage Shop of America will share the basics of starting your own business as well as local resources that will help make your dream a reality.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010
6:00 - 7:00 pm
Poe Room (2nd Floor)
Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Cost: FREE!

Call Christina at 443-692-9420 or Email christina@baltimorecashcampaign.org to register!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama mulls changes to mortgage program

The Obama administration is soon expected to unveil additional protections to ensure homeowners are treated fairly and consistently under its mortgage relief program. -- full story

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beware of loopholes in new credit card law

Beginning Monday, some of the more outrageous practices of credit card issuers will be outlawed. But just like a bully on a playground who doesn't punch when the teacher is watching, lenders will find ways to continue pummeling consumers. -- full story

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gov. O'Malley backing foreclosure mediation


Gov. Martin O'Malley will put the force of his office today behind a plan that would enable struggling homeowners to negotiate better mortgage terms before banks can take their houses. -- full story

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MCRC testifies in favor of SB 276 - foreclosure mediation

SB 276 applies lessons learned from foreclosure mediation programs in other states such as Connecticut, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina.

First, the Maryland bill would ensure that lenders/servicers provide homeowners with a comprehensive list of resources and options to help avoid foreclosure. This is important because in many cases, for instance, homeowners are unaware of the different state and federal programs such as HAMP that help homeowners stay in their homes.

Second, the bill gives homeowners an opportunity to hold a face to face meeting with a representative of the lien holder. This interaction has demonstrated success in similar mediation programs in Connecticut and Philadelphia. For example, Connecticut reports that 61% of mediated meetings have resulted in the homeowners keeping their homes. This success rate can be attributed to the value of the in-person meeting and the presence of a mediator that ensures both parties are acting in good faith to reach a compromise that is mutually beneficial. -- read more

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ad criticizing Consumer Financial Protection Agency filled with lies


"That ad is confusing a lot of folks, because it's not true," [U.S. Sen. Jon] Tester told the Billings Gazette on Wednesday. "We're not dealing with any $4 trillion bank bailout. To confuse people and put forward an ad with a lot of false information, and not tell people who you are? ... I cannot believe the system works this way." -- read more

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Area foreclosure rates mixed in January

Foreclosures in Maryland fell by 23 percent in January from December but were 41 percent higher than a year ago, according to the latest survey by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research company. -- full story

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Dodd, Corker to work together on financial reform


Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, was seeking a new collaborator on a landmark bill to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory system. He had grown frustrated after months of unsuccessful talks with the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.). -- full story

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Campaign builds for consumer protection agency


With a proposed overhaul of financial regulations facing stiff headwinds in the Senate, consumer advocates have redoubled their efforts to portray opponents as favoring big banks over the interests of ordinary Americans. -- full story

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Connecticut AG calls for consumer protection agency


Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the U.S. Senate must create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent recurrence of banking-industry excesses that pushed the economy to the brink of collapse. -- full story

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Money Power Day is March 13

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Worrisome trends in foreclosure numbers


Recent year-end reports on foreclosure filings in Maryland show that on the whole, the state may be reaching the peak of the crisis, but behind the slowing in the total number of filings lie several more subtle, more worrisome trends that suggest that homeowners will continue to see distress for quite some time. -- full story

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jane Bryant Quinn calls for stronger financial regulations

During an interview on Marketplace from American Public Radio, personal finance writer Jane Bryant Quinn said: "I also feel very strongly about this deregulation that has taken place of the financial industry. That with stronger regulations, better disclosures, better requirements would give consumers something at least to help them with, when they're faced with these so-called 'experts' that are going to mislead them, if an agency like that were passed, you should be able to do something about things that are simply unsafe products." -- read more

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Financial reform bill at impasse in Senate


... The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, said that Democrats would forge ahead with their own proposal, in the absence of Republican support. That could result in a bitter partisan fight resembling the struggle over health care — an outcome that Mr. Dodd has said for months he would try to avoid. -- full story

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Affordable housing in DC harder to find


Rents have increased more in the District than they have in most major cities, and renters are spending a larger portion of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads, according to an analysis released Friday by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute that examines the city's rental housing market. -- full story

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Fighting Denied Claims Requires Perseverance

New York Times: Maria Carr, a 43-year-old school administrator from Tulare, Calif., could not believe it when her insurer, UnitedHealth, denied coverage for arthroscopic surgery she underwent last year to treat a bone spur on her hip.

Her doctor told Ms. Carr he had successfully performed this procedure for eight other UnitedHealth patients suffering from the same ailment in the same year. To Ms. Carr’s mind, arthroscopy seemed a much less invasive and cheaper way to treat the problem than open hip surgery, the traditional treatment for bone spurs. -- full story

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The CFPA: How a crusade to protect consumers lost its steam

Washington Post: At a time when the country is deeply divided over the proper role of government, what is Capitol Hill's appetite for a new, independent agency with broad power to police the financial industry and protect consumers from the risky lending practices that contributed so much to the financial crash of 2008?

Not as hearty as the Obama administration had hoped last year when it turned a Harvard Law professor's crusade for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency into a major element of its regulatory reform initiative. -- full story

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Regulators want to close loophole that allows 700% interest rates


By Nicholas Sohr
Daily Record Business Writer

ANNAPOLIS — State financial regulators pressed lawmakers on Wednesday to tighten payday lending rules to rein in the cost of short-term loans.

The bill would close what Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation officials say is a loophole that lenders have taken advantage of to charge the equivalent of up to 700 percent annual interest on small, week-to-week loans. -- full story

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