July 14: CFPB Updates This Week


State Partners and CFPB Sue Prehired For Illegal Student Lending Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joined with several state attorneys general and a state regulator to take action against Prehired for deceptive marketing and debt collection practices. Prehired operated a 12-week online training program claiming to prepare consumers for entry-level positions as software sales development representatives with “six-figure salaries” and a “job guarantee.” Prehired drove interested applicants to sign an “income share” loan to finance the costs of the program and represented that consumers would pay nothing until they got a high-income job through Prehired. In reality, Prehired deceptively buried terms that required consumers to pay even if they never got a job and, in many cases, unilaterally increased consumers’ required minimum monthly payments without any evidence that they had secured employment or experienced an increase in income. The CFPB is seeking to void the loans and obtain redress for affected consumers and a penalty, which would be deposited into the CFPB’s victims relief fund. The attorneys general from Washington, Oregon, Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia joined the action, along with California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. Read more


CFPB Takes Action Against Bank of America for Illegally Charging Junk Fees, Withholding Credit Card Rewards, and Opening Fake Accounts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered Bank of America to pay more than $100 million to customers for systematically double-dipping on fees imposed on customers with insufficient funds in their account, withholding reward bonuses explicitly promised to credit card customers, and misappropriating sensitive personal information to open accounts without customer knowledge or authorization. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) also found that the bank’s double-dipping on fees was illegal. Bank of America will pay a total of $90 million in penalties to the CFPB and $60 million in penalties to the OCC. Read more


Prepared Remarks of Director Rohit Chopra for the CFPB Hearing on Medical Billing and Collections

“Today, we are talking about an issue that impacts over 100 million Americans – medical debt. As many of you know, the practices used to bill and collect for medical services have tremendous consequences for American consumers. Medical bills are a major financial pain point for Americans, and the fear of cost can be enough to stop some families from even seeking care. National health expenditures account for more than 18 percent of our country’s gross domestic product, with consumers’ out of pocket expenses accounting for a staggering $433.2 billion…” Read more

PUBLISHED CFPB, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Treasury Launch Inquiry into Costly Credit Cards and Loans Pushed on Patients for Health Care Costs

Public input will bolster agencies’ broad efforts to safeguard consumers against predatory medical debt and collections practices

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) launched an inquiry into high-cost specialty financial products, such as medical credit cards and installment loans, that are pushed on patients as a way to pay for routine medical care and which drive up health care costs and medical debt. Today’s request for information builds on CFPB research on medical payment products and medical billing and collections, in addition to other actions by the CFPB and Federal agencies to relieve the burden of medical debt and collections practices. The three agencies seek information about the prevalence of these products, patients’ experiences with them, and health care providers’ incentives to offer these high-cost products to patients, which may include avoiding the insurance claims process and financial assistance programs. The CFPB will use the public input as it considers ways to address the patient harms caused by these specialty financial products. Read more

Timemark, Inc. collected illegal advance fees from more than 7,100 consumers seeking to renegotiate, settle, reduce, or alter the terms of their loans. This month, more than 7,100 people who were charged illegal advance fees by Timemark, Inc. to renegotiate, settle, reduce, or alter the terms of their federal student loans will receive a check in the mail. Read more