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Under Cash Advance Loan Agreement, Fourth Circuit Rejects Arbitration Request Again

The Fourth Circuit confirmed the refusal to compel arbitration under the terms of cash advance loan agreement by the Middle District of North Carolina on 10th May, 2017. In Dillon v/s BMO Harris Bank, N.A., BMO Harris tried to force arbitration pursuant to reach an agreement that would need the arbitrator to adopt the law of the Otoe-Missouri tribe to the exclusion of both the federal and state law. The Fourth Circuit said that the arbitration clause at issue was not enforceable because it was a potential waiver of the federal law rights of a borrower. The decision of the Fourth Circuit affirms and extends a trend in the Fourth, as well as, Eleventh Circuits of declining such tribal-law arbitration provisions in cases of payday loans. In Dillon, the plaintiff had entered upon a payday loan agreement in December 2012 with Great Plains Lending LLC. According to the agreement, he had agreed to let Great Plains withdraw payments from his bank account, via ACH (the Automated Clearing House) system. Op. at 4. Furthermore, he had agreed to arbitrate any kind of claims that he might have in connection to the agreement as subject to ‘the law of the Otoe-Missouri Tribe of Indians.’ Op. at 10. The agreement also specified that neither the Lender nor this Agreement is subject to the laws of any states in the United States of America. It also stated that no federal or state law and regulations will apply to this Agreement. Op. at 10-11. Ultimately, the plaintiff sued BMO Harris and alleged that violations of the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act). Depending on the terms mentioned in the agreement, BMO Harries tried to compel arbitration. However, the request was rejected by the Middle District of North Carolina. Confirming the decision of the District Court, the Fourth Circuit looked forward to the precedent of the Supreme Court and the recent decision on Hayes v/s Delbert Services Corp. The court had first recognized the really strong federal policy that was favoring arbitration, but described that conventional principles of contract interpretation apply to the agreements… Read More

Craving for Obscurity and Ways of Making It a Reality on the Internet Platform

Although being present in the world of internet has become a necessity nowadays, craving for obscurity is something that almost all of us have experienced at some point. But with the advent of major websites collecting and selling data, this desire of ours may be left unfulfilled. What’s worse is that everything that we search for – our medical history, the movies we like, the movies we dislike, the songs we listen to, the books we read, the news we like reading and even the people we follow or talk with over various platforms – every little intricate detail about our personality is up for grabs on the internet. A scary scenario, right? Well, although we may be deep into this vicious pit of risking our privacy, there are some ways to make this situation better if you are indeed looking to go off the face of the internet. Here are some ways to remove yourself from people search sites: Delete All Accounts That You Have Created On Any Website The first thing that you need to do in order to be completely unsearchable is to get rid of all your social media and web service accounts. Think about every social media website or any general website where you have an account. Do not focus only on the big fishes – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all of these are the popular ones which will surely come to your mind at first. Deleting them is important, but you also need to focus on every other website you have ever signed up for. Here are some steps that may help you – Most websites that have sign-up facility also send emails, so check your emails for the names of these websites. Make a list. Try to remember the ones that do not make the list. Thoroughly go through your history. After making a complete list, visit these websites one by one. To get your freedom from these accounts, go to the account settings page of these websites and search for the option to deactivate or delete your account. If you have any difficulty… Read More

Operation Choke Point: Obama Administration Accused of Last-Ditch Effort by Payday Loans Providers

Payday loans providers blame the Obama administration for attempting to utilize Operation Choke Point to shut down their industry. This has caused a situation of urgency where businesses are not being able to perform their basic functions, such as paying their employees and have also lost numerous banking relationships. A group of short-term lenders requested for emergency relief from a federal judge in the District of Columbia from the government program. CEO of Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), Dennis Shaul, said that immediate relief is more pressing than ever. CFSA represents about 9,000 brick-and-mortar short-term lenders. Dennis firmly believes that without an injunction against Operation Choke Point, some members of the CFSA will be compelled to slim down or completely shut down their operations. In 2012, the Justice Department designed Operation Choke Point to attack telemarketing, internet, mail and other widespread market fraud by restricting scamsters’ access to the system of banking. The Justice Department teamed up with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to crack down on scams by making use of the federal regulators to put pressure on banks to not provide services to businesses that are fraudulent. However, critics of the program are of the opinion that it was utilized to pressurize on legal industries that the Obama administration did not like, such as payday lenders and firearms sellers. One of Obama’s former official of the Justice Department said in April that the program had unconscious, but collateral consequence on the US consumers and banks. Operation Choke Point: A Shadow Campaign A spokesman for Advance America, Jamie Fulmer, said that this program is a shadow campaign. To eliminate short-term lending, regulators are using backdoor tactics. In a 2014 lawsuit filed against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for their roles in the program the CFSA and Advance America are co-plaintiffs. Twenty-one banks have already sent their termination notifications to the company since 2013 said Christian Rudolph, Advance America’s chief financial officer. When requesting… Read More

Stepping up to the Plate for Small Payday Advance Loan Companies

As the final days wound down for the Obama administration, it was made crystal clear that the former POTUS wanted to effectively nationalize small dollar, short term loans. In fact, Obama clearly intended for this proposed lending nationalization to be a part of his legacy. However, the measures that the former administration took to effect this lending change could cause big problems for payday advance loan providers. Back in June of 2016, the efforts to hamstring small payday advance loan companies began to become clearer. That is when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the Small Dollar Lending Rule. This rule was clearly set up to cause serious problems for payday advance loan companies. It laid out rules that would “clean up” the short term lending industry. This rule forces payday advance loan lenders to put serious efforts into determining if their customers will be able to repay their loans; like these lending companies weren’t already doing so… Most payday advance loan providers have accepted the fact that this rule is going to take effect. However, many lenders in this industry are asking for is that they not be forced to put in more effort to prove the financial fitness of their clients than lenders who provide mortgages, car loans and other large loans do as part of their loan application process. In other words, payday advance loan companies shouldn’t have to put more effort into providing smaller loans that the big loan companies do. Many industry experts believe that if the proposed rule goes through that it will eliminate 60 to 75 percent of payday advance loan locations. In fact, lending companies have indicated that they would walk away from this industry if the proposal goes through as it was originally written. There are already rules in place that stop big banks from dabbling in the short term lending market. Essentially what you have is a scenario where small payday advance loan companies are squeezed out of the industry, while big banks are blocked from offering small dollar loans. This would effectively allow supporters of Obama’s vision to… Read More

Thrifty Tips to Help you Save Money when Buying Clothes for the Family

It seems that the financial problems the country has faced over the past decade have actually got people thinking about saving money again. Sure, there are some people who are spending like crazy now that the economy is somewhat recovering. However, there are still people out there who have their own reasons to look for ways to save a little bit of money on the things that they purchase. Clothing can be incredibly expensive, so it is no wonder that people are looking for tips and tricks to help them save money when buying threads for the family. Here are some of our top, proven effective tips to save money on clothing purchases: Check out Yard Sales and Garage Sales There are some fantastic clothing purchase that can be made at neighborhood garage sales and yard sales. Some people outgrow clothing or simply decide to sell it for pennies on the dollar when they have their yearly yard sales. If you think that only worn, dirty or out of style selections are available, you may want to rethink your stance on garage sale clothing options. People will regularly put items up for sale that have never even been worn. Yard sale experts will tell you that time and time again they find fantastic, name brand apparel items with the tags still on them at standard yard sales. People often get clothes that don’t fit as gifts or simply don’t like the style of clothing that they have received, and they put it up for dirt cheap at yard sales. The author has personally seen Levi jeans that would normally sell for $50 at various yard sales being sold for a dollar to five dollars a pair. You can’t beat those kinds of deals. Check out the Clearance Section The big stores all have clearance sections that allow frugal clothes shoppers to find some real bargains. And those same stores will routinely put these items through two rounds of discounting before they just get rid of them. The key is to get to know the timing of these cycles at your… Read More

Potential Backlash in New York to Proposed CFPB Federal Payday Rules

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been granted the official powers to act as a watchdog group over the landscape of consumer financial products. The CFPB also happens to have recently released a draft of new federal rules for the payday lending industry. Some opponents of short term lending have said that the new rules are a great start in helping to regulate (some might say over-regulate) the burgeoning consumer lending industry. In New York, though, some financial experts and consumer groups are warning people to take a stand to protect their already effective consumer protection laws. Like New York, there are 13 others states along with Washington D.C. that have laws that cap the interest rates on payday loans. Opponents of payday lending in those states have said that the caps help to prevent payday lending companies from running profitable businesses. Regulators in New York have worked aggressively to stop payday lenders from getting around their laws. Some lending companies have opened operations on tribal lands, or via websites. So far, the regulators in New York have been successful in their bid to keep payday lending out of the state, for the most part. Some payday loans do get made in the state, though. Being as some state leaders seem to detest the payday lending industry, though, these exceptions to the rule are being confronted regularly. Other states, like Missouri and Wisconsin, have more relaxed stances on payday lending. In some of these states there are more payday lending locations than there are McDonald’s or Starbucks locations. The new rules that the CFPB has proposed are not supposed to preempt any existing state laws. However, there are some powerful groups of payday lenders that have made the argument for New York to roll back the state level regulations in order to be consistent with the current federal guidelines. Opponents of payday loans in New York believe that the new federal rules are not as effective as the protections already in place at the state level. These payday lending opponents have started to rile their supporters to make the… Read More

Surprise! Your Netflix Bill Just Got More Expensive

Netflix has publicly started a revolution that is allowing millions of people to transition from cable/satellite providers to streaming media. Of course, they are not the only company that offers streaming services. Hulu, Amazon Prime and other apps/services are also available. And it turns out that they all have more in common, beside just letting you get rid of cable and to stream lots of great content to your device of choice. It turns out that the streaming services are all becoming a bit more expensive. With Netflix being the most popular of all these services, it is no wonder that people are a bit surprised to find out that their Netflix subscription costs just went up a bit. About two years ago Netflix began charging new subscribers $9.99 a month for their basic content streaming service. This service is essentially a plan that gives people the ability to stream HD content to two devices at the same time. People who were already subscribed to Netflix prior to two years ago, were paying $7.99 per month. Those same Netflix subscribers were grandfathered in under the new rates. If you are somebody who has had Netflix for more than two years, you probably enjoyed knowing that you were paying a little bit less than some of those who were a little late coming to the party. Well, that all comes to an end, as of the beginning of May 2016. Subscribers who were paying the old $7.99 fee had to start paying $2 more each month. This is an increase that caught a lot of old-school Netflix users by surprise. This change does not take place immediately for everyone. Netflix delivered a first quarter earnings call and said that the “un-grandfather” process would start with newer customers in the beginning. Over the course of this year, everyone will start paying the higher fee, with the oldest subscribers being the last to do so. A survey was conducted and it concluded that the $24/year price increase would probably result in about 4 percent of current subscribers dropping Netflix service. Streaming Costs Continue… Read More

The Right Approach to using Bankruptcy to Deal with Debt Problems

Bankruptcy! The mention of this word can dredge up some very negative associations for many people. We often think about bankruptcy as being representative of someone – or some corporation – that has been irresponsible with finances and is looking for a way to instantly escape all of their financial problems. And sure, there have been cases of people using bankruptcy haphazardly over the years. Oftentimes, though, people wind up filing for bankruptcy to deal with incredibly hard circumstances and scenarios. The loss of a good job, medical problems and even divorce can be incredibly trying in and of themselves. And these types of situations also tend to lead to extreme financial hardships for thousands of people every year. It is folks who are going through these types of situations, compounded by big money problems who can often benefit the most from filing for bankruptcy. One reason that bankruptcy still carries such a stigma is because some people assume that when a person files for bankruptcy it is just because they didn’t keep a sharp eye on their finances or that they spent more money than they had any business spending. The majority of bankruptcy lawyers will tell you that these are not usually the precipitating factors that lead to personal bankruptcies. It is almost always unforeseen negative events in the lives of people that lead to them ultimately making the very difficult choice to file for bankruptcy to get some protection from creditors/collectors and to get a fresh start on their finances. When people hear about someone filing for bankruptcy, or even bankruptcy laws, they often fail to comprehend what it is all about. Filers get a fresh start, they get a chance to rebuild their credit scores, they get freedom from collection agencies and they often get a chance to breathe easier and to improve their personal/professional relationships too. These laws were created for these purposes. Everyone deserves a second chance, and though it is not anyone’s first choice, filing for bankruptcy is often the only recourse that they have. Bankruptcy Filings are going down Data provided by… Read More

Payday Loans are the Sole Financial Lifeline for Many People

The House Committee on Financial Services recently had a hearing to discuss the Obama Administrations maneuvering and attempts to wage war on the short term lending industry. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created because of the passing of Dodd-Frank and has been on a mission since day one to wipe out short term, small dollar lending companies. Additionally, the bureau seeks to destroy as many of the online lending choices that American consumers currently have access to. The attack on these lending industries is a clear cut case of government overreach and just another case of the government working in cahoots with the big banking industry. People who have a grasp on credit understand that higher risk borrowers are always going to pay higher interest rates/additional fees. That’s just the way it is, and that is what small dollar lenders build their businesses upon. Those who do not like the short term lending industry seem to fail to realize that without the services these companies provide, millions of people would suffer. Getting rid of short term lending might put an end to higher interest rate loans, but it would also eliminate access to credit for millions of people. Folks who need to get their cars repaired or pay for medical bills, but who are unable to get a loan at the bank would just have to do without. That is simply not an equitable equation no matter how you slice it. Though many media outlets have been in the practice of demonizing payday lenders the simple fact is that these unique lending companies provide a much-needed service to the consumers they provide loans for. And despite what the CFPB says, the states that allow these types of loans already do a good job of regulating the industry at a statewide level. Consider the story of Robert Sherrill’s experience with payday loans. He was, in a former life, a drug dealer. He did time in prison, and sought to turn his life around when he got out. Robert could not get a good job, so he decided to start… Read More

How to Avoid Wasting your Money so you can Save More Every Month

If a home or building is not staying warm in the winter or cool in the summer, there are tests that can be done to figure out the source of the problem. There are many things that could be to blame. It could be old windows that need replacing, doors that are letting a draft in or a lack of insulation in the attic. And there are dozens of other sources that can prevent a home from maintaining a comfortable temperature. It just take a bit of work to search around and find out where the sources of energy loss are occurring. The same thing applies to your bank account. There are lots of little expenses that can eat away at your bank account balance. If you don’t do a check from time to time, and apply a fix for the problem areas, those little money drains will continue to add up to a major financial loss for your household. The idea is to save as much money as you can. To do so, you’ll have to get your financial records out and go over all of your expenses. You’ll ultimately find some expenses you can reduce or eliminate. This takes time, but is worth doing when you have a few hours to spare. In the meantime, though, we have some very common expenses that you may want to think about reducing or getting rid of in order to save more money each month. Cable/Satellite TV When is the last time you looked at your cable bill? Have you noticed how expensive this type of service has become? The cable and satellite providers love to tack on all sorts of charges, and their prices are always going up. It is not uncommon at all for a household to pay out up to $100 a month on basic cable and equipment costs each month. It’s time to cut the cord. Ditch traditional cable and start using streaming TV services, like Netflix, Crackle or Sling TV. For about 10 percent of the cost of the average cable bill, you can enjoy tons… Read More

Is it a Good Idea to Take Financial Advice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

By now, just about everyone has heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.) This bureau has been given the task to help protect United States consumers from illegal financial dealings and other misdoings. However, the CFPB has been on a bit of a roll lately. With a nearly limitless budget and the backing of the Obama administration, it seems that this agency is out to spread its influence as much as it can. Case in point – the CFPB recently put together a tool that they plan on using to help measure the financial standing of Americans. They say that they will then be able to better assist Americans with their finances. According to the head of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, “A key part of our mission is providing resources that aid and empower people to lead stable and healthy financial lives. Our financial well-being tool will give financial educators an important means by which to evaluate and support consumers’ financial health.” Earlier this month, the CFPB put out a report that defines their idea of financial well-being. This report draws on information that was obtained via consumer interviews, in-house research and consulting sessions with financial educators.  According to the report financial well-being is, “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.” The CFPB’s tool includes a list of 10 questions that can be used by financial educators when they are working with clients. According to the CFPB, the way that people answer these questions indicates how well off they are financially. The CFPB has created a scale that includes four essential elements that comprise financial well-being. Here are the four elements that are used in the scale: Present day financial security – This is the element that is focused on whether or not people feel like they are in control of their daily and monthly finances. Future financial security – This element is based upon how consumers feel about their ability to… Read More

Massachusetts Attorney General Sues Debt Collection Firm over Customer Abuse Issues

The Attorney General in Massachusetts recently sued one of the most prominent debt collection law firms in the state, along with two of the firm’s owners. The suit alleges that the firm filed repeat lawsuits against customers for unpaid debts or, in some cases, debts that were completely inaccurate. The Attorney General states that the debt collection company was acting in direct violation of the consumer protection laws of the State of Massachusetts with regards to the pursuing of debts and utilizing judicial proceedings. The complaint, which was filed in the Suffolk Superior Court was officially filed against Lustig, Glaser and Wilson, P.C. and the owners of the firm, Ronald Lustig and Kenneth Wilson. The suit alleges that as far back as 2011, the Lustig Firm filed in excess of 100,000 debt collection lawsuits in the state. Most of these suits seem to have been filed based on unsubstantiated debts and inaccurate data that were owned by national debt buying companies. A good deal of these lawsuits were filed against people who only had social security or other types of income to rely on; forms of income that are legally exempt from any types of payments ordered by the courts. Because of all of this unlawful litigation, since the year 2011, the law firm has obtained judgements against residents of Massachusetts that total up to more than $125 million, while pursuing consumers about the judgments that were handed down. Attorney General Healey said, “We allege that this firm and its owners took advantage of thousands of Massachusetts consumers by demanding money they had no right to collect and on the basis of debts they could not prove. The company used the judicial system to intimidate and harass people, and we are working hard to make sure that this kind of conduct ends and that the company and its owners are held accountable.” To keep their practice going, the Lustig Firm is alleged to have relied on basic computer spreadsheets that were given to them by national debt buying companies. These spreadsheets allowed the firm to process thousands of accounts for… Read More

More Families Turning to Pawn Shops when Money gets Tight

Just about every household experiences it from time to time: money gets tight and there is no cash on hand until the next payday arrives. Unfortunately, though, many people cannot wait up to two weeks to take care of important expenses. More and more families are taking their possessions to local pawn shops to get cash loans to tide them over until the next paycheck gets deposited in the bank. Jerri Smith runs a household, and she said in a recent interview, “I am a single mother and I made less than $37,000 last year on my job and every now and then I need a little help. I don’t need a bank account or good credit to get a loan from a pawn shop. All I need is a valid ID and an item with ‘reasonable’ value.” Smith is 30 years old, she works as a retail manager in the suburbs of Chicago Heights. She said that without loans from the local pawn shop she would have nowhere else to turn when she needs financial assistance. According to Smith, “My credit is bad so I can’t get a bank loan. I no longer have a bank account, which means I can’t get a payday loan either. And I don’t own my car so a title loan is out too.” The economy has been improving as of late, but pawn shop managers say that middle class folks, like Ms. Smith, have become some of the most frequent customers at many pawn shops across the land. According to a manager at the Cash America Pawn location in Chicago Heights, “The majority of our customers are middle-class. Having somewhere to go for a quick loan is necessary during hard times like these.” The Cash America chain is operated by Fort Worth, Texas based company Cash America International Incorporated. They operate over 850 pawn shops in 21 different states. At most pawn shops, people can purchase video games, electronic devices, DVDs and even jewelry. Business at these locations, like the Harvey Pawn location in suburban Harvey, remains consistent and is actually growing. Brian… Read More