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California needs to pay attention to credit repair companies

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It wasn’t front-page news when the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued two of the biggest credit repair companies in America: Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com.

But it got the attention of consumer advocates and should get the attention of lawmakers.

These companies are accused of illegally charging consumers upfront for credit repair services and of using deceptive marketing to lure clients.

There are hundreds of credit repair companies in California. Many of these companies prey on consumers who are desperate to improve their credit score.

For years, consumer advocates have asserted that these credit repair companies are a waste of time and money. In fact, most of what these repair companies claim to do, consumers can do themselves for free.

These companies are over promising and not delivering, and are charging the consumer a fee and locking them into a monthly contract that can cost over $100 a month.

Every consumer group says the same thing regarding credit repair: improving your credit score requires time and effort.

The best way to improve credit is to pay all your bills on time and pay down your debt. As president of an association of debt collectors, I know that spending hundreds of dollars on credit repair companies is a waste of money and it can end up hurting your credit score.

We at the California Association of Collectors work with consumers who are in debt, and we know that abuse by credit repair consumer is on the rise. Complaints against credit repair companies have jumped dramatically.

According to the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, complaints against credit repair services, credit reporting and consumer reports made up 43 percent of the total complaints since 2018.

It is a bit ironic that the Trump administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now holding them accountable, when California could step in.

The state of California also has the ability to oversee these repair companies under the California Credit Services Act. Unfortunately the act was written in 1984 and has not been updated since.

The Act requires a credit service organization to obtain a certificate of registration from the Department of Justice. Unfortunately, none of this information is readily available and there is no public listing for credit repair organizations.

Hundreds of credit repair organizations are operating in California and targeting consumers. People have no way to know if the credit repair companies that pop up with a basic internet search are legitimate. Are these bad actors like Lexington Law? We don’t know.

Assemblyman Tim Grayson, a Democrat from Concord, has proposed Assembly Bill 699 to update and modernize the Credit Services Act. We support this effort.

AB 699 would give the consumer greater transparency and disclosure of costs in order to protect them from credit repair scams. It would also make it clear what services are provided by these credit service organizations.

Unfortunately, once the bill was introduced, Lexington Law hired a high-powered lobbying firm to oppose the bill. The bill is on hold. But given the federal lawsuit, it is our hope that the Legislature and the Attorney General will work to update the California Credit Services Act and bring more transparency to this industry before more California consumers fall victim to these scams.

Courtney Reynaud is president of the California Association of Collectors, [email protected] She wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

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Dustin Aab on the power of working hard to achieve success

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The more closely we look around us, the more we get nearer to reality where so many individuals work with a certain grit, commitment and dedication to achieve what their hearts desire.

These individuals are the ones that not only work to attain their set goals in their career but also help others in their journeys. Talking about the sales and consulting business, which is growing each passing day across nations as professionals from various industries aim to get nearer their visions and aspirations in business, we can notice the boom in this niche; thanks to professional entrepreneurs like Dustin Aab.

Based out of California, Dustin Aab is a leading American entrepreneur, who excels in sales and consulting and has been shaping the careers of hundreds of people through his astute skills and knowledge as a true professional in the industry. It was seven years ago that Dustin Aab had started his career in the sales arena and from the past six years owns his sales company, under which he is working with the mission to turn the desires and dreams of professionals into reality through his mentorship and coaching in sales.

Dustin Aab’s sales and consulting business is all about providing the best of the industry products and services that help individuals change their financial status and situation. His life has been full of challenges, but Dustin Aab very early had realized the power of working hard and putting in every possible effort to make a successful career; hence, after working so hard for years, he has been able to create the financial freedom he wanted by becoming an entrepreneur. He hopes to change as many lives as he can in his career and take people nearer to their definition of success. He does sales mentorship and consulting for not just individuals, but companies as well.

Some of the specific services he offers through his company include Real estate, amazon automation, sales training mentorship, credit repair, Instagram growth and branding, life insurance and solar.

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Dustin Aab on the importance of achieving financial freedom in life | Personal Finance News

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The more closely we look around us, the more we get nearer to reality where so many individuals work with a certain grit, commitment and dedication to achieve what their hearts desire. These individuals are the ones that not only work to attain their set goals in their career but also help others in their journeys. Talking about the sales and consulting business, which is growing each passing day across nations as professionals from various industries aim to get nearer their visions and aspirations in business, we can notice the boom in this niche; thanks to professional entrepreneurs like Dustin Aab.

Based out of California, Dustin Aab is a leading American entrepreneur, who excels in sales and consulting and has been shaping the careers of hundreds of people through his astute skills and knowledge as a true professional in the industry. It was seven years ago that Dustin Aab had started his career in the sales arena and from the past six years owns his sales company, under which he is working with the mission to turn the desires and dreams of professionals into reality through his mentorship and coaching in sales.

Dustin Aab’s sales and consulting business is all about providing the best of the industry products and services that help individuals change their financial status and situation. His life has been full of challenges, but Dustin Aab very early had realized the power of working hard and putting in every possible effort to make a successful career; hence, after working so hard for years, he has been able to create the financial freedom he wanted by becoming an entrepreneur. He hopes to change as many lives as he can in his career and take people nearer to their definition of success. He does sales mentorship and consulting for not just individuals, but companies as well.

Some of the specific services he offers through his company include Real estate, amazon automation, sales training mentorship, credit repair, Instagram growth and branding, life insurance and solar.

(Disclaimer: This is a Brand Desk content)

 

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Home Depot, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HD), J P Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) – Key Markets To Watch As The Mortgage Boom Continues To Fade

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The last year has seen the most eye-popping spike in value in history. 

While the Covid 19 pandemic initially shut down economies across the globe, the Work from Home movement caused a mass exodus away from metropolitan areas where many large companies are headquartered.  Homebuyers have been laying siege on the housing market to the point where houses in the most desirable locations are selling for more than 50% above the asking price in some cases.

This current trend is all thanks to the Fed lowering interest rates last year in response to the pandemic to help bolster the economy. 

Lowering the interest rate allows banks to charge less interest on consumer mortgages.  When mortgages are cheaper, it may entice would-be home buyers to jump on opportunities, but it also gives current homeowners the ability to re-finance (re-fi) and pocket the cash to use elsewhere.  While this was the intended response, the side effects of cheap access to money led to an immense spike in demand for mortgages.

Regarding the demand for houses from new home buyers, there is a potential for the steam to run out of this drive because buyers are being priced out of opportunities. This is partly due to the massive supply and demand imbalance and partly due to raw materials for new houses such as lumber adding so much to the price of a new house, which eventually dissuades buyers away from the market.

The mortgage markets, however, are also running out of steam.  It can be inferred from the earnings call from Rocket Companies, Inc. (NYSE: RKT) that the mortgage market is experiencing a price war that, while temporary, is weighing on profits.  Mortgage companies are continually fighting to provide consumers with better rates, but this competition can only last for so long.

Whether you’re invested in the mortgage companies, real estate, or are simply an interested home buyer, here are some recommendations of markets to follow to find out if the steam does run out and a correction occurs in the housing market.

Mortgage Writers Rejoice

Mortgage companies like Rocket Companies, owner of Quicken Loans, North American Savings Bank (OTC: NASB), and Chase Bank (NYSE: JPM) saw massive profits during 2020 and early parts of 2021 as the demand for mortgages skyrocketed.  They expanded services, increased employee pay, and saw growth like they hadn’t seen since before the financial crisis in 2008. 

While banks generally learned their lesson the last time around, this time is different.  Back in 2008, the methods used by banks to get people to sign on the dotted lines were sometimes less than savory.  This led to a sharp rise in risky mortgages that eventually led to waves of defaults that the financial system wasn’t prepared to handle.

This time, the consumers have run at banks with their money and demanded mortgages.  On top of this, the mortgages being written are for individuals who meet lenders’ requirements.  According to this credit repair report, companies are more sophisticated now as well, and they are helping even more people get good rates and adding to the numbers flocking to mortgage companies.

However, the world is emerging from life during Covid, and the mortgage companies will be the ones to show the first signs of a cooling market.  It may have already started, as mentioned before during Rocket Companies, Inc.’s earnings call. 

The Luxuries of Home Improvement

Amazon will indeed rule the world if it can ever pose a threat to home improvement giants like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW). 

While both companies certainly specialize in retail home improvement supply, the bulk of their business is from commercial sales in contractor supplies.  If you’ve ever tried to go to a Home Depot or Lowe’s on a Saturday morning, you’ve seen the lines of contractor trucks pulling through the bay to pick up cords of PVC, lumber, and other materials.  These items are not easy to ship. All the better for the continued legacy of both of these companies.

The consistent profits for Home Depot and Lowe’s over the last year have largely been fueled by both the new home market and the refinance market.  New homes depend on raw materials to build, and if the market for new homes begins to cool, Home Depot and Lowe’s will be the stocks to watch.  However, the new home sales market tends to lag behind existing home sales since new homes are often built by large development companies as inventory before they are sold to home buyers.

To a much larger degree, home improvement projects have seen massive growth due to homeowners refinancing their mortgages and using the savings to build upon home values.  This may represent the bulk of the correlation between home improvement stocks and the mortgage market.  While the home improvement market is expected to rise in the coming years, a fall in revenues could point to a cooling in refinance applications.

Summing Up

The mortgage market relies on bringing customers to the table to sign papers. 

However, there are only so many willing buyers, and most of them have been drawn out over the last year for a variety of reasons including the Work from Home movement, extra savings built up due to lockdowns, and historically low interest rates. 

While business has been good, the world emerging from the current crisis may signal a cooling in the housing market, though not to the extent of the 2008 financial crisis. Keeping track of mortgage writing and home improvement companies may provide an idea of where the sentiment lies and allow investors to prepare for changing markets in the near future.

Photo Via Unsplash

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