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Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

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Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

2019 was a banner year for advocacy and legal accomplishments in the accounts receivable management industry and landmark news such as the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, state laws on data privacy and consumer protections, and much more.

Here are some of this year’s most significant and well-read stories published in ACA Daily:

January 2019

New York Law Outlines Requirements for Collection of Decedents’ Debts

A state law outlining legal obligations of debt collectors working with the family of a deceased debtor took effect in March 2019. The New York State Collectors Association tracked and worked on more than 100 bills during the legislative session, including the law on decedents’ debts.

Government Shutdown: ACA Comments on Role of Industry Outlined in Letter to House Financial Services Leaders

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif, ACA International commented on the federal government shutdown while noting the benefits of consumer-creditor communications during times of financial hardship. Waters penned a letter to leaders at financial services industry trade associations and credit bureaus seeking information about their efforts to help consumers impacted by the shutdown. ACA urged the committee to consider the importance of an ongoing dialogue with consumers facing financial hardship.

“ACA members have long worked to engage in open communication with consumers about their financial situations to help provide solutions for resolving debts. Consumers need the information that ACA members provide them to maintain their financial health, and open communication can often lead to the most favorable outcome for them,” said CEO Mark Neeb in response to the letter.

February 2019

ACA Member Defeats FDCPA Claim Involving Medical Debt Credit Reporting in Case Supported by ACA’s Industry Advancement Program

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed the accounts receivable management industry a significant win when it ruled unanimously that ACA International member Medical Business Bureau, LLC did not misrepresent the “character” of the consumer’s debt when it reported to consumer reporting agencies. The appellate court concluded that Medical Business Bureau was not liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for how it treated the consumer’s indebtedness for credit-reporting purposes because the credit report was factually correct.

ACA supported its member’s initiative to obtain this important, precedent-setting FDCPA decision positively impacting ACA’s members and the accounts receivable management industry by providing Industry Advancement Funds to help defray the cost of litigation as well as filing an amicus brief.

Parties Settle Crunch San Diego LLC v. Marks

The parties in Crunch San Diego, LLC v. Marks reached an agreement to settle the case related to the definition of an autodialer. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will not consider Crunch San Diego, LLC’s request that it review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that the web-based platform the gym operator used to send promotional text messages to its members’ and prospective customers’ cell phones may be subject to the TCPA’s autodialer restrictions because it “stores numbers and dials them automatically to send text messages to a stored list of phone numbers.”

March 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Debates Deference to FCC TPCA Order

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case focused on the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of an unsolicited advertisement under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act—one that could have major implications on the law. In the case, PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., a chiropractic office brought a class action lawsuit against a publisher of a widely-used compendium of prescribing information for prescription drugs, alleging the publisher violated the TCPA by sending an unsolicited offer for a free e-book by fax.

Daily Decision Deep Dive: ACA Member Secures FDCPA Victory in Illinois District Court

The Northern District of Illinois issued an industry favorable decision on the issue of overshadowing. In Thompson v. Harris & Harris, the court found that the validation letter and one subsequent voicemail did not overshadow the consumer’s validation rights. Aside from being an industry win, this case illustrates the delicate balance that must be achieved between the consumer’s right to dispute the debt within the 30-day period and the debt collector’s right to demand payment. The letter discussed in this case found that balance by providing the consumer with payment options without creating a false sense of urgency that would confuse the consumer into thinking she has to pay the debt without the ability to dispute it.

April 2019

CFPB Releases Consumer Report After Reviewing 25,000 Public Comments

Following requests for information (RFIs) on complaint reporting practices and complaint inquiry handling processes, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released an informative report showing that by the end of 2018, only 1 % of debt collection complaints were pending with the consumer and 2 % were pending with the bureau. The bureau received over 25,000 public comments on the RFIs related to reporting practices and handling processes, including comments from ACA International. ACA has long held the view that the bureau’s reporting and handling processes mischaracterize complaints against the accounts receivable management industry, particularly in reference to its failure to contextualize the number of complaints as compared to the number of contacts the debt collection industry makes to consumers over a given year.

Federal Court Strikes Down Exemption in TCPA for Government-Backed Debt Calls

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled an amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act allowing calls with autodialers for government debt is unconstitutional. The court’s ruling in American Association of Political Consultants v. FCC was issued as ACA International and the accounts receivable management industry continue to await clarity from the Federal Communications Commission on the definition of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS.)

May 2019

CFPB Alleges Consumer Law Violations by Large Credit Repair Companies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took a major step toward eliminating predatory practices from the credit and collection space by filing a lawsuit against defendants operating two of the largest credit repair companies in the United States. According to the complaint, the defendants violated multiple consumer protection statutes, including the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), by charging consumers unlawful advance fees in connection with credit repair services and by marketing and telemarketing those services through deceptive representations.

CFPB Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Debt Collection Rule

On May 7, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally released its long-awaited proposed rule for the debt collection industry. The release of the proposed rule signals the biggest development in the accounts receivable management industry since passage of the FDCPA nearly 40 years ago. ACA’s CEO, Mark Neeb, and other members of the ACA executive team attended a CFPB’s field hearing. It should be noted that the proposed rule addresses a number of key issues about which ACA International has long sought clarity, including safe-harbor procedures for the use of voicemail messages, text messages and email. The proposed rule also provides more clarity on the requirements for a validation notice, including a model form for a validation notice. ACA is pleased that the CFPB chose to address the use of modern technology and communication, which have long been a source of great frustration for debt collectors.

Look for the remaining top articles of the year in ACA Daily in the coming days as well as highlights from Collector magazine in 2019.

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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