Connect with us


State AG Updates: June 28-29, 2021



Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.


  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued amendments to the federal mortgage servicing regulations to reinforce economic recovery as foreclosure moratoria expire. The rules, which become effective on August 31, 2021, will create temporary safeguards to ensure that borrowers may explore options prior to foreclosure, as well as create flexibility for mortgage servicers.

Consumer Protection

  • California Attorney General Bonta announced a proposed settlement against Voyageurs International, Ltd., resolving allegations that the travel company only offered partial refunds for a cancelled high school European trip and kept the remaining fees. The settlement requires the company to provide full refunds, totaling about $247,000 in restitution, as well as to comply with the Seller of Travel Act and cease charging consumers cancellation fees when it is unable or unwilling to provide the purchased services.

Deceptive Debt Relief

  • A complaint filed on June 27, 2021 in the Southern District of Florida is accusing law firm GM Law and associated entities of conducting a student loan debt elimination telemarketing scam to debtors. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief and damages.


  • Connecticut Attorney General Tong led a coalition of attorneys general in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject incentive payments to transmission developers to join regional organizations, which they generally have to join regardless. The coalition is arguing that the incentives, which will add to ratepayer costs, are unnecessary and unfair.

Federal Trade Commission

  • A bipartisan coalition of 28 attorneys general co-led by New York Attorney General James and Colorado Attorney General Weiser sent a letter to Congress expressing support for the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act (H.R. 2668), which would give the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) the power to obtain restitution. The coalition is arguing that if the FTC is not able to obtain restitution attorneys general must divert resources to perform duties that the FTC previously performed.

Financial Misconduct

  • North Carolina Attorney General Stein filed a lawsuit against companies Home Relief Services, Amstar Services, and Consumer Proponents & Associates Corporation and their principals for allegedly engaging in illegal debt adjusting, collecting unlawful advance fees, and falsely promising to reduce mortgage loan payments, obtain loan forbearance, and prevent foreclosures. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, cancellation of the associated contracts, civil penalties, restitution, and fees.

Medicaid Fraud

  • North Carolina Attorney General Stein announced that the former CEO of Extended Reach Day Treatment for Children and Adolescents, a Medicaid provider that provided day treatment and other behavioral health services, was sentenced for health care fraud. The settlement includes 24 months in prison and a $337,615 restitution payment. The defendant added extra treatment services that were not provided on claim submissions along with services actually given, as well as billed for psychotherapy services not provided by a doctor.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a report outlining legal violations and prior supervisory findings leading to public enforcement in 2020. For example, the CFPB found that consumer reporting companies accepted consumer data from furnishers that were unreliable, violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The CFPB also found redlining, several violations of the Regulation X mortgage servicing rules, and misleading actions by student loan servicers.

Consumer Protection

  • Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced that before-and-after-school daycare program KCE Champions LLC is required to change its business practices and pay $250,000. An investigation found that the company unfairly deceived parents by failing to adequately disclose late fees, automatically withdrew payments without clear authorization, excessively called parents to collect fees, and dis-enrolled children if payments were not made for two weeks.

Medicaid Fraud

  • Vermont Attorney General Donovan announced a settlement with Health Care & Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont, resolving allegations that it violated the Vermont False Claims Act by submitting Medicaid claims for services provided by an employee on the exclusion list. The settlement requires the company to pay about $170,000 and adopt remedial measures.

State AG Office News

  • New Jersey Attorney General Grewal will be leading the enforcement division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission beginning on July 26, 2021. He will name an interim attorney general this week to finish his term, which ends in January.

Unfair Debt Practices

  • Georgia Attorney General Carr and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that they entered into a consent order with Burlington Financial Group, LLC and its owners and executives resolving allegations that they violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Fair Business Practices Act, and the Debt Adjustment Act with their advertising and sale of debt relief and credit repair services. The company allegedly misled financially vulnerable consumers, many elderly, into paying advance fees for services it falsely promised would eliminate credit card debt and improve credit scores, which ultimately left these consumers in a worse financial position. The consent judgment requires the company to stop doing business in Georgia and pay $150,000 in civil penalties.

Source link

Continue Reading


Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?



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.

Learn more:

Source link

Continue Reading


Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances



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

Source link

Continue Reading


How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit



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.



Source link

Continue Reading