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  1. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/1822-S.SL.pdf EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/28/13 - Except sections 1 and 3, which become effective 10/01/13.
  2. Earlier this year after I applied for a credit card, within a few days or so, Portfolio Recovery soft'd my credit report that the lender pulled. A couple months later, they sent me a debt letter. I applied for credit just under a month ago and the very next day, Portfolio soft'd the report that this lender pulled as well. I don't understand the point of this. The debt letter they sent me a few months ago said, due to the age of the debt, they won't report it and they won't sue. Minimally, the debt is 10 years old. So they know they can't sue or report and I'm clearly ignoring them yet they keep trying to collect. I just wish that it was included in the FDCPA that once a debt is beyond SOL for reporting and lawsuit, the JDBs can't pull your credit reports. I suspect I'll receive another letter from them soon because there is only one derogatory account left on the report they pulled and if they compare it to the previous one, they will notice I've been doing some serious repair. They might think they actually have a chance. It would be laughable if it wasn't so annoying.
  3. WELL, FINALLY the OCC Finally steps up to the plate... http://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/congressional-testimony/2013/pub-test-2013-116-oral.pdf JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo has suspended Sales of Charged off Debts in the past few weeks. http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/178_126/chase-halts-card-debt-sales-ahead-of-crackdown-1060326-1.html http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/178_144/wells-fargo-halts-card-debt-sales-as-scrutiny-mounts-1060922-1.html You see, the OCC always had guidelines for banks when placing debts for collection to third party debt collectors, and were responsible to ensure that they placed the debts with CA's who followed the FDCPA and other laws, and didn't farm out collections to rogue CA's SO, the Banks decided to sidestep all those regulations and liability by selling the debts to JDB's . Now the OCC is extending that care and concern to sales of debt, and effectively states that the banks; should not sell certain types of accounts, and has liability for selling accounts in a responsible and accurate way, and must retain records to substantiate any disputes. and must examine the JDB's for compliance with laws Thank You, Linda Almonte, who blew the whistle on Chase bank http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57396150/feds-probe-jpmorgan-chase-credit-card-collections/ Appendix 1 -- Debt Sales / Best Practices Topics I. Background II. Policies and Procedures III. Third Party Due Diligence—Vendor Management • Initial and Ongoing IV. Quality Control and Audit—Internal Controls V. Contract Terminology • Account accuracy • Initial and subsequent documentation requests • Repurchase risk • Litigation limits VI. Accounting and Reserves VII. Best Practices VIII. Debt Placements I. Background Banks have used debt sales (i.e., charged-off assets) as a management tool to control problem credit resolutions and improve recovery numbers in a timely and cost effective manner. In a debt sale, accounts are sold outright to a third party with the sales price generally based on a small percentage of the outstanding balances and the third party retaining 100 percent of the collected amount. Debt sales are generally arranged through an individual bulk sale or contractual forward-flow agreements. Debt sales require increased due diligence and enhanced controls to limit the bank’s reputation and legal risks. II. Policies and Procedures A sound management control structure includes detailed policies and procedures to promote a consistent process across the organization. Items to consider within an effective policy or procedures include: • The policy should describe who is responsible for debt sales across the organization (e.g., Corporate Credit, Ops Risk, Steering Committee, etc.). • Require the involvement of various bank risk personnel in the debt sale approval process to ensure all risks are considered (i.e. compliance, information technology, credit, legal, collections, finance, recovery, information security, etc.). Each debt sale should go through a formal approval process that is similar to a product approval process. • Require a financial analysis of why selling the debt is better than collecting the debt internally. • Detail documentation requirements to ensure accurate and reliable information is provided to the debt buyer at time of purchase. In addition, the policy should outline internal bank documentation retention standards. • The policy should address initial third party due diligence requirements and ongoing due diligence monitoring requirements. Require affirmative sign-off by a quality control review function that the debt sale assets meet the characteristics of the purchase and sale agreement and account balances are accurate. • Outline accounts that should not be sold. Items for consideration include: SCRA; minors (date of birth); settled; deceased with no remaining responsible party; accounts in disaster areas; pending bankruptcy; fraud; accounts close to statute of limitations; accounts lacking clear title; accounts lacking proof of right-to-cure or notice of intent-to-sell letters; balances comprised largely of interest and fees; cease and desist accounts; debts where payments were recently received; and, accounts in ongoing loss mitigation programs (short sales, deed in lieu; etc.). III. Third Party Due Diligence—Vendor Management Strong debt sale oversight includes an established initial and ongoing due diligence process of third party debt buyers to help control and limit legal and reputation risk. Management should establish minimum criteria for approving debt buyers and should consider the following: • Do debt buyers have appropriate licenses to operate across various state jurisdictions? • Is the debt buyer an established business? What is the length of time the debt buyer is required to be in business by bank standards? • Does the debt buying entity have audited financial statements? Are they financially sound and not under undue financial distress? • Are any regulatory or legal actions currently taken against the debt buyer or its owners/principals raising concerns or issues? Are the debt buyers and owners/principals in good standing (e.g., National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA))? • Are collection activities primarily performed in-house or are they outsourced? What activities can be outsourced—bankruptcy filing, repossessions, litigation activities, skip tracing, etc? Does the company off-shore collection processes? • Determination of how often legal actions are performed by the debt buyer in an effort to collect debt (consider placing litigation limits within the contract)? • For forward flow agreements, can the debt buyer demonstrate the needed liquidity to purchase future debt sales? • Does the debt buyer carry sufficient insurance (i.e. commercial liability and errors and omissions policy)? • Are debt buyers prohibited from reselling accounts? If they are not prohibited, what additional controls are required within the original purchase and sales agreement? • Management should maintain a file on approved debt buyer with supporting documentation to meet OCC vendor management expectations. See OCC Bulletin 2001-47 Third Party Relationships: Risk Management Principles for additional information. Management should consider the following items when performing an onsite inspection of the debt buying entity: • Business culture; • Management and business structure; • Regulatory and compliance—FDCPA, SCRA, FCRA, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, BK, Fraud, and Deceased; • Quality of internal quality control function; • Qualified legal staff; • How consumer complaints are handled and tracked; • Collection training—handbooks, procedures, and job aids; • Consumer privacy policy; • Information, data, and physical security; • Regulatory communication; • Communications are state compliant (i.e., letters, phone calls); and, • Call or collection attempt frequency. Ongoing due diligence should consider: • Reviewing annual financial statements of the buying entity to ensure ongoing financial strength. • The buying entity and its principal/owners remain in good standing. • If there are any significant changes in processes, operations, or personnel. • The volume and type of consumer complaints, as well as applicable remediation. • The volume and reason of repurchases. IV. Quality Control and Audit—Internal Controls A strong risk structure includes a quality control function that evaluates debt sales prior to the sale. This function should evaluate “data scrubs” to validate and ensure account data is complete and accurate and the account data is updated from the system of record. A transaction sample at an account level should be completed prior to the debt sale. In addition, quality control should ensured account characteristics are maintained as specified in the purchase and sales agreement. Finally, quality control should assess the reason accounts are repurchased after a debt sale is completed, and determine if additional controls are required. Audit should evaluate compliance with debt sale policy or procedures and evaluate vendor management compliance. Audit or quality control should ensure the credit bureau reporting is updated and accurate reflecting the sale or transfer of the debt. V. Contract Terminology Management should consider having a standard (i.e., boilerplate) debt sales contract for bulk and forward flow debt sales for use across business lines to ensure consistent debt sales treatment. Contract language should confirm the accuracy of account balances, confirm marketable title that is free and clear from all liens, and confirm the completeness and accuracy of account documentation. Account documentation should be sufficient to allow the debt buyer to collect accounts in the normal course of business without having to request additional documentation; however, the contract should address when additional documentation requests are required (e.g., litigation). Best practice would provide subsequent information requests for no charge, or a minimal charge once a certain threshold is reached. The bank needs to avoid the appearance of not providing the debt buyer with sufficient and appropriate information to collect debt in compliance with federal and state regulations. In this regard, bank management must supply relevant codes and an explanation of the codes (e.g., codes that indicate special handling—don’t call at work, attorney handling, etc.). The contract should spell out the debt buyer must comply with the various consumer laws and standards, such as: FDCPA; FCRA; UDAP, TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act); SCRA; cease and desist—no calls at work; etc. The contract should spell out when and under what circumstances the bank will repurchase accounts. In addition, it should allow the bank the ability to conduct ongoing, at least annual field visits. Finally, a best practice is to limit the volume of accounts the debt buyer can litigate and spell this out within the contract. VI. Accounting and Reserves Management should determine if reserves are required given the size and type of debt sales and expected repurchase risk or losses. Reserves should be established in accordance with GAAP. In addition, maintaining standard contract language would assist in the reserve process helping to eliminate the need to review each debt sale individually for different terms and conditions. VII. Best Practices • Debt buyer scorecards—enhanced controls to assess legal and reputation risk of the debt buyer that takes into consideration consumer complaints, repurchases, legal actions filed against the company, and other regulatory compliance issues. • Established oversight committee—an oversight body to oversee third party debt buyers and corresponding control structure. • Contract terminology—confirm the accuracy of account balances, confirm marketable title that is free and clear from all liens, and confirm the completeness and accuracy of account documentation. Also, the use of boilerplate contract language across lines of businesses when appropriate. • Documents—provide sufficient documentation to the debt buyer that will allow the collection of debts including relevant codes and explanation of codes (e.g., attorney handling, etc.). Some banks are now providing account statements for each account to support account balances. • No resale of debt—limiting the ability of the third party to resell the debt to another entity. By not limiting the resale of debt, the bank does not control who ultimately will collect on “their” customers and the documentary paper trail may become corrupted over time, calling legal validity and ownership into question. • Limiting the litigation strategy—banks should evaluate the litigation strategies of debt buyers and determine when and how often this strategy is used. Does it take into consideration the borrower’s ability to pay, is it a model based approach, or is the initial action to litigate all accounts at the very beginning? • MIS—establish appropriate management reporting tracking debt sales by LOB, sales price, and repurchases risk - along with the reason for repurchases. • Look-back—depending on past practices and controls, a look-back review may be required to determine if prior practices resulted in consumer harm. Debt Placements Sometimes debts are placed with a third party in an effort to improve collections prior to selling the debt. These debts placements are collected on the bank’s behalf with the third party retaining a percentage of the collected amount. Management should establish appropriate policies, procedures, and controls around these debt placements to demonstrate appropriate oversight and due diligence. Many items in this document are also relevant to debt placements _________________ Consistent with the OCC’s heightened expectations for large banks overall, the agency is raising its expectations with regard to the banks’ oversight and management of their debt sales activities. For example, while banks continue to work through integration issues, the OCC has emphasized the need for rigorous quality control processes and strong audit programs. The OCC has planned supervisory activities in the largest banks to assess policies, internal monitoring, and oversight of debt sale programs. Where OCC has been informed of planned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reviews, resident OCC teams will collaborate with CFPB bringing both a safety and soundness and a consumer protection focus to these reviews. Where examiners find unsafe and unsound practices, practices that fail to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or practices that fail to meet our heightened expectations; the OCC will take appropriate supervisory action, including enforcement actions when warranted. Where the agency becomes aware of concerns with nonbank, third party debt collectors, it will refer those issues to the CFPB, which has jurisdiction over those types of entities.
  4. Debt collection complaintsToday we’ll also start taking complaints about debt collection problems related to any consumer debt, including credit card debt, mortgages, auto loans, medical bills, and student loans. You can submit a complaint to us against any company collecting a consumer debt. You can also file a second, separate complaint against the company with which you had the original account. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/debtcollection/ Today, in addition to two bulletins putting companies on notice about harmful debt collection practices, we’re also releasing new tools for consumers: Action letters for consumers to consider using in corresponding with debt collectors and debt collection complaints. Many collection firms play by the rules and treat consumers fairly, but those that do not can cause financial harm to consumers and undermine the financial marketplace. Banks and other creditors may collect their own debt. They also may sell off debt to third parties. Those third-party debt buyers may collect the debt themselves or sell it off again for collection. Any entity that is subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 is legally required to refrain from committing unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices that would violate the Act. Action lettersWe’ve published five action letters that consumers can consider using when replying to debt collectors. These letters cay help consumers get valuable information about claims being made against them or protect themselves from inappropriate or unwanted collection activities. The letters address the following situations when the consumer: ( these are at the link above. )
  5. What type of letter should I send to Experian to get them to delete 2 hard inquiries from 2 JDBs? The phone number listed for one of the JDBs is disconnected. Neither of those salamanders reported an account, they just hard pulled and ran. LOL! I don't want to waste time sending them a letter because I'm sure they won't respond. I want to know the best way to word a letter to get Experian to just delete them. I don't want those collectors inquiries sitting there especially after I finish cleaning up the baddies. The 2 hard inquiries will be there for another 11 & the other one, 8 months. Thanks in advance.
  6. http://m.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A2678-2013 The Consumer Credit Fairness Act was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein and passed the General Assembly on a vote of 90-45. It would limit debt collection lawsuits by JDB's terminating the ability of debt buyers to sue on expired debt. lowering the statute of limitations for consumer credit transactions from six years to three years, and eliminating the right to collect the debt once the statute of limitations is expired; and requiring notice of a pending consumer credit action to be mailed to the defendants by the clerk of the court; requiring court filings to include more information about the debt and requriing the plaintiff to provide proof that the debt is owed to the plaintiff
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