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At SCOTUS, business groups and lawmakers cast doubt on DOJ’s proposed easy fix for CFPB - Reuters

(Reuters) - I read the 23 amicus briefs filed Friday and Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau so you don’t have to. A bevy of business groups, including trade associations for consumer financial institutions regulated by the CFPB; Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate; defendants in CFPB proceedings and conservative and libertarian groups told the Supreme Court that they agree with Seila Law that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional because the bureau’s lone director cannot be removed by the president except for good cause. Reuters


Americans’ Credit Card Debt Poised to Reach 10-Year High - ABI

The share of credit card borrowers who are at least 90 days past due on their accounts will probably tick up to 2.01 percent next year, the highest level since 2010, according to a forecast by TransUnion, Bloomberg News reported. Still, the credit-rating company said that the increase isn’t a cause for concern, noting that bad card debt still remains much lower than the level seen during the last recession. The number of people with access to revolving credit reached a record 200.5 million in the third quarter. That figure was helped by private-label credit card originations, which reversed a 10-quarter slump by posting 2.4 percent growth, according to TransUnion. Major card issuers including American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services have warned they’ve begun to tighten their credit standards in anticipation of a potential economic downturn. Still, lenders say that their customers have continued to keep up with their bills as the U.S. unemployment rate remains near historic lows. ABI


Fed boosts plan to inject billions into the US economy - Markets Insider

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York bolstered its scheduled repo operations Thursday, planning larger capital injections through the end of the year to avoid another lending rate spike. The Fed boosted its overnight repurchase agreements set between December 31 and January 2 to a $150 billion cap from the previous $120 billion level, according to a Thursday release. The figure serves as a limit for banks seeking additional liquidity, and it's possible firms' demand won't meet the increased supply. Markets Insider


U.S. Consumers Expected to Maintain Strong Credit Activity in 2020 - Transunion

The U.S. consumer is expected to perform well once more in 2020, marking one of the longest periods of sustained positive credit activity in recent decades. TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) 2020 consumer credit forecast projects serious delinquency rates will either decline or remain about the same for auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and unsecured personal loans. Transunion


Fed Is Likely to Leave Rates Alone, and Markets Wonder What’s Next - ABI

The Federal Reserve is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at its final meeting of the year on Wednesday as officials wait to see how the economy fares after they cut rate three times in 2019, the New York Times reported. The Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, and his colleagues made an aggressive shift this year. After slowly raising rates between late 2015 and 2018 to keep an expanding economy operating at an even keel, they lowered them between July and October as President Trump’s trade war roiled business confidence and global growth slowed. Their moves seem to have helped, and growth looks to be on sounder footing. Policymakers have signaled that they will now leave rates unchanged until something causes them to reassess the outlook, a message that economists expect the Fed to reaffirm in its post-meeting statement and new economic projections today. ABI


CFPB challenger to SCOTUS: Let Congress fix bureau’s constitutional flaw - Reuters

Both the Justice Department and a debt relief law firm challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau argued in briefs this week that the U.S. Supreme Court need not kill off the bureau because of criticisms that its unique structure violates separation of powers doctrine. But the two sides offered the justices quite different proposed remedies for the alleged constitutional flaw. Reuters


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Curb Some Loans as Regulator Reins In Risk - ABI

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pulling back on some mortgages meant to make homeownership more affordable, their latest effort to rein in risk at the behest of their regulator, the Wall Street Journal reported. The two companies are cutting back on the proportion of loans they back to borrowers with small down payments, for example, and mortgages to deeply indebted borrowers. The regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, says it wants Fannie and Freddie to be prepared for a possible economic downturn. Tamping down risk could limit their defaults and produce bigger profits, which in turn could help them appeal to potential investors. The FHFA has made it a priority to get Fannie and Freddie out from under government control, but doing so will likely require the firms to raise billions of dollars from investors. Critics say the changes could run counter to Fannie’s and Freddie’s mission of making homeownership more accessible and affordable. ABI


IRS Privatization Program for Collecting Tax Debts Triples Profits in 2019 - Government Executive

The federal government’s program outsourcing the collection of longstanding tax debt to private companies tripled the profits it brought to the Internal Revenue Service this year, though it still fell short of the revenues lawmakers had anticipated.   The private debt collection program brought in $212 million from taxpayers in fiscal 2019, up from $82 million the previous year. The four companies participating in the program took commissions of $39 million, leaving—after other administrative costs—$148 million in net revenue to the IRS. Government Executive


More student loan collection bids seen despite court order - Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

The Education Department revealed in a court filing this week that it identified an additional 29,000 former Corinthian Colleges students who were pursued for federal student loan payments despite a court order barring collection.   A federal judge held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt and fined the department $100,000 in October after the agency said it attempted to collect payments from 16,000 former students of the defunct for-profit college in violation of the order. Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette


DeVos Proposes New Agency, Run by Someone Else, for Student Loans - ABI

Frequently the target of angry borrowers who say the Education Department does a bad job managing the student loans of tens of millions of people, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos yesterday said that the government’s $1.5 trillion student loan portfolio should be someone else’s problem, the New York Times reported. Calling student loan financing an “untamed beast,” DeVos said it should be spun off into its own federal agency. Her department’s Federal Student Aid office is battered by “the ever-changing political whims of Washington,” she said, and “cannot fulfill its mission” in its current form. The Department of Education has for years drawn criticism from government auditors and lawmakers of both parties for its slipshod management of the vendors it hires to service its ballooning portfolio of loans. But DeVos has faced especially intense disapproval from borrowers and their advocates. During her tenure, a program to relieve the debts of teachers, police officers and others who work in public-service jobs has become a bureaucratic disaster, rejecting nearly all who apply. The department allowed a troubled for-profit chain, Dream Center Education Holdings, to collect millions of dollars in federal funds that it was ineligible to receive before it collapsed this year. And a federal judge recently held DeVos in contempt of court for illegally collecting on the debts of thousands of students defrauded by another, defunct for-profit chain of colleges. (In a court filing on Monday, the department said it had incorrectly tried to bill 45,000 borrowers, nearly three times the number it had previously acknowledged.) DeVos said yesterday that a separate agency, governed by an “expert and apolitical” board, would be better able to run what has become, in effect, one of America’s biggest banks. ABI