The weekend's consumer law harvest from the Times:
The Times reported on Saturday that Credit Card Overhauls Seem Likely. The entire article is worth reading, but here's an excerpt:
Working with the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration, the Federal Reserve introduced its proposals in early May. It has asked for comments and expects to formalize proposals by the end of the year.
At the same time, the legislation most likely to succeed in both the House and Senate sets similar rules on consumers’ behalf. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the Democrat of New York who wrote the House bill, and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Democrat of Connecticut behind the Senate measure, said they planned to bring their measures to the floor for votes before Congress adjourns in September.
The House and Senate bills as well as the Federal Reserve require that lenders apply payments to the debt with the highest interest rate. All would ban “double cycle” billing, in which interest is charged on some already repaid debt, and all would extend the time required, currently 14 days, between a statement mailing and payment due date.
All the measures would, under various conditions, prohibit lenders from raising interest rates on existing debt. The central bank proposes that except for increases caused by changes in stated variable and introductory offers, lenders may increase interest rates only if minimum payments are more than 30 days late.
Only the Dodd bill prohibits charges for paying by mail, phone or online, and restricts marketing and offers of credit to consumers under 21.
For every video on YouTube, the judge required Google to turn over to Viacom the login name of every user who had watched it, and the address of their computer, known as an I.P. or Internet protocol address.
Both companies have argued that I.P. addresses alone cannot be used to unmask the identities of individuals with certainty. But in many cases, technology experts and others have been able to link I.P. addresses to individuals using other records of their online activities.
The amount of data covered by the order is staggering, as it includes every video watched on YouTube since its founding in 2005. In April alone, 82 million people in the United States watched 4.1 billion clips there, according to comScore. Some experts say virtually every Internet user has visited YouTube.
And on Sunday Bob Tedeschi had a column, Mortgage Brokers as Naysayers, about the new New York foreclosure legislation, passed by the legislature, but not signed by the Governor, at least as of the time Tedeschi's piece went to press--though the article states that the Governor is expected to sign it into law [I should note that last week I posted that the bill had been enacted by the legislature, which was premature]. More excerpts:
* * * [The bill provides] that brokers have a “duty of care” to offer appropriate loans to subprime borrowers — those with poor credit.
Brokers are asking, however, what constitutes an appropriate loan, and what happens if a borrower disagrees with a broker’s recommendation.
* * *
* * * Mr. Tricozzi[, president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers] said, the legislation requires brokers to weigh a borrower’s future earnings in selecting appropriate loans. For some borrowers, like pregnant women or workers nearing retirement, such prognostications might be unreliable. Yet refusal to offer loans to such borrowers could be construed as age or gender discrimination, he said.
* * *
* * * some advocates want to hold mortgage brokers to the same legal standard as stockbrokers and other financial advisers, who carry a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests and offer only “suitable” financial products. New York’s proposed law specifically stops short of the suitability standard, said Richard H. Neiman, New York’s banking superintendent.