by Jeff Sovern
Yesterday the Times published speculations about who will replace John Dugan as head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in its Reuters BreakingViews column. The OCC will continue to matter even after the CFPB becomes a reality because of its power to declare state laws preempted as to federal institutions. An excerpt:
If President Obama is looking for a candidate already intimately involved in the transformation of the nation’s regulatory architecture, he could go with Daniel K. Tarullo, a Fed governor and an expert on bank regulation. But why would he want the job? Although the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will pick up the powers of the thrift regulator, oversight of the biggest bank holding companies will be the purview of the Fed. In that respect, the O.C.C. could be a step down for Mr. Tarullo.
That paves the way for more of an up-and-comer, like Richard H. Neiman, New York’s top state bank regulator. Mr. Neiman knows Washington, too. He worked at the O.C.C. earlier in his career and serves on the Congressional oversight panel for the bank bailout. Even better, Mr. Neiman has private sector experience as head of TD Bank USA.
Following up on Deepak's post yesterday on the FTC debt collection report, today's Times included Automated Debt-Collection Lawsuits Engulf Courts about a law firm, Cohen & Slamowitz, of Woodbury, N.Y, that files more than 5,700 lawsuits per lawyer a year. The article strongly implies that those are collection cases. What makes it possible is software that merges court documents with information received from debt buyer-clients. I wonder how that squares with the "meaningful review" requirement courts impose on lawyers under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Finally, Parade Magazine had a depressing piece this weekend about soldiers who have been scammed, titled Red, White, and Scammed, which reported on how some lenders have gotten around the Military Lending Act's interest rate limits:
Some lenders abide by the cap but drown their products in fees—in one reported case, $452 of charges were piled on a $1000 loan. Others base their businesses offshore and call their offerings “revolving lines of credit”—both so they can skirt U.S. laws and charge 500% interest. In her Arlington, Va., office, Petraeus typed “ military loans” into Google. “I got about 2.5 million results from that,” she says. “A lot of them are predatory or just outright scams.”