|By Marketwired .||
|April 30, 2014 02:39 PM EDT||
WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - April 30, 2014) - A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) finds that the debt buying and debt collection industries have grown rapidly in recent years -- and with them, a suite of predatory and abusive collection practices that could cause consumers financial havoc. Today, one in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector.
Despite their recent growth, the debt buying and collection industries are still largely unregulated; this allows debt buyers and collectors to take advantage of financially-distressed consumers and extract billions of dollars in judgments for debts that may not even be owed. In many cases, the sale of debt is accompanied with limited and questionable data about the debts and debtors. Often times, the only information transferred is a name, last known address, and purported amount owed.
The report, Debt Collection & Debt Buying, is the newest installment in CRL's ongoing series of reports, The State of Lending in America and Its Impact on US Households. State of Lending offers an across-the-board survey of financial products that Americans use in everyday transactions, buy homes and automobiles, and build savings and wealth.
"The sheer lack of accountability in this industry is astonishing," said Lisa Stifler, CRL policy counsel and co-author of the report. "There's no requirement to verify debt information or inform a consumer about the transfer of debt. Sometimes, a consumer learns about a debt only after an onslaught of collection attempts or -- worse -- a judgment is entered and wages are garnished or a bank account is seized."
Unpaid debts are sold by the original lender -- often banks. They're bought by private debt buyers at a discount; the company earns a profit by collecting the full amount from the debtor. However minimal and nebulous the debt information may be, it's all that's necessary to begin collection attempts. Common complaints from consumers pursued by debt collectors include misrepresentation about the amount or legal status of the debt, harassment and excessive contact, obscene or abusive language, and unlawful threats to sue.
Debt collection cases can escalate quickly; the report shows that more and more debt buyers are turning to the justice system, suing consumers for debts owed and obtaining default judgments in their favor when consumers fail to appear in court. More often than not, consumers fail to appear because they never received notice of the lawsuit, can't afford legal representation, or simply don't understand the need to appear. And with a default judgment, a debt collector is legally empowered to freeze a consumer's bank account, garnish wages, report the judgment to a credit reporting agency, and pressure a consumer into a payment plan. In some states, collectors can have consumers arrested for lack of payment or seize personal property to satisfy a default judgment. The consequences are decidedly dire.
Unsurprisingly, this behavior disproportionately affects financially vulnerable consumers. Research suggests that low- and moderate-income communities experience higher rates of debt buyer lawsuits and abuses. Military service members and senior citizens, often living on fixed incomes, are also frequently victims of abusive debt collection practices.
What's needed, the report outlines, is firmer oversight at both the federal and state levels to ensure that debt collection happens fairly and responsibly. While debtors should be required to pay back their debts, debt collectors and debt buyers should likewise be prohibited from any abusive and illicit collection practices and prevented from obtaining court judgments against consumers based on unverifiable and inaccurate information. To that end, the report suggests holding banks responsible for debt sold, requiring more information about outstanding debts, regulating the flow of information in the debt collection market, and tightening evidentiary standards for debt collection cases. Significantly, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently started the process to issue the first-ever rules overseeing the debt collection industry.
"We are not suggesting the dismissal of debt," said Mike Calhoun, president of CRL. "Ensuring that debt is collected when owed is an integral component of the American financial system, and makes access to credit possible. What we're seeing is a pattern of predatory practices when it comes to some kinds of debt buying and collection -- and that's what is concerning. Just as a lender has the right to collect debts owed, borrowers should have the right to information about their debt and how it's being handled and collected. With prudent oversight at the federal and state levels, there's no reason why this problem can't be fixed."
About the Center for Responsible Lending: The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. CRL is affiliated with Self-Help, one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions.
With SaaS use rampant across organizations, how can IT departments track company data and maintain security? More and more departments are commissioning their own solutions and bypassing IT. A cloud environment is amorphous and powerful, allowing you to set up solutions for all of your user needs: document sharing and collaboration, mobile access, e-mail, even industry-specific applications. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Shawn Mills, President and a founder of Green House Data, discussed h...
Aug. 1, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 431
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
Aug. 1, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 150
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
Aug. 1, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 200
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 286
Chuck Piluso presented a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Prior to Secure Infrastructure and Services, Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of International Te...
Aug. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 384
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Meiner, an Engineering Director at Oracle, Corporation, analyzed a range of cloud offerings (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and discussed the benefits/challenges of migrating to each offe...
Aug. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 123
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
Aug. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 179
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobi...
Aug. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 300
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Aug. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,685
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Jul. 31, 2015 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 787
Palerra, the cloud security automation company, announced enhanced support for Amazon AWS, allowing IT security and DevOps teams to automate activity and configuration monitoring, anomaly detection, and orchestrated remediation, thereby meeting compliance mandates within complex infrastructure deployments. "Monitoring and threat detection for AWS is a non-trivial task. While Amazon's flexible environment facilitates successful DevOps implementations, it adds another layer, which can become a ...
Jul. 31, 2015 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 315
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Jul. 31, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 499
In a recent research, analyst firm IDC found that the average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 to $1 million per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year for Fortune 1000 companies. In addition to the findings on the cost of the downtime, the research also highlighted best practices for development, testing, application support, infrastructure, and operations teams.
Jul. 31, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 127
In their session at 17th Cloud Expo, Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), and Chuck Paolillo, CTO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), provide a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. In his role as CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), Hal Schwartz provides leadership and direction for the company.
Jul. 31, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 139
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducte...
Jul. 31, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 305