Like the title says.
Currently, credit accounts stay on your report for seven years after your last payment-- good or bad. Rep. Maxine Waters from California wants to amend this to four years, arguing that the predictive value of debts more than two years old are dubious already. In other words, really old debts don't do a good job of indicating whether you'll pay in the future. The bankruptcy limit would change from ten years to seven for the same reason. Industry insiders argue these changes "would hamper lenders' capacity to evaluate the true risks posed by loan applicants."
Rep. Maxine also wants to get your utilities on your credit report, which for many people with thin reports would show that they are, in fact, regularly paying bills all the time. The resistance to this, notes the LA Times, came from "Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center," who said that this would negatively impact lower income households, who often pay utilities a month or two late when money is tight.
Hanna & Associates, a lawsuit mill last seen being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for not actually having its attorneys meaningfully involved in the lawsuits they were signing, has responded to the suit. Tellingly, its Motion to Dismiss dodges the substantive question of whether it is a lawsuit mill (which the CFPB's basic 'number-of-lawsuits vs. number-of-attorneys' math shows it unreservedly is), and instead argues that the CFPB does not have legal standing to regulate their actions. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act section which the CFPB says Hanna & Assoc. violated, it retorts, covers collection letters but not collection lawsuits, putting it in the unenviable position of arguing that collection letters require stricter consumer oversight than lawsuits. Best of luck to all parties.
In a ruling issued August 15, 2014, the 4th Circuit in Russell v. Absolute Collection Services, Inc. ruled that a consumer does not need to dispute a debt in writing under 1692g of the FDCPA in order to have an actionable claim for violations of 1692e of the FDCPA.
The debt collector's argument here-- that a consumer needs to dispute a debt, in writing within 30 days of first contact from the collector under 1692g in order to have FDCPA rights at all-- genuinely confuses me. It would be a massive schism with the crystal clear language of the law itself, would be at odds with all prior case law on the subject, and would completely upend the collection industry as a whole. It's a collector's pipe dream because it would make all sorts of currently-illegal activity completely fair game, but it just isn't what the law says.
And yet collectors argue it anyway. I've had it stated to me in complete earnestness before (rarely, I should note; most everybody on the collector's side knows this just isn't the case). But Absolute Collection Services, Inc. actually made the argument in court and then appealed when it lost. Was it hoping to catch the 4th Circuit asleep at the wheel? Did it really think a panel of appellate judges and their clerks wouldn't have at bare minimum a functional understanding of the FDCPA? Was this just a moonshot sort of situation, where it figured why not try even if the odds are 1:1000 against it?
Anyway, the 4th Circuit roundly denied the argument, to the surprise of no one. Onward.
Effective January 1, 2015, Minnesota will begin incorporating "public benefit corporations," corporate entities with a "purpose of pursuing general public benefit." The substantive difference between a GPBC and a standard corporation appear to be the duties of the director (and thus the company itself):
In discharging the duties of the position of director of a general benefit corporation, a director:
The result is a corporation that blends non-profit "public good" intention with the basic structure and operation of a standard corporation.
The same law will also allow the incorporation of "specific public benefit corporations," which are like general public benefit corporations except, you know, more specific.
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