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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How the CFPB’s Data Keeps Getting Better and Better | Mike Litt

As the CFPB turns 4 years old on July 21, here is some information on how it works for you and how we at PIRG use its data to produce reports, such as our new report on mortgage complaints to the CFPB. We've also got some photos from the Americans for Financial Reform "CFPB at 4" event.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report: Mortgage Problems Rank #1 at CFPB for Consumer Complaints

Mortgage problems were the top source of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to a report released today by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. The report also found that Bank of America was the most complained about company in 45 states and Washington, D.C. for mortgage problems.It's the sixth in a series of our reports analyzing nearly 500,000 complaints posted to the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database.

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Report | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints

Our sixth report analyzing complaints in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database evaluates mortgage complaints, the number one source of complaints to the CFPB, totaling 38% of nearly 500,000 complaints posted since 2011.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

We Commend CFPB For Adding Consumer Stories To Public Complaint Database

Yesterday, the CFPB published the first batch (7,700) of consumer narratives or stories to the Public Consumer Complaint Database it began in 2011. We've used the database to publish five reports (so far) analyzing complaint trends in markets ranging from credit cards to student loans but we have also long urged the voluntary addition of stories to the data fields. Now, consumers can learn if what happened to them happened to anyone else. Now, researchers can track which banks are more responsive to particular problems and which ignore their customers. A good resource is now an excellent resource.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED TO CONFIRM CFPB Speaker. We are hosting an event Monday, 5/11, from 9am-noon ET to discuss a new book, The Black Box Society, with author Frank Pasquale. Click Keep Reading to RSVP to attend in person or to watch the livestream. While credit bureaus have long functioned as black box gatekeepers to opportunity, panelists will discuss the growing use of more and more, even less transparent black boxes to categorize consumers in the digital economy.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Patriot-News: Are red-light cameras worth the money?

A bill that would allow Harrisburg and 18 other cities to install cameras at red lights passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

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News Release | Health Care

Nationwide study of new health exchanges shows Pennsylvania how to lower costs for consumers

Philadelphia, PA – Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Pennsylvania should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by PennPIRG. Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

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Inquirer: Bank elsewhere to avoid fees

With its latest fee, Bank of America has made the decision to balance its books on the backs of its customers, instead of changing its business model to be more consumer-friendly. ("Bank of America to charge $5 debit card fee," Friday). Chase and Wells Fargo are also testing a $3 debit card fee in certain markets.

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Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Report ranks PA bridges worst in country

(Philadelphia) -- A recent report ranks Pennsylvania number one in the nation for its number of structurally deficient bridges. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group published the study saying more than 26 percent of the state's bridges are rated structurally deficient. Group associate Alana Miller says the state should focus on fixing existing bridges, rather than building new ones.

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Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Keeping turnpike helps

One benefit of publicly held capacity is that it can be redeployed to other public needs in case of emergencies like extreme weather events. If the Pennsylvania Turnpike had been privatized last year, the private operator wouldn't likely have sacrificed their shareholders' interests by lending critical machinery and crews to help municipalities after the storm (Cheers & Jeers: Flood woes; Sept. 17).

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund

Facts About Toll Road Privatization

Across Pennsylvania, cash-strapped governments are struggling to plug gaping holes in their budgets, scarred by the impacts of the economic crisis.  At the same time, Pennsylvania's roads and bridges remain congested and in desperate need of repair.  This is PennPIRG's fact sheet about the effects of Toll Road Privatization.

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

In 2008, Congress responded to an unprecedented wave of recalls of toys and other children’s products by passing the first major overhaul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission since it was established during the Nixon Administration.

By passing the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008, Congress not only expanded the agency’s budget, it also gave the CPSC more tools to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable and speed recalls, moved toward banning toxic lead and phthalates except in trace amounts, and greatly improved import surveillance.

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund and Media and Democracy Coalition | Consumer Protection

A Public Interest Internet Agenda

Connecting our entire nation via high-speed broadband will bring remarkable economic, social, cultural, personal, and other benefits. Robust economic development, job creation, improved health care at lower costs, enhanced educational opportunities, increased homeland security and public safety, reduced energy consumption and pollution, a reinvigorated democracy and more open government – these are just a few of the benefits that will flow from our nation linking its entire population to the Internet at broadband speed.

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

The Small Business Dilemma

When it comes to health care, American small business owners are getting a raw deal.  While the current insurance marketplace offers some options to larger employers, it too often leaves small business owners on the outside looking in. They face unpredictable changes in costs, and far too often they are forced to choose between covering employees and the very survival of their businesses.

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Health Care in Crisis

Unless the new Congress and Administration act to reduce health care costs, the yearly cost of the average employer-paid family health policy in America is projected to more than double from $11,794 in 2006 to $26,879 by 2016 even after adjusting for inflation. If recent trends continue, wages and household incomes will simply not keep up with these high costs. Nor will the business sector be immune to this crisis.  Unchecked, this cost epidemic could also severely impact the small businesses that drive job creation in the American economy.

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