Author Archives: Jeff Sovern

David Reiss on Eminent Domain and Underwater Loans

David J. Reiss of Brooklyn has written Comment on the Use of Eminent Domain to Restructure Performing Loans.  Here is the abstract: There has been a lot of fear-mongering by financial industry trade groups over the widespread use of eminent domain to restructure residential mortgages. While there may be legitimate business reasons to oppose its […]

Bloomberg News: Republican State AGs Resisting CFPB Cooperation

by Jeff Sovern Here.  An excerpt: A group of Republican state attorneys general has declined to sign cooperation agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part of an escalating Republican revolt against the agency that began in the U.S. Congress. Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, asked all 50 states in March to sign a memorandum of […]

Will Technology Make “Do Not Track” Laws Unnnecessary?

Sunday's Times reported that the next version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer will include a "Do Not Track" privacy setting as a default. Consumers installing the browser will be presented with the option of switching from the default to permit tracking.  Excerpts: But the specter of people opting out of tracking en masse presents a serious […]

Martin & Longa Study of Whether Payday and Title Loans Serve the Middle Class

Nathalie Martin and Ernesto A. Longa, both of New Mexico have written High-Interest Loans and Class: Do Payday and Title Loans Really Serve the Middle Class?, 24 Loyola Consumer Law Reporter 524 (2012). Here's the abstract: This symposium article addresses the question of whether payday and title lenders serve primarily the working poor, as some critics […]

Times Report: Debt Collectors Harness Prosecutors

by Jeff Sovern Today's Times has a story headlined "In Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner."  An excerpt: The letters are sent by the thousands to people across the country who have written bad checks, threatening them with jail if they do not pay. They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s […]

AP Story: Consumer regulator barks; an industry shudders

Here. An excerpt: For some banks and industrial lenders, the new oversight may be so costly that they stop offering some products, says Bill Himpler, vice president of the American Financial Services Association, a trade group for card companies, mortgage lenders and finance companies. He says the bureau's tactics put companies on the defensive. "It […]

Paper on Behavioral Advertising

Chris Jay Hoofnagle of Berkeley, Ashkan Soltani of Berkeley's School of Information, Nathan Good of Good Research, Dietrich James Wambach, a student at Wyoming, and Mika Ayenson of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have written Behavioral Advertising: The Offer You Cannot Refuse, 6 Harvard Law & Policy Review 273 (2012).  Here's the abstract: At UC Berkeley, […]

Lauren Willis Paper: When Nudges Fail

Lauren E. Willis  of Loyola Los Angeles, always a thoughtful writer, has authored When Nudges Fail: Slippery Defaults.  Here's the abstract: Inspired by the success of “automatic enrollment” in increasing participation in defined contribution retirement savings plans, policymakers have put similar policy defaults in place in a variety of other contexts, from checking account overdraft […]

Second Liens and Mortgage Modifications

Vicki Been of NYU, Howell E. Jackson of Harvard, and Mark A. Willis of NYU have written Essay: Sticky Seconds – The Problems Second Liens Pose to the Resolution of Distressed Mortgages.  Here's the abstract:  Almost five years into the foreclosure crisis, policymakers, the mortgage industry, consumers and taxpayers all express disappointment over the slow […]

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty and Consumer Protection

by Jeff Sovern I have been listening to the audio version of Dan Areily's book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and it may shed some light on consumer protection.  Ariely explores the causes and limits of dishonesty.  He reports on a series of experiments that suggest that many people cheat a little, but not so […]