Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category

US settles credit discrimination suit against bank

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

(AP) — GE Capital Retail Bank has agreed to pay $169 million to settle a lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against Hispanic credit card customers, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The Justice Department called it the largest government credit-card discrimination settlement ever. The department joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in announcing the agreement.

In addition, GE Capital must refund $56 million to about 638,000 consumers who were subjected to deceptive marketing practices to promote extra credit-card products known as "add-ons," in an agreement with the CFPB. The practices included falsely marketing products as free of charge, failing to tell consumers that they didn't qualify for the offers because they were retired or disabled, failing to make it clear that consumers were making a purchase and falsely telling them the offers were for a limited time only.

GE Capital also is paying a $3.5 million penalty to the CFPB for deceptive marketing.

The $169 million settlement resolves allegations that the bank excluded Hispanic borrowers from two of its credit card debt-repayment programs. The programs allowed customers with delinquent accounts to settle their balances by paying off a specific portion of the debt. That denied a significant benefit to all customers who had expressed a preference to communicate with the bank in Spanish or had a mailing address in Puerto Rico – even if they met the criteria for the programs, the government said.

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US settles credit discrimination suit against bank

Sponsors pulling support of Los Angeles Clippers

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

(USA Today) Sponsors are pulling a fast break away from the Los Angeles Clippers and their embattled owner, Donald Sterling.

As the condemnation of Sterling and his racially insensitive comments spread Monday, major financial supporters of the NBA franchise announced they were severing ties with the Clippers.

In rapid succession, the mass exodus included used car seller CarMax, State Farm Insurance, Kia Motors America, airline Virgin America, P. Diddy's water brand, AQUAHydrate, Red Bull, Yokohama tires and Mercedes-Benz.

As AQUAHydrate said in a statement:

"In the wake of Donald Sterling's alleged defamatory and intolerable comments we have decided to suspend our sponsorship with the L.A. Clippers until the NBA completes its investigation. We fully support the players and fans of the L.A. Clippers and wish them the best in the remainder of the playoffs."

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Sponsors pulling support of Los Angeles Clippers

Minn. legislator eventually apologizes for ill-considered, uninformed, racially dubious tweet about NBA, ‘streetcrime’

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

(Yahoo Sports) Pat Garofalo represents District 58B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He's a 42-year-old fifth-term Republican first elected in 2004, and unless you were a Twin Cities resident with business before with the state House's committees on energy policy, state and local taxes or living wage jobs, you probably wouldn't have much reason to have any idea who Rep. Garofalo is.

(Unless, of course, you remember hearing about some dude who was mad that you might not be allowed to buy guns at the stadium on an upcoming Minnesota Vikings game day.)

On Sunday afternoon, he introduced himself to the world with a staggering bit of nonsense:

Maybe you read that missive and connected the "possible exception of increase in streetcrime" with the premise that NBA players on those folded teams would be out of work and, y'know, let loose to prey on humanity. Maybe you thought Garofalo was claiming "streetcrime" would increase because the folks who make up the NBA's fan base would no longer have their attention diverted by their favorite teams. (Nevermind that the NBA's fan base remains largely white … albeit not nearly as white as Garofalo's district.)

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Minn. legislator eventually apologizes for ill-considered, uninformed, racially dubious tweet about NBA, ‘streetcrime’

The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report

Friday, February 21st, 2014

(Forbes) As evidenced by a compilation of ads by top brands marketing to Chinese residents of North America during the Lunar New Year, the Nielsen report on Asian Americans may have finally succeeded in convincing corporate America to pay more attention to the fastest-growing U.S. multicultural segment. But Asian American scholars say the report may be a step backward for smaller Asian groups that are underserved and misrepresented.

All things considered, the holiday is also shared by other groups who were not particularly marketed to.

“There will always be diverse populations within Asian America that may not be successful,” said Vu Pham, former Asian American studies researcher and lecturer at UCLA. “We do need to work harder than 100% to achieve 100%.”

While the report shows that Asian Americans are more likely to enjoy incomes of $100,000 or more than overall U.S. households, 13.2% of Vietnamese, 30.7% of Hmong, 24% of Cambodian and 14.5% of Laotian American families lived in poverty in California, compared to 10.2% of the total families in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

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The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report

Trader Joe’s Drops Plan To Open Store In Historically Black Neighborhood In Portland, Ore.

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

(AP) — The Trader Joe's grocery-store chain has dropped a plan to open a new store in the heart of the city's historically African-American neighborhood after activists said the development would price black residents out of the area.

The grocer, whose stores are found in urban neighborhoods across the nation, said Monday it wouldn't press its plan, given community resistance, The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1n7Jyqb ) reported.

"We open a limited number of stores each year, in communities across the country," it said in a statement. "We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple: If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question."

The Portland Development Commission had offered a steep discount to the grocer on a parcel of nearly two acres that was appraised at up to $2.9 million: a purchase price of slightly more than $500,000. The lot is at Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and has been vacant for years.

Critics said the development would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in one of the most rapidly gentrifying ZIP codes in the nation.

Full story…

Trader Joe’s Drops Plan To Open Store In Historically Black Neighborhood In Portland, Ore.

Asian Americans are the most prolific spenders in U.S., survey shows

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

(Los Angeles Times) Asian Americans have emerged as the most prolific and impulsive buyers in the nation, according to a Nielsen survey released Thursday.

They prefer Costco over Wal-Mart, brand names over generics and lead the nation as a demographic in online buying. As a group, their spending power outpaces the coveted millennials — those in their 20s and early 30s, according to Nielsen's "Significant, Sophisticated and Savvy: the Asian American Consumer 2013."

Asian American households, on average, boast incomes of $100,000 or more — earning more than general U.S. households and representing the highest among cultural groups, according to the findings.

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Asian Americans are the most prolific spenders in U.S., survey shows

Ally Pays $98 Million To Settle Racial-Bias Lending Probe: Will This Simplify Your Next Auto Loan?

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

(Car Connection) The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently investigated auto lender Ally Financial amid concerns that the company regularly charged higher interest rates to non-white borrowers.

According to AutoNews, Ally has now agreed to cough up $98 million to settle the probe. Could this make things easier — or at least more transparent — for loan recipients down the line?

When shoppers secure car loans through dealerships, dealers attempt to match those shoppers with low-interest loans, based on the shoppers' credit history and other factors. But like all middlemen, dealers need to make something in exchange for their work, and so, they charge what's know as the "dealer reserve" — a markup of about 2.0 or 2.5 percentage points on the loan, which the dealers can pocket as profit.

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Ally Pays $98 Million To Settle Racial-Bias Lending Probe: Will This Simplify Your Next Auto Loan?

LA sues Bank of America, alleges discriminatory mortgage lending

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

(Reuters) – The city of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against Bank of America in U.S. federal court in California, accusing it of discriminatory mortgage lending in the city's minority communities.

The lawsuit, filed by City Attorney Michael Feuer, accused the bank of engaging in a "continuous pattern and practice of mortgage discrimination" since at least 2004, according to a court filing.

A spokesman for Bank of America could not immediately be reached for comment.

The complaint alleged that the bank's practices led to a wave of foreclosures in minority neighborhoods that continued to hurt the city's property tax revenues and increased the need for city services.

It seeks damages caused by the bank's alleged discriminatory practices, including lost revenue.

Full story…

LA sues Bank of America, alleges discriminatory mortgage lending

Bank of America to Pay $2.2 Million in Racial Discrimination Case

Monday, September 30th, 2013

(Motley Fool) A U.S. Department of Labor administrative-law judge has ordered Bank of America (NYSE:BAC  ) to pay almost $2.2 million in back pay and wages to more than 1,100 African-Americans because of race-based hiring discrimination, the Department of Labor announcedtoday.

Judge Linda S. Chapman's ruling awards $964,033 to 1,034 applicants rejected for jobs in 1993 and $1,217,560 to 113 applicants rejected for jobs between 2002 and 2005. Bank of America must also offer jobs to 10 members of the affected class as positions become available.

Judge Chapman rejected Bank of America's attempt to obtain a lower award when the company argued it failed to keep appropriate records, according to the DOL announcement.

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs began a routine review in 1993 of Bank of America and found indications of systemic hiring discrimination affecting African-American job seekers at the company's Charlotte, N.C. facilities.

"Our investigators and attorneys prevailed despite decades of stalling tactics," said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith.

Full story…

Bank of America to Pay $2.2 Million in Racial Discrimination Case

Oprah Winfrey’s brush with racism in Swiss boutique sparks international uproar after employee refused to show her $38K bag

Monday, August 12th, 2013

(NY Daily News) Switzerland is desperately trying to make peace with Oprah Winfrey.

A trip to a tony Zurich shop ended in a disturbing racial encounter for the billionaire media mogul — a national humiliation that forced the Swiss tourism board to issue a public apology.

Winfrey said she was in town for Tina Turner’s wedding last month and stopped in the posh Trois Pommes boutique where she asked a clerk to see a $38,000 Tom Ford bag behind a glass case.

“She says, ‘No, it’s too expensive,’” Winfrey, 59, recounted to Entertainment Tonight this week. 

“She said, ‘No, no, no you want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You won’t be able to afford that one.’”

“She refused to get it … she said, ‘I don’t want to hurt your feelings,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you so much, you’re probably right I can’t afford it.' Now why does she do that?”

Full story…

Oprah Winfrey’s brush with racism in Swiss boutique sparks international uproar after employee refused to show her $38K bag
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