Nostradamus-Style Predictions for Consumers in 2015

01/01/15

First some easy ones you all know:

1. The stock market will drop, perhaps precipitously, making now great time to rebalance retirement portfolios.

2. The price of gas will inch up and in the meantime, more states will add a little gas tax here and there to quietly fill empty coffers.

On Mortgage Lending:

3. There will be more low rate, “no closing costs” home refinancings available to good credit risks, as lenders try to figure out what to do with themselves. Not much of a spoiler here, since this is already happening.

4. More lenders will be answering the phones when borrowers want to settle up their mortgages. Lenders will be cutting the red tape that is costing them a fortune. Also, more lenders will be settling pending home foreclosure litigation. Something is better than nothing, some might be thinking. 

5. Cases that don’t settle will result in more large judgments against lenders, in part because lenders did not do some of the things mentioned above all along.

On High -Cost Lending:

6. The CFPB will announce its long-awaited payday lending rules, which will apply to all high-cost loans, including payday loans, title loans, and high-cost installment loans.  These new rules will go a long way (though perhaps not all the way) to curbing high-cost lending abuses and protecting consumers from the debt trap. After all, the bureau is called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Lenders will not like the rules much and may even sue over them but they won’t have a high-cost leg to stand on.

7. Local ordinances limiting high-cost lending will mushroom to tens of thousands in number, telling state legislatures exactly what the people want. 

8. The truth about the abhorrent nature of title lending will finally come out of the shadows for all to see. Already started here, game on. Bravo Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery.

9. Regular people start to care more about high-cost lending as the word spreads about the real facts. 

10. High-cost lenders will think of other creative ways to make money. Surely it can be done. My dad’s partially unoccupied retirement community now rents out nice apartments to guests and it is working well for everyone. I am not sure what these lenders will do, but perhaps stateside, they could lend at huge interest rates on risky real estate ventures. Internationally, they could lend to broke consumers, like they once did here.  It seems wrong to even predict this sort of misery on others, but clearly these lenders will need to find a new niche and like those lenders do for consumers, I am just trying to help.

Happy New Year all ! 

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