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Bank Notes: SpendSmart, Military Lending Act, HMDA

Adam R.'s picture

Posted September 18, 2013

SpendSmart retains investment banking group: Could SpendSmart's management be on the look out for a buyer? Alternatively, could they be hoping that some one will invest more in their company? SpendSmart's shares are now down to $1.50 from as high as $13 a share just twelve months ago. Clearly, that Bieber thing

is not working out. But this week, SpendSmart announced that Maxim Group LLP will be working with the company.  Maxim's recent work has focused on the running new issuances of shares. They just helped Organovo, a developer of three dimensional printing technology for modeling research on human tissues. Maybe it is just me, but that doesn't sound like something that carries across to prepaid cards.

Payday lenders still targeting servicemembers: A report out of Texas says that payday and auto title lenders are aggressively marketing their services near military bases.  The federal Military Lending Act says that lenders cannot charge soldiers more than 36 percent interest on any short-term loans. But the report quotes a staffer from the local Better Business Bureau who says that she is seeing soldiers come in to her office with loans whose interest rates are as high as 1748 percent.

Finally, new HMDA data: The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data on 2012 loans today. There are 18.7 million records in the database. Under Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is charged with overseeing a redesign of the database. The revised edition is supposed to incorporate more features that would have been descriptive of subprime lending, but that remains to be implemented. Current rulemaking plans make it likely that no changes will take place until the release of 2015 data in September 2016.

BUT! There is something amazing about this year's update. The CFPB has released a tool on its HMDA website that should make accessing HMDA data much easier for professional researchers as well as for the typical community group. Visitors can generate maps, make charts and tables, and tailor data to individual interests through a graphical interface.