MReport October 2019

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TH E M R EP O RT | 61 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT CFPB Settles Lawsuit With Equifax The company will pay up to $425 million in monetary relief through this settlement. T he Consumer Finan- cial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced a settle- ment with Equifax, providing up to $700 million in monetary relief and penalties. According to a complaint and proposed stipu- lated judgment filed in federal district court in the Northern District of Georgia, the CFPB alleges that Equifax engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in connection with the 2017 data breach of Equifax's systems that impacted approximately 147 mil- lion consumers. "Today's announcement is not the end of our efforts to make sure consumers' sensitive personal information is safe and secure," said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger in a statement. "The incident at Equifax underscores the evolving cyber security threats confronting both private and government computer systems and actions they must take to shield the personal information of consumers. Too much is at stake for the financial security of the American people to make these protections anything less than a top priority." If approved by the court, the settlement will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief, adding up to around $700 million in relief and penalties. "For consumers impacted by the Equifax breach, today's settle- ment will make available up to $425 million for time and money they spent to protect themselves from potential threats of identity theft or addressing incidents of identity theft as a result of the breach. We encourage consum- ers impacted by the breach to submit their claims in order to receive free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements," Kraninger concluded. "Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. "Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach that affected approximately 147 mil- lion consumers. This settlement requires that the company take steps to improve its data security going forward, and will ensure that consumers harmed by this breach can receive help protecting themselves from identity theft and fraud." Affordability on Everyone's Mind A recent piece of legislation that critics argue could harm housing affordability is being opposed by an industry body. T he National Associa- tion of Home Builders (NAHB) has opposed the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, stating it would mandate "overly costly" requirements that would harm housing affordability. The bill would also discour- age states from amending codes to meet specific needs, and could encourage the Department of Energy (DOE) to move beyond its current role as a "technical advisor," and bring forth "costly energy targets." The NAHB, though, is sup- porting bipartisan legislation that offers a more cost-effective way to encourage energy efficiency. Introduced by Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) and Bill Flores (R-Texas), the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act would "accelerate cost-sav- ings" for homeowners by requir- ing that any proposal supported by the DOE has a payback of 10 years or fewer. Additionally, the DOE would be prohibited from advocating for certain technologies, building materials, or construction prac- tices. Affordability is an issue touch- ing all markets across the nation. Recently, Unison's 2019 Home Affordability Report found that it now takes 14 years for those making a median income to save for a 20% down payment on a me- dian-price homes, meaning many prospective millennial homebuy- ers won't achieve homeownership until their 40s. The report states that the monthly payment needed to support a home purchase with a down payment of 20% grew by 12% between 2017 and 2018, far outpacing the 6% income growth during that period. Unison added that it takes prospective homebuyers in Los Angeles an average of 43 years to save the necessary 20% for a down payment on a median-priced home. Prospective homebuyers in Detroit have to wait just seven years, the shortest in the nation, to get to the threshold amount for a down payment. Increases in home prices are continuing to rise, as CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index revealed. The report adds that CoreLogic is forecasting prices to increase 5.6% from May 2019 to May 2020.

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