ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The government protects us from some dangerous products, but not from others that, over time, ruin countless lives.

Michael has started a Go Fund Me campaign to help Katie finally be free of her student loan burden. If you would like to contribute, visit Katie's Go Fund Me.
English
United States
explicit content

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:01good listening make you a better parent a better leader or even a better person could listening inspire you to start something new is never been a better time to start listening to audible as it happens listen to audible every morning with my twelve-year-old son Walker it's a ritual we have he picks a book it's got to be grown up book just finished Gulliver's Travels were moving on to Huckleberry Finn and it's just fabulous you listen to things you would never read with audible you get access to an unbeatable selection of audiobooks including best-sellers motivation Mysteries Brothers Memoirs and more including an exclusive audiobook I did call the coming storm just last year for them Audible has the largest selection of audiobooks on the planet and now with audible Originals the selections gotten even more custom with content made for members audible the most inspiring minds and the most compelling stories
00:01:01best place to listen get started with a 30-day trial when you go to audible.com rules or you can text rules to 500500 and listen for a change
00:01:20I live in Berkeley California it's a peaceful place for an American city in 20 years I've never so much as noticed the police station never occurred to me that I even needed to know where was Zoey now here I am inside the place surrounded by cinder block walls and pictures of legendary police officers across the table from me there's a living legend officer gel to do so I'm going to tell you what happened to me and why I'm here so beginning of last year we started to get calls at 8 in the morning from Citigroup big back and just like I was getting the kids out the door for breakfast in the phone to ring and this happened. 10 * 820 * 3 * 50 * I mean it was just like harassment and they said I owed the money and it was absolutely bizarre because I didn't end there any any business
00:02:20$15,000 and outstanding loans and I just want to say that again so you hear it Citigroup said I owe them $15,000 until finally I said I was crazy in the mornings and whatever reason they just stopped calling the next thing that happens is I got a note from American Express saying my credit score has collapsed because I have wellstone a day at the Citigroup American Express call me and says we're going to put a limit on your account because your FICO score is declined and I called him I said what has this happened at how do you know the credit aggregator Experian and send us a report saying you got some bad debts I didn't even know what Experian was or what it did as it turns out they're a bunch of companies that make their money by gathering up whatever anyone bank or credit card company has to say about you and then spreading the word to the others
00:03:17tell if one bag think you owe them money all the other see was a problem Experian is one of those companies and I become one of those problems someone claiming to be me open a credit card account with Citibank in Sioux Falls South Dakota and he gave as his address Street in Miami but it's a street that doesn't even exist credit limit was fifteen thousand somehow you managed to borrow $16,406 and repaint none of it a hundred $6 when I called Experian to say how come you have this on my credit report they said well we can't do anything about it just Citigroup said you was in this money so I called Citigroup said it didn't know who I was and add no record of my social security number at all
00:04:17finally Experian tells me that I need to file an identity theft complaint with the FTC is at the Federal Trade Commission which I did and they said I had to go come to the police station and file report for them to take seriously my claim that my identity been stolen so to summarize myself just there a big New York bank and 15/16 Grant to someone pretending to be me Michael Lewis then some credit agency broadcast a total lie about my behavior and now I need to drive down to my local police station and bother a local cop
00:04:54so that's why I want to file a police report for identity theft and I want to ask you a couple questions about before I do it how often do you all have people filing identity theft reports with a place very frequently but that isn't the question I most wanted an answer to I've been stewing on another question for so long it's almost hard to put it into words I mean just as a law enforcement officer does it not strike you as strange that I've never had either one of these parties and they wrote me and and it's my problem all of a sudden it seems to me that Citigroup should be filing some sort of complaint with the police not me and that I should have to deal with this at all if it is very odd that it's frame this way the whole notion of identity theft I'm still meet for the first time officer Ledoux is looking at me a little dubiously like I'm crossing some line like I'm going to start asking him for his opinions of
00:05:54animal rights or about the local Native American burial ground is somehow wound up under the parking lot of a fish restaurant cops don't control the rules of the game they just enforce them they have to spend a minute having to deal with this seems just a little odd if you take it out of the financial sector and you say I managed to persuade Zoe and I get her let me 10 grand Audrey's my producer on this episode and Zoe is my associate producer they're here at the station with me recording just standing there and their headphones expressionless dead-eyed is always talking to have any ability to disrupt my life or get me and it's an odd thing that the financial system has now put on please resources it seems to me
00:06:46so let me put it is a question if people are coming in filings reports of taking your time and all the rest is it ever struck you that it seems a little crazy that the police in the middle of this to answer two different type of victimization right to think of myself as a victim but she want me to be one turns out I have to be the victim at least if I wanted to file a report if I'm not a victim but I'm to blame for whatever a fake Michael Lewis has been doing at his fake address is the funny thing I feel victimized not by whoever that guy dude was in Miami by Citigroup like they present themselves as someone who has been victimized by essentially my inability to prevent anybody from stealing my identity but really if they never got done that Dopey thing in the first place we wouldn't even be here and that's the thing that gets under my skin is that the financial sector has figured out a way to shift the burden of this problem on the people who have nothing to do with the problem and get you a case right
00:07:46I never had a case number on the board and generate numbers for 5:35 to 19
00:07:53you don't always members me just like another language
00:07:59picture of 146 60146
00:08:03never make you feel like I do this again so I'm going to give you a business card with the case number and I'm also going to give you a victim of identity theft pamphlet I already said this but I'm the real Michael Lewis and this is against the rules a show about the decline of the human referee in American life and what that's doing to our idea of fairness
00:08:28here are the two most dangerous words in the English language Consumer Finance
00:08:35the phrase now gets tossed around as if it's a natural part of human existence like it's been around forever but the first national credit card didn't exist until Bank of America created them in the late 1960s and it wasn't until the mid-1970s at Citigroup figured a way around the ussery laws laws that had existed since the first Babylonian Dynasty they put limits on how much interest A lender can charge a borrower in mid-70s the Supreme Court ruled that the laws that apply to lenders with a state laws where the lender was based as opposed to where the loan occurred in a desperate move to revive its economy South Dakota got rid of the ussery laws in 1979 which is why the Citigroup credit card I never applied for was issued from Sioux Falls South Dakota
00:09:24the original Citigroup credit card agreement back in the 1970s ran a page-and-a-half the one I never signed with more than 30 pages of tiny print and as you no doubt already know it's a Minefield of complicated fees and penalties
00:09:41but it's not just credit cards now it's all the Wall Street bags to the payday lenders the subprime mortgage lenders the car loan originator is the student loan services and have a shadowy network of companies supposed to be keeping track of the credit worthiness of ordinary Americans
00:09:58this is where trust in institutions has taken the biggest hit
00:10:02when money people figured out how to inflict pain and suffering even on middle class white people without any consequence for themselves how do they do this that's easy consumer finances had an incredible gift for remaining on refereed and the absence of a ref is which allowed them to screw up the lives of millions and millions of Ordinary People
00:10:26make super moist if I cry please excuse that meet Katie Highland of New Rochelle New York public school teacher mother of two small children related to this to which is interesting the this to wish you were Furs is Consumer Finance some old student loans
00:10:47student loan started flowering in the 1980s after the Boom in credit cards in the effect of death of usury laws just now about 44 million Americans I would total of 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt more than 4 million of those Americans most of the young people are already in default some large number of the rafter heading towards it and if you think they just a bunch of deadbeats just hold that thought
00:11:15that's Audrey my producer
00:11:17my name is Riley what do you usually do when you come home just go on the couch but if I feel very sleepy I'll just fall asleep but if we do go fast
00:11:37Og app is we can fall asleep in 2 and Mommy can't start a work at night into like 9 what does she do at night with those on a computer and maybe exams emails and and actually sends what she does to work on her computer to school summer school can be running very good that's Jackson Katie's son is reading and writing to 8th graders in the Bronx and works with kids who struggle in school
00:12:12years ago Katie got a Bachelor's degree in English in a masters in secondary education day one I graduated high school in 2001 and I had to take loans out immediately on my mom raised 3 kids by herself so we didn't have anything so it was always understood that I was going to have student loans and I was going to have to pay them back and so was from day one that's what I did do you remember you could take yourself back to that time like how did you think it was going to go like in the feet like being there and then I just thought like these are all they have my best interest at heart and the people that are doing these things you are associated with colleges and financial institutions like they're going to tell me the thing that I'm supposed to do and then when it comes time to pay back I'm going to have a job and I'm going to have plenty of money and it's going to be easy and you know it was just something like Olivia everyone's student loans it's annoying but it's doable sort of thing
00:13:11just recall anyone ever trying to explain to her how her loans worked she just remembers the financial advisor at her College giving her some papers to sign and that was that in the end to pay for college and grad school she took out several loans totaling $77,000 the loans came from the US Department of Education that the government farmed out the management of its student loans to the private sector the Consumer Finance industry the company advising her is called navient when Katie has problems or questions she needs to call navient I realized that the amount of money that they expected me to pay every month wasn't going to be possible that was when I first started like calling them and saying listen how do I get my payments lower or what do I do you know I'm a teacher I only make such and such an amount of money and you know I don't really know how you guys expect me to pay this back with what I'm making and every time I called it was a forbearance
00:14:11swords a firm in or you know all this is great like you don't have to make payments for this amount of time and sort of kept guiding me in that direction 2007 the United States Congress created the Public service loan forgiveness program for people who wanted to go into public service so they can afford to do it police officers firefighters soldiers teachers people who did those sort of jobs for 10 years and made 120 student loan payments on time could walk away from the rest of what they borrowed it was just the sort of thing that a company like navient might alert borrowers to but they didn't tell Katie Katie heard about it on her own in 2014 from a fellow teacher felt when I first found out about this one particular program because I was like great like I am a big believer of like the hard stuff will pass and so for me that's what this was it was like okay this is going to suck like you're not
00:15:11be able to go away you're not going to be able to have birthday parties for your kids or do this or do that but in 10 years if you're in this plan like it'll be worth it at the end of his it'll be gone and then you can just like really put your time and your money into you know the things that you want to do for your family and your kids and so she called daddy yet again that's where the trouble really began when she called the company that was paid to help her understand your situation to ask them for help I was getting all the paperwork filled out for the Public service loan forgiveness and I remember like I have going back and forth like faxing and they're like oh no the date is wrong you have to fill it out again and I would fax it again and don't know this was in a different format used to fax it again the same way I felt when I was trying to get experience or whoever they done to my credit the whole music the phony thank you for your patience the Deep mystery of the exact location of the person who finally comes on the other end of the line the total inability of anyone to solve anything
00:16:11and they said that you don't know one was eligible until 2017 because at that point it would have been 10 years from the when the program started by 2017 should have spent 10 years as a teacher and made 120 on Time payments what remained her alone would then be entirely forgiven if this happens like I'll be able to just save and maybe one day by a house or whatever and I remember calling back in the end of 2016 to make sure that things were ready for the beginning of 2017 and them telling me that no you're not eligible you were never eligible and basically if you want to become eligible you have to consolidate your loan and you have to start from scratch starting out at 10 years and I was like whoa wait a minute to go back and listen to phone records of all her previous calls
00:17:11all those conversations about faxing paperwork in waiting until 2017
00:17:16they said that they did and his dad and then they called me back and said we never heard any instances on the phone records of you asking anything about Public service loan forgiveness and I was like well that's an outright lie
00:17:32oh that familiar feeling
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00:18:38you know I I'll equip but it's also back by 20000 Dental professionals quit starts at just $25 and if you go to get quip.com rules right now you get your first refill pack for free with a quip electric toothbrush that's your first refill pack for free at getquip / rules
00:19:10if you want to track Katie Highlands misery to its source you need to travel to Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania or at least call someone who knows the place it's the type of place that you grow up open and your whole family is there and chances are you settle down and you stay there for the rest of your life Lynn cybulski grew up in Wilkes-Barre for employment it is an economically depressed area and so employers like Navien major employers are the area are really important in terms of upholding the local economy has been in the industry for 15 years until last year she work in the navient call center Wilkes-Barre
00:19:51the place Katie Highland called for help to take advantage of the program Congress it created for people like her the program to make the student debt of public servants Parable your team is handling calls are coming in from people who have student loans if they're dealing with correct and so were the pressures on you that bothered you that was on me was the 7 Minute Rule and that was representatives were told to keep their phone calls to know more than 7 Minutes also within those requirements were that you validate the colors identity that you validate their contact information that you read a script to proving you know you serve their their telephone and their text messaging and so by the time you know you had mentioned auto debit you had to mention the company website and all of this eats away at the 7 minutes that you're given
00:20:51when is the Four Corners off at night right before they put it before they put in the shot clock so what what if you went over 7 minutes what would happen here I should say for the record that a representative wrote to us the company said that quote while navient like other customer service-oriented companies measures call time we do not set any time limits for calls Lynn cybulski got a different message in her call center reps were put in a position where they couldn't give the borrowers the information that really needed to be given and so what some of the representative started doing we're looking for ways to you know get their calls under some of the representatives would pretend that the call had disconnected they would you know accidentally-on-purpose hang up on a bar work because that bar were needed to talk about an income-based repayment option and it's a long application in the barber has too many questions and somebody's looking at
00:21:51watch going hey I got to keep this under 7 minutes or you know the kids aren't going to have dinner now. It was meant to be advising people with student loans on behalf of the Department of Education but the Department of Education pays Navien a fee for every account they manage the last time they spend on each account the less it cost them to manage that account the 7-minute rule is there just to maximize profit per customer we could see throughout the day how far we were out of standard is what it would be called so for example I had to display on my computer that would show me at any given moment if I was like red yellow or green in terms of you know how my numbers were holding up and then if you kept your phone calls to 7 minutes or under you got a Bonus and that could be a few hundred dollars in an economically depressed area that's the difference between you know paying your grocer
00:22:51is your car payment or not you got that right the customer service reps for student loans have their own consumer financial problems which they can only solve if they ignore yours there's this thing called Embassy you know if you're calling me because you're in distress because your finances are a mess and you need help and you're talking to somebody who is dependent on making this call a 7-minute thing because there'd finances are not that great and they're not in a position you know to get something better than you know it it feels doubly deceptive because you know that you're kind of in the same shoes here's the reality of Consumer Finance a town of people highly dependent on a student loan servicing firm is being put to work finding ways to screw the equally desperate people who've taken out the loans to do things like make it extremely difficult for a teacher to opt into the program Congress and create
00:23:52specifically to reward people like her but it's now being allowed Katie Highland enter the program her account would be taken away from navient and navient would lose Revenue
00:24:03Kelly Hyland wasn't navients client she was its crop
00:24:08the CEO of navient is named Jack remondi in 2017 he was paid 6 and 1/2 million dollars we asked to interview him or some spokesperson a Navien but they didn't want to talk but let's leave that to one side for a moment let's consider this business of student loan servicing the behavior encourages the spirit in which it operates
00:24:32that isn't some little pissant fly-by-night company is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange has a market cap of nearly three billion dollars IT services 300 billion dollars in student loans it's a heart of Consumer Finance
00:24:48so a manager came over me while I was on the phone discussing an income-based repayment plan with a bar where and they said don't give anybody time frames try to avoid discussing that but if anybody asks you out right tell them it's two weeks you are obviously bothered you and your pathetic individual was there any but where there any people you were working with you sort of embrace the navient way and we're like seeing if they could break speed records were their calls yes there's always that person to that guy and you know the problem was you know that the lower though his calls became he was getting training opportunities he was being promoted so basically the worst performers in terms of getting Barbers the information they need those are the people who was in move up the ladder is a superstar
00:25:48did you did you ever try to listen to what he was doing to figure out how on Earth he was doing that easiest way to get somebody off the phone is to give them a temporary solution and send the paperwork to look at later so you know sit one of the issues around forbearances that you no interest continues to collect on balances and it's not always a good financial decision for Barbers to put their loans in but it's one of the only options that can be processed right over the phone that's exactly what navient do with Katie Highland they encourage her to accept forbearance for years
00:26:28the word sound so reassuring almost like forgiveness actually all I did was compounding amount she owed for a loan that was originally $77,000 she'd wind-up repaying more than $120,000 and in the bargain they totally screwed up her ability to get out from under her alone altogether and like I said I can usually put in the library and that it's leading to something that is going to be better that was when it became like really glaringly real and then sort of panicking because there was nothing I could do it's amazing how much pain you can create inside of 7 minutes
00:27:11I don't think people have any real idea how dangerous it would be to shop for ordinary consumer goods if there weren't a referee between you and the people who sell your things there is a referee at least in the United States it's called the consumer product safety commission check out its website you'll find hundreds of products that it's ordered pulled off the shelves for the killer main consumers
00:27:39just recently they force the recall of 32,000 high chairs prone to detaching from their bases and launching the babies inside they also save you from wireless speakers that catch fire flashlights that explode shower doors at falling on you when your butt naked and blinded by soap and stairmasters who steps accelerate incredibly quickly all by themselves as I speak the commission is just removed from the market 1500 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store decorative pineapples laceration risk you probably didn't know that but now that you do it's highly unlikely that you think why is the government acting as this referee to protect me from being impaled by a fruit
00:28:23more likely you're thinking thank God they were called the decorative pineapples before I bought mine
00:28:31when you take out a student loan or any kind of loan you're buying a product a curious sort of product this product is far more likely to kill you than any exploding flashlight if you doubt that to spend some time in the mini student loan chat rooms devoted to suicide most Consumer Financial products are more complicated than high chairs or decorative pineapples much more likely to have fatal flaws that no one but an expert can spot
00:29:01plus they come with a servicer you know nothing about the human beings who will handle your loan until you pay it off
00:29:08that guy who gets promoted for getting you off the phone inside of 7 minutes without helping you he's part of the product you bought and tied yourself to for years and he to present a laceration risk so why wouldn't there be a referee for all this a neutral party whose job it is to spot dangerous Financial products and pull them from the market before they do more harm oh wait that's not the original thought someone's already had it
00:29:36what Elizabeth Warren I am the senior senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before she was Elizabeth Warren she was Professor Elizabeth Warren at Harvard specializing in bankruptcy law and why middle-class people go broke and so it's the early 2000s and I'm trying to figure out how do you fix this problem you're going to laugh I'm thinking about toasters
00:30:05you can't buy a toaster anywhere in America that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house where the consumer product safety commission that just says sorry you don't get to put those things on the market actually toasters do burst into flames back in 2011 Hamilton Beach was forced to recall 300,000 of its classic Chrome to slicer because breakfast can kill you we do not require people to have engineering degrees to buy toasters they don't have to look at wiring diagrams and know what weight wiring you used and whether that's appropriate insulation we don't ask any of those questions we just say you know there's like some minimum safety here somebody buys a toaster it better be able to toast and it can't burst into flames and I thought about it in terms of wait a minute why is that so on toasters and it's not so on mortgages if so it what MoMA
00:31:05do you become so alive do these problems that all of a sudden the world getting very complicated for the financial consumer it at his expense that you become so alive to this that you're moved to write about so you got to watch what's happening is more lenders now are starting to move into this space of and here's the key building a profit model based on tricking people on cheating people so that becomes the business model the business model is teaser rates with subprime mortgages double cycle billing with credit cards interest rates that leave from 30 to 200% on payday loans if your late with a single payment again if you're an American adult or maybe even a child you know what I'm talking about Elizabeth Warren wanted to create a government agency to referee all that when you first float this idea how is it graded
00:32:00okay so when I first wife is that might come on this is the early 2000s and I'm talking about a new government agency oh just when everybody's looking for anybody taking interest in it at a healthy serve constructive interest in it and people think you're a crackpot
00:32:18well I hope he thought it was a crackpot I look far too serious for that and I know I wear glasses so me to buy could be a crackpot Elizabeth Warren then does what every crackpot Professor does she writes an obscure article it's published the summer of 2007 in the journal democracy title unsafe at any rate you proposed creating this new Empire everybody kind of think so that'll never happen and then all of a sudden the world shakes itself in a way that it sees oh my God we need this on fire right the world gets on board then gets on board for a short trip anyway the 2008 financial crisis has its roots in Consumer Finance the entire nation got so pissed off at Wall Street That Wall Street lost control of the political process in 2010 Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
00:33:13they designed the agency so the Congress wouldn't have Direct Control of its budget because everyone suspected that that's an ass industry might one day try to kill the new referee
00:33:24in 2013 Elizabeth Warren became a United States Senator but that wasn't enough to stop what eventually happened
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00:34:59when you hear the phrase government agency what do you think picture forms in your mind probably have some nondescript concrete building with small windows and gray men and women walking in just after 9 and walking out just before 5 doing as little as possible and that unwillingly vast sums of money have been spent to keep that picture in your mind a lot of it by companies engaged in Consumer Finance my name is Seth frotman I used to work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Seth frotman got to know the Consumer Finance industrial complex in the early 2000s when he went to work for a former Marine who's been elected to congress he was instantly inundated with stories of American soldiers being deceived and abused by Financial firms
00:35:51they were literally service members who were flying back from Iraq and Afghanistan because their Banks were illegally foreclosing on their houses while they were deployed and they would spend my every waking moment when they weren't down Ray dance with their troops battling with Wells Fargo or Bank of America or one of these other companies and barely while they were getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan their spouses and kids were at home dealing with kind of foreclosure notices and Banks it turns out that the banks were just being obvious they were breaking the law and so there's actually a statute called the servicemembers Civil Relief act which is been in place in some form or another I believe since like Civil War and has like a host of different protections but one of those essentially dramatically limited the way in which a service member who was on active duty could get their house foreclosed
00:36:51the bank's just hope the soldiers didn't know about the Statue and made it hard for them to take advantage of it sound familiar
00:36:59it was really know where these soldiers could turn for help except the individual members of Congress until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau get started Seth frotman joins up right away specifically to help members of the military
00:37:14its first five years the bureau headed back nearly twelve billion dollars to people who've been ripped off by consumer finance companies
00:37:22it created a new disincentive for companies that made money by ripping people off because it's Sue the asses off those companies
00:37:31a couple of years in South move from working with veterans to working with students were you shocked when you collided with the student loan situation just how bad it was yes literally one of the hardest part about the job was convincing people it was actually as bad as it is without seeming like a crazy person with their hair on fire all the time right which I'm probably not good at one of the things that Lit his hair on fire was the behavior of student loan servicers the navients of the world
00:38:05set student loan you it looked into a bunch of complaints it found that loan servicers were preventing School teachers cops and firefighters from getting into the loan forgiveness program the one Congress had created for them back in 2007 Seth found out about the 7-minute rule they have essentially every incentive under the book to ensure that the people on their phones are not doing as good of a job is possible but getting off the phone as quick as possible Seth went to his boss Richard cordray who is head of the bureau
00:38:41together they decided to file a massive lawsuit against navient which of course alarm the entire Consumer Finance industry I mean if this new agency was actually going to stop consumers from being ripped off where would it leave the company that made money from it so then what happens then essentially with a flip of a switch director cordray leaves the bureau the bureau is given an acting director who also has a full-time job as the head of the Office of Management and budget rice soup Mick Mick Mulvaney cfpb is is is just fundamentally flawed on one hand he will call it independent but the real bottom line is it's simply unaccountable and that's wrong that's Mick Mulvaney talkin to Fox News is Lou Dobbs at the end of November 2017 we were slated to put out our annual report documenting how College debit cards had a particular risk for consumers despite protections that should be in
00:39:41spice essentially when the new leadership of the bureau came in we were told that we would put that report in in a drawer that was no longer our job did you did you have the option of just ignoring that know what would happen if you did I assume I would end up where I am here just a lot earlier in the process in the process where Seth is as you're probably guessing is out of a job he left on with Trump cfpb maybe I shouldn't ask him to speculate about what's going on now with his former employer but I can't help myself what's going through the mind of big mouth Andy when he says he asked you to put that report in the drawer so I don't know I don't want to give any legitimacy to the argument because it doesn't matter right I'd like the only thing that matters is there's someone on a college campus right now who has a debit card that a bank has negotiated with his school he thought it gave that someone
00:40:41Embassy he took out that card and he now has hundreds of dollars of overdraft fees and the keys pretty much screwed for a remainder of his life because of the work that we weren't allowed to do
00:40:57that was not an attempt to like make me or us some grandiose that just this is how it works
00:41:11I'm standing in front of a building that used to have a big sign on it and the sign said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
00:41:20what are the first things Mick Mulvaney did is acting head of the cfpb was to change the acronym to bcfp to the put the word Bureau first instead of consume 1970s brutalist architecture it looks like it was designed to maximize the number of Legends people would jump off after they had a financial reversal any way they used to be assigned here until just a couple of weeks ago and it was very proudly saying what it was well two weeks ago they took down the sign I'm staring right here at what is just that cinder block wall
00:41:59Banks found out about the name change from cfpb to bcfp just that your cost them up to three hundred million dollars to update all their databases informs the agency itself or spending Millions to change its signage and branding all just to make the name sound less inviting to the consumers it's meant to serve for Jack that would be against the law I don't know that I can see that's exactly
00:42:32I don't think
00:42:39well you know
00:42:43I don't. Just you you can go in the street but you know you I don't think you can do that here
00:42:51the new director of the cfpb or whatever you call it finally gave up trying to Rebrand the place still this is the way referee dies not with a bang but a distraction this massive explosion in the Public Square gets muffled a million tragedy silently unfold in the lives of ordinary people who thought they were the customers and found out they were just the crop
00:43:14I have so hear my original loan amount was 77545 for T 6561 left to pay off my paid back 50 3890
00:43:36Katie Highland still waiting she also joined other teachers in a lawsuit against navient
00:43:42there was a US Government audit of loan services like that in it found its 30000 qualified people teachers firefighters soldiers had applied to the loan forgiveness program only 96. Their loans forgiven 96 the student loan servicers found tricks to deny all the rest and that doesn't even count the greater number of people like Katie Highland who never got to submit an application in the first place my teeth like from grinding and anxiety guy I've had one two three four five teeth had to come out which is what I'm dealing with it currently at the moment which is like making me very upset cuz I can't smile anymore and stuff and dental insurance doesn't cover implants so like I have lost like all these teeth and I'm 35 and it's like
00:44:35like crazy but it's like this stress is constant if a toaster had blown up and maimed a mother-of-two you'd say God that's awful get that toaster off the market and get her some compensation
00:44:50a Consumer Finance Company steals the happiness from her life and we're all half inclined to think oh it's her problem she borrow the money Duggar own grave
00:45:02why is that I don't see any pay off and it just keeps getting harder and harder and that's so crushing and it's it's hard also with like little kids too
00:45:13be happy and everything's okay and you know and you know to encourage them to do things and then follow their dreams and my mom got mad at my daughter we met so I want to be a teacher and I said no you don't you never ever want to be a teacher and my mom was like
00:45:38a might be at the kind of painful for her because all of this couch with a bill and getting something changed to another thing at the same but changing to it
00:45:55if it does feel kind of painful right Mommy a lot of the papers yet it's a lot of paperwork is a lot of people doing it
00:46:10so why are we asking what we move on and that's pretty much what I did is just move on it is very good to be stopped for everybody but the person who's the most best person on earth is actually right there
00:46:37Jackson I'm so in love with you so much of life is just dumb luck consumer finance companies got lucky if the student loan servicing industry had somehow been invented in the early 19th century in the late 19th century or even the mid-twentieth some rap would have probably been put in place
00:46:58the right now wraps are hard to create
00:47:02and so the head of navient make six million dollars a year while Katie Highlands teeth fall out one by one
00:47:19I've never had a consumer loan I've always paid my Amex bill on time and always pay cash for everything else which is to say I've never been at the mercy of the Consumer Finance industry the next aspect is to go back and resolve the issues on your credit report which is more time to all three credit bureaus and yet there I was not quite able to get away from it because even when you think you're free and clear Consumer Finance it can pull you in it's fucked up little world in which they create problems and then make them your problems you and officer Joel to do Berkeley Police what is some of the crime prevention techniques which is this right here is got your Social Security number on it so when you're done with it should be shredded not just tossed in the trash because when we have people going through the trash and they see this Lego people do it absolutely never seen any of my garbage cans outside my house I stare at it all the time
00:48:16Michael and Lewis and we got your Social Security number and start taking so much of your time this is great I gather up the mess up papers the letters from Amex saying my credit rating is shot the credit report from Experian the FTC pamphlet on all the things I need to do to fix this problem that a Wall Street Bank created all by itself when I copy a single envelope falls out of the pile in a mine and I know but it because it's an offer for a credit card do you want to send anybody
00:49:08I Michael Lewis thanks again for listening to against the rules
00:49:13against the rules is brought to you by Pushkin Industries the show is produced by Audrey dilling and Catherine Jurado with research assistance from Zoe Oliver Grey and Beth Johnson
00:49:25our editor is Julia Barton
00:49:28Mia Lobel is our executive producer are singing was composed by Nick Patel with additional scoring by Seth Samuel mastering by Jason Gambrell
00:49:40I sure was recorded at Northgate studios in Berkeley bike over roof special thanks to our Founders Jacob Weisberg and Malcolm Gladwell

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