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Inside Washington (12/03/2010)
* WASHINGTON (12/6/10)--Saying there was more disclosure and less understanding than ever, President Barack Obama’s top consumer adviser said on Thursday the newly formed Consumer Protection Bureau should seek to make financial products more understandable for consumers rather than serve as a clearinghouse for cumbersome regulation. Speaking before the Consumer Federation of America Elizabeth Warren said: “It is this simple: No customer should be asked to take out a loan without knowing the costs or the risks of the deal. And every customer should be able to compare different financial products straight up. Regulations should be about making sure that customers have the information they need to make the decisions that are right for them.” As an example, Warren cited the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act She said that although consumers are better offer after the legislation, complex pricing schemes drive up costs for both consumers and financial institutions. “Right now, there are a lot of lawyers who are working overtime to figure out how to render the CARD Act rules ineffective,” Warren said. “At the same time, consumers look over their credit card terms and still see pages of fine print and wonder what is buried in there.” Warren said the Consumer Protection Bureau has an opportunity to define clear goals and set a direction that is good for families, competition and the economy. CUNA SVP and Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn also addressed the CFA conference. Credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets will be under CFPB rules, but the prudential federal regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, will enforce them ... * WASHINGTON (12/6/10)--The Internal Revenue Service Friday issued the 2011 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of driving for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 51 cents per mile for business miles driven; 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for any vehicle used for hire or for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates ...

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