Chris Arnold

Wells Fargo bank has struck a settlement to reimburse customers who were harmed when bank employees created unwanted accounts in their names. A federal judge has granted a preliminary approval for the settlement in the class action case.

Wells Fargo says compensation will depend on the financial harm customers suffered. Someone who paid an improper $35 dollar fee likely will receive less money than someone whose credit score was damaged and had to accept a home loan with a higher interest rate.

Home prices have finally clawed their way back to the peak of the housing bubble. That's on average nationally. The story is very different when you zoom in on different counties or cities in particular.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two things we know - interest rates are low; consumer confidence is high, which means the housing market should be hot. But it is not. It's just OK.

NPR's Chris Arnold has been asking, why?

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday night to rescind an Obama-era policy that allows states to offer retirement savings plans to millions of workers.

Retiree and worker protection groups say the move will hurt employees at small businesses.

Many small businesses say they can't afford to set up retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, for their workers. That's a big reason why so many Americans aren't saving, says Cristina Martin Firvida, the AARP's director of government affairs.

United Airlines says it will never again use police to forcibly remove passengers from overfull flights. But this week's public relations disaster for United highlights a problem that airlines face every day: how to entice people to give up their seats voluntarily.

NPR reached out to some of the top thinkers in the world of "game theory" who say they think the industry could be doing a much better job. Here are some solutions they offered.

Treat the problem as a game.

Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the administration has made a move that has some U.S.-China experts scratching their heads. The Commerce Department has quietly put a notice into the Federal Register stating that the U.S. will review a hot-button issue between the two superpowers.

The head of the president's National Trade Council this week offered a decidedly bleak and suspicious view of global trade. Peter Navarro says foreign companies buying up U.S. corporations are posing a threat to national security.

That might sound bad, but it's a fringe view that puts him at odds with the vast majority of economists.

The stock market's been charging higher lately. After the Dow Jones industrial average topped 20,000 for the first time in history in January, it kept surging to close above 21,000 earlier this week. So what's going on with the stock market and what does it mean for your retirement account?

Over the past two weeks, the Trump administration has taken steps to delay and perhaps scuttle a new rule designed to save American workers billions of dollars they currently pay in excessive fees in their retirement accounts.

Friday was the day that many homebuyers across the country were to start saving on average $500 a year on their loans. A fee reduction was set to go into effect at the Federal Housing Administration, lowering the cost of nearly 1 million FHA loans per year.

But that's not going to happen, at least for now, because in his very first hours in office, President Trump issued an order suspending that fee cut.

In a meeting with business leaders, President Trump on Monday made an eyebrow-raising claim.

As part of an effort to make America more business-friendly, Trump said: "We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent. Maybe more, but by 75 percent."

Republicans do seem serious about some kind of regulatory reform. But even conservative economists say that number is not believable.

It has been said that the president likes to have an adversary. And at the meeting, Trump took aim at government regulations that stifle business.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In the last days of the Obama administration, the federal government has reached multibillion-dollar settlements with Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse over their sale of toxic mortgage securities.

President-elect Donald Trump owes Deutsche Bank hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. So that deal removes a potential conflict of interest — where a Trump Justice Department would have been negotiating the settlement.

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged a $1 trillion infrastructure spending program to help jump-start an economy that he said during the campaign was in terrible shape.

Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that as they consider such spending, they should keep an eye on the national debt. Yellen also said that while the economy needed a big boost with fiscal stimulus after the financial crisis, that's not the case now.

During the campaign, Donald Trump characterized himself as a champion of working-class voters who felt left behind and disconnected from more prosperous parts of the country. And Trump's historic upset victory last week was fueled by working-class voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who believed in this promise.

Elizabeth Warren and two other U.S. senators are demanding answers from Wells Fargo about reports of retribution by bank managers against would-be whistleblowers. This marks the latest development in the ongoing consumer banking scandal engulfing the banking giant.

In a letter to Wells Fargo's new CEO, Timothy Sloan, Warren, D-Mass., and Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., say the bank may have "misled regulators about the scope of the fraud."

Former employees of Wells Fargo tell NPR that a toxic high-pressure sales culture at the bank drove some workers to deceive customers and open unauthorized accounts — even in the bank's own headquarters building in San Francisco.

Wells Fargo is embroiled in a scandal for taking advantage of customers by opening as many as 2 million accounts without their consent. The bank fired 5,300 mostly lower-level workers over the wrongdoing.

Much of the anger and anxiety in the 2016 election are fueled by the sense that economic opportunity is slipping away for many Americans. This week, as part of NPR's collaborative project with member stations, A Nation Engaged, we're asking the question: What can be done to create economic opportunity for more Americans?

When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looked into the Mississippi-based regional bank BancorpSouth, it didn't just review thousands of loan applications. It sent in undercover operatives — some white, some black — who pretended to be customers applying for loans.

"They had similar credit scores and similar background and situations," says CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Our investigation had found that BancorpSouth had engaged in illegal redlining in Memphis, meaning refusing to lend into specific areas of the city."

With rising home prices and low interest rates, Americans are spending a record amount of money fixing up their kitchens, bathrooms and man-caves. And business would be booming more but there aren't enough carpenters and tradespeople to do all the work.

Nathaniel May survived the housing crash, but just barely. He's a general contractor who does home renovations in the Boston area. As recently as four years ago, he and his partner were feeling a little desperate.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Several of the nation's most prestigious universities were sued yesterday by their own employees. MIT, Yale and NYU are facing class-action lawsuits over their retirement plans. Here's NPR's Chris Arnold.

Alvin Toffler, the author whose celebrated 1970 book Future Shock examined the danger and promise of the accelerating pace of change in society, died in his sleep Monday in Los Angeles. He was 87.

At the core of Toffler's vision was that society wasn't just changing, but changing faster than it ever had before. He popularized the notion of "information overload" and wondered whether human beings could psychologically handle being bombarded by so much information and by change itself.

Lionel Messi says it's over. He's retiring from Argentina's national team.

After losing three previous Copa America finals, Lionel Messi on Sunday night had another chance to win. Argentina and Chile were locked in a scoreless tie, and the match would be decided by penalty kicks. Messi bent down to adjust the ball and backed up to get a running start. The five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner licked his lip, gave the goalie a quick appraising glance, and sent a cannonball-like shot over the goal, missing for Argentina when it mattered most.

Dennis Hastert, the once-powerful Republican lawmaker, reported to federal prison today to begin serving a 15-month sentence.

The case against Hastert involved hush money he paid to cover up his sexual abuse of teenage boys in the 1960s and 70s when he was working as a wrestling coach at a high school about 50 miles west of Chicago.

Surrounded by his teammates just a few steps off the airplane, LeBron James hoisted the NBA championship trophy and bellowed out a happy roar to a crowd of 20,000 screaming fans. J.R. Smith appeared to have lost his shirt somewhere during Sunday night's celebrations. Kevin Love was sporting a giant professional wrestling belt. And the party in Cleveland is just getting started.

Updated 7 p.m. ET June 29 with this clarification:

Initial reports on June 20, when Costco said it would switch the type of credit card it would accept, said the new cards would not have roadside assistance. But Citi spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier now tells NPR that the Costco Visa cards "offer a comparable roadside assistance plan."

NerdWallet says overall the new Costco Visa card has better benefits than the old Costco American Express card.

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Tina Meins and other survivors of gun violence joined Democratic senators to push for tougher gun control laws. In the San Bernardino mass killing last year, Meins' father and 13 of his co-workers were shot to death.

"In mere seconds, my life and the lives of my mother and sister were irrevocably changed," she says.

Federal Reserve policymakers on Wednesday will tell the world their latest plans for raising interest rates. The goal is to keep the economy on track. And right now, that is not an easy thing.

Members of the Federal Open Markets Committee track an array of sometimes conflicting data. Economists call this the Fed's "dashboard." So what are the dashboard's instruments telling us about where the economy is headed next?

Capt. Yellen's Dashboard

Why should anybody care that billionaire George Soros is trading again and making big bets that will pay off if economies around the world fall on harder times?

When the 85-year-old hedge fund founder did something like this a decade ago, the U.S. housing market was about to implode, Lehman Brothers would soon collapse and the U.S. and global economy was headed into what economists call "the toilet."

One thing Soros appears to be most concerned about this time around is weakness in China.

When two armed men burst into a McDonald's in Besancon, France, on Sunday, it's safe to say they chose the wrong fast-food franchise for a stickup. French police say the men in their 20s fired a warning shot and cleaned out the registers of about 2,000 euros ($2,280).

But unbeknownst to the alleged would-be thieves, among the 40 McDonald's diners reportedly that night were 11 off-duty members of an elite French special forces team that specializes in hostage situations. Qui aurait su!?

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