What is the strangest meat you’ve eaten?
For me, it’s reindeer. This was during a trip to Finland when I was 7. We’d gone to the Arctic Circle, where I hoped to meet Father Christmas. I remember being driven through dark forests on the back of a snowmobile to a firelit clearing where we ate reindeer sausages. Though my baby brain didn’t then realize I was eating one of Rudolph’s cousins and that Santa might disapprove, I enjoyed the meat. It was spiced and tender and warmed me after the freezing journey.
Eating reindeer remains one of my core memories, though I now consider eating all animals gross and unethical. But I’ve discovered reindeer is not a very exotic meat, at least compared with what my Instagram followers have been eating. When I posted the question: “What’s the most exotic meat you’ve eaten?” I discovered my followers had eaten everything, from alligator to minke whale.
Which animals we find acceptable to eat vary from person to person, according to our values, palates, and upbringing. Many consider eating cows and chickens okay, but not octopus, dolphin, or tiger. Right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find tiger meat in your local supermarket, but developments in tech are making a future possible in which eating exotic meats, from alligator to zebra, could be commonplace.
But, how? Well, factory-farmed tiger, thankfully, is not about to become a dystopian reality. But we might one day eat “ethical” tiger through innovations in cultured-cell technology.
Cultured meat, also known as cell-cultivated meat, is not pork reared on caviar and Italian neorealist cinema — it is meat that has been grown in a lab. It has the potential to liberate animals from exploitation, creating burgers and sausages from meat that has been grown in bioreactors and harvested without the death of a sentient being. The first cell-cultivated chicken in the US came to market this summer. It’s an exciting technology, as it could substantially reduce the number of animals slaughtered yearly (or, at least, limit the expansion of that number).
It’s not all chicken and pork, though. Recently, startups such as Primeval Foods and Vow have begun developing meat cultured from the cells of exotic (and even extinct) animals, such as tiger, zebra, or mammoth. A gigantic mammoth meatball produced by Vow earlier this year brought many people’s attention to the potential applications of cultured-cell technology, and advocates argue the novelty of nontraditional meats could help win over an otherwise hard-to-reach group of potential consumers.
Some animal advocates, however, have voiced concerns that popularizing exotic meats could have unforeseen consequences. The tech, if successful (a big if), could create an appetite for real tiger meat, putting additional pressure on already-endangered wild big cat populations. And some vegans, who advocate against the commodification of animals, worry that eating cell-cultivated meat could entrench the belief that animals are something to be exploited and consumed, rather than beings to be protected; they argue the desire to manufacture cultured tiger meat reveals that “clean” meat is a fallacy promoted by meat producers developing new ways to exploit the animal kingdom.
How cultured tiger steak could hurt real tigers
In April, I spoke with Yilmaz Bora, CEO of Primeval Foods, a company developing cultured tiger meat. I’d imagined Bora to be a meat-lover, but I was surprised to discover that he was the opposite.
“I went vegan roughly three, four years ago,” Bora said. “It started with activism, supporting UK [animal rights] groups. After a while, I realized that was not going to work. We had to involve the economy, involve the capitalist system, to have a meaningful impact on animals.”
From there, Bora began developing alternative proteins that he hoped would convert diehard meat eaters from factory-farmed animals. According to Bora, exotic meat seemed a viable option because, he believes, the “masculine” group that drives meat consumption would find meat grown from big cats more compelling than meat grown from conventional livestock cells.
“If you are making barbecue every weekend in Texas and you have no interest in climate, no interest in animal welfare, there is not any product for you,” he said. “Tigers, or other wild cats such as lions, represent power. … There is this masculine profile [that is firmly anti-vegan], and they tend to not eat alternative plant-based or alternative protein on the market, but it will appeal to them because it represents something luxury.”
Developing meat from the cells of an animal that represents power might be a compelling method of marketing cultured meats. But problems will arise if the appetite for lab-grown tiger causes an upsurge in demand for meat from wild tiger populations. Only 4,500 tigers remain in the wild. John Goodrich, of the big cat conservation charity Panthera, explained the potential complications cultured tiger meat could create for tiger conservation.
“One of the biggest threats to big cats, especially tigers, is poaching for their body parts, primarily for use in traditional Chinese medicine,” Goodrich said. “You’d hope that [cultivated meat] would flood the market so that there would no longer be any market for wild tiger parts.”
It’s not at all clear that this would happen, even if cultivated tiger meat did become a success. “My concern is that there’s always going to be the contingent that wants the real thing,” Goodrich added. “By mainstreaming it, you are creating this much, much bigger market for tiger parts. … Let’s say your market is a billion people: If less than 1 percent of that wants the real thing, that’s still enough to put tremendous pressure on the remaining 4,500 tigers in the wild.”
“It’s not worth the risk,” he concludes.
When I put this to Bora, I was met with a confusing response. He said he was “not aware” of the market for tiger in China, and added that he believed people would not consume wild tiger because sourcing it “is not convenient” and “it will taste really really bad … because they are very muscular animals, they move a lot … they have little to no fat.”
Cultivated meat technology, Bora added, allows Primeval Foods “to change the fat percentage on the end product. … We can do whatever we want to have that better mouthfeel, better texture, better taste.”
That’s fine, but, as Goodrich explained, what if even a small contingent of Primeval Foods’s future intended consumers decide they want to eat real tiger? With wild tiger populations dwindling, any increase in poaching would be catastrophic, and the fact that real tiger meat “tastes really really bad” can only be discovered after the animal has been slaughtered.
It’s hard to fathom that degree of ignorance from the CEO of a startup with potentially harmful environmental implications — especially since others in the industry have engaged with such concerns more deliberately. When I spoke to George Peppou, founder of Vow, he said that, in the preliminary stages of developing Vow’s cultured cell products, Vow “started to work with the Zoo and Aquarium Association in Australia,” who “scared the crap out of me about … unintentionally stimulating wildlife crime.”
Ultimately, the product that Vow aspires to bring to market is not mammoth or other exotic animals, but what Peppou describes as “the Cheerios of meat” — synthetic, branded meats made from combining different animals’ cell lines in a way that’s comparable to the mixing of oats, wheat, and barley to create breakfast cereals. This would avoid problems like stimulating wildlife crime, as the meat Vow takes to market cannot be traced to a single species.
Vow’s cultivated mammoth, according to Peppou, is a stunt intended to “challenge people’s perception of what meat is and get them comfortable with the idea that it can look different to what we have available to us now.”
The mammoth meatball was developed, Peppou explained, after the company asked itself the question, “How do we move the window of what’s acceptable in meat?” Right now, synthetic “chimera meats” seem strange, and many consumers would choose chicken over lab-grown hybrids. Making synthetic meats seem conventional — at least compared to mammoth meatballs — is the strategic goal of Vow’s stunt.
The philosophical trouble with tiger and all cultivated meat
While Vow is embracing exotic cultivated meats with an eye toward preventing knock-on effects like further harming endangered species, there are also broader philosophical questions about cultured meats, whether conventional, exotic, or extinct, that are worth considering.
John Sanbonmatsu, an animal rights philosopher and professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, argues that cultivated meat only entrenches the commodification of animals and the idea that it’s okay to consume their flesh.
The development of tiger steaks by Primeval, he said, is “fundamentally disrespectful of their personhood.”
“One of the major problems with the way we relate to other animals is we treat them as commodities,” Sanbonmatsu told me. “If you look at the discourse of Primeval Foods or these other companies, the way they describe the rationale for their enterprise is reinforcing the idea that humans are meant to exploit nature and other animals for their purposes without any ethical limits.”
To Sanbonmatsu’s thinking, the assumption that animals are available for exploitation is only underscored by the development of exotic cultivated meat. Viewed through that lens, growing tiger meat is just another example of humanity’s disregard for the animal kingdom, demonstrating that the drive to find “ethical” ways to exploit them creates fresh problems that need solving further down the line.
For example, Sanbonmatsu and charities such as Food & Water Watch argue that because lab-grown meat doesn’t challenge the idea that animal flesh is edible, it will augment rather than replace factory farming. As the market for meat increases around the world, they predict, there could simply be no reduction in the number of animals currently slaughtered yearly (tens of billions of land animals and hundreds of millions or even trillions of fish). Rather, cultivated meat could merely limit the expansion of this number. While this is arguably a good thing, insofar as one dead cow is better than two, animal slaughter will continue to be a massive, cruel industry with an immense environmental impact.
Those ethical concerns bring up an underlying question animal rights advocates will have to confront: What does it take for meat to be “clean?” For vegans such as Sanbonmatsu, who believe in animal personhood and the absolute equality of animals and humans, there is no scenario where that is the case.
For others, the cleanest cultivated meat would be a product created without harming animals at all, but even this is proving to be a quixotic goal, as cultivated meat companies struggle to make their products without animal-derived ingredients. Cultivated meat companies are also taking funding from conventional meat companies like Tyson and Cargill, some of the world’s biggest perpetrators of animal suffering.
It might still be that the current fastest way to dramatically limit animal suffering is through embracing cultured meat companies while putting the total abolition of animal exploitation on the back burner.
Deeper ethical questions aside, it is undeniable that some advocates, such as Bora, are working to develop cultivated meat with the aspiration, however unlikely, of ending factory farming and conventional meat consumption. All I ask is that they confront the potential implications of the tech: Developing cultivated tiger, mammoth, or anything else might be a cool way to draw attention to cultured-meat technology, and it could succeed in drawing new consumers. But if people decide they want to eat “the real thing,” then many wild animals, from tigers to elephants to lions, could go the way of the woolly mammoth.
Blue-Collar Workers Are the New Social Media Stars
It was another busy day for the crew of the Rest-Ashoar, a lobster fishing boat that works the waters off the rocky coast of Winter Harbor, Maine. The captain, Jacob Knowles, had gotten up at 3 a.m. on a brisk October morning and took his vessel 10 miles into the ocean.
Using a hydraulic hauler, buoys and ropes, Mr. Knowles, Keith Potter (the stern man) and Coty White (the third man) hauled up 400 wire traps over the next 10 hours. They pulled legal-size lobsters — at least 3.25 inches but not over 5 inches, from its eye to the back of its shell — from each baited cage and tossed back the smaller ones. As the boat listed in the rolling waves, they heaved the empty traps back overboard.
Even while doing the grueling work of commercial fishermen, the crew was engaged in another job: filming a video.
Over the past two years, Mr. Knowles, 30, has amassed a large audience on social media by sharing snippets of his workday with his 2.5 million followers on TikTok and nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram. Wearing an orange Grundens rubber fishing bib and a matching coat, he stands on the deck and, in a Down East accent, gives tutorials about, say, lobster reproductivity, or how to remove barnacles from the shells of crabs.
In September, the Rest-Ashoar added a fourth crew member: Griffin Buckwalter, 20, a videographer. On fishing trips, he often sits in the cabin, editing footage on a laptop.
Mr. Knowles is one of several people in what are considered blue-collar jobs who use social media to offer a window into their lives. Their videos are about as far as you can get from the “get ready with me” makeup videos that are a TikTok staple, resembling instead a social media version of “Dirty Jobs,” the long-running show on the Discovery Channel. In some cases, as with Mr. Knowles, these hard-working influencers have signed sponsorship deals with brands, giving them an additional source of income.
Another popular online figure who works outdoors is Adam Perry, a tree trimmer in England, who has racked up 245,000 followers on Instagram by posting videos of himself scaling trees with a chain saw and tying knots with names like double Portuguese bowline and clove hitch. There is also Hannah Jackson, who herds sheep in the rolling hills of Cumbria, England, and goes by theredshepherdess on TikTok, where she has 100,000 followers. A recent post introduced her new herding dog, Mick.
Ms. Jackson, 31, said her feed appeals to “people who are in a little more of a townie setting.” “Probably because I explain farming in a really easy way,” she said. “People feel quite comfortable that they can ask questions and not feel stupid.”
With her red hair and cheeky humor, Ms. Jackson is a striking presence, and she has parlayed her online success into a memoir that was a best seller in England. She has also appeared on the BBC show “Countryfile” and signed sponsorship deals with Can-Am, which makes off-road vehicles, and other companies.
“It really helps support the farm,” she said of the money she earns through posting.
The audience for these creators includes people who do their jobs from their desks. Michael Williams, who runs A Continuous Lean, the men’s style site turned newsletter, said he follows the social media accounts of a mechanic, an electrician and a long-haul truck driver.
He said he especially liked the posts of Robert Allen, a pilot with nearly 400,000 TikTok followers whose videos spotlight a niche of the aviation industry. Mr. Allen, known online as CaptainBob, is a founder of Nomadic Aviation, a company that ferries planes around the world when they are sold, brought in for maintenance or converted from commercial airliners into cargo jets.
“He’s in all these weird places in the world, doing a cargo conversion,” Mr. Williams said. “If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s very compelling.”
The lobsterman, the shepherd and the pilot have little in common with the young fashion and lifestyle creators who rose to prominence more than a decade ago. These earlier online influencers built their followings by showcasing their personal style or by offering beauty, decorating or parenting tips. The savviest among them turned online fame into cash through brand partnerships.
“When we think of influencers, we think of a blond woman wearing a two-piece outfit, holding a designer purse and posed on a hotel balcony,” said Alice Marwick, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose research focuses on social media.
That’s largely because Instagram was suited to promoting aspirational lifestyle content when it arrived as a photo sharing app in 2010. “It has an aesthetic quality that lends itself to beauty, lifestyle, travel, food — these very curated, highly visual areas,” Professor Marwick said.
A parallel strain of social media fame centered on male YouTubers like Jake Paul and MrBeast, who relied on spectacle, quick-cut editing and bluster to build large followings, especially among young men.
When TikTok took off, its short-form videos were rawer, more unfiltered, and people could go viral just because they were able to say interesting things to the smartphone camera or had an unusual lifestyle. “That’s where we’re getting these blue-collar influencers,” Professor Marwick said. “We know these jobs exist, but we don’t really know what it’s like behind the scenes.”
Ms. Jackson said that, while growing up, she didn’t know farming was something you could do for a living without being born into it, and she had no female role models. She frequently hears from women from all walks of life who thank her for showing her day-to-day life. “It’s women in general being a bit more brave and trying things society thinks they shouldn’t,” Ms. Jackson said.
Authenticity seems to be another draw. The blue-collar creators don’t live in content houses in Los Angeles, their feeds aren’t (yet) cluttered with sponsored posts, and they don’t appear to be using social media as a springboard to internet fame, given that they have dedicated years to working a trade.
Mr. Allen’s videos often feature a package of peanut M&Ms somewhere in the pilot’s cabin. He calls the candy his good luck charm and makes sure he stocks up before embarking on any international flights. Reached by video call in London, Mr. Allen, 57, laughed at the suggestion that he was being paid by Mars, the candy’s maker.
“M&M’s should be paying me,” he said, adding, “I think they’re unaware.”
His route to TikTok fame was unlikely. He was an investor in a company that makes bug repellents, including a bedbug killer that debuted around the time the pandemic hit and hotels closed. To help sell the product, he said, he studied up on social media marketing and joined TikTok.
“Nobody cared about these bedbug products, but they were asking me, ‘Where are you flying?’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘Show more of the airplane,’” Mr. Allen recalled. “There are a lot of people interested in aviation, apparently. I really had no idea.”
Many of his followers, he said, are people who, for various reasons, are unable to hop on a plane and see the world. And they see him as a regular guy. “I’m eating terrible,” Mr. Allen said. “I’m not getting the proper rest. I’m getting my catering from convenience stores. There’s guys like truckers that can relate to that.”
Mr. Allen’s account has also become an inspiration for some young aviators — not least because pilots and crew members working for commercial airlines are barred by their employers from posting the sort of revealing content that he shares.
When he recently delivered a plane to Sanford, Fla., Mr. Allen was greeted like a celebrity by Drew Cripe, 21, a pilot working toward his airline transportation license.
“When you’re, like me, still trying to build hours to get to the airlines, you know about the pay, you know about the daily flying of Point A to Point B, but you never get to see the behind the scenes,” Mr. Cripe said. “Bob is well known around my flight school because he provides such an insight into that airliner world.”
It helps that the Kentucky-born Mr. Allen is a natural on camera, with a smooth drawl and a love for aviation that comes through in his videos.
Joe Seppi, the long-haul trucker Mr. Williams follows, has found social media fame, has a curmudgeonly personality and dry humor that bonds him with his fans. Standing beside his rig along a busy freeway, the big-bearded, ball-cap-wearing Mr. Seppi will grumble about having to drive an automatic instead of manual transmission or some other workplace issue, then parry with followers who leave comments.
Despite his job and remote location, Mr. Knowles, whose family has been in the lobster business for generations, is something of an online veteran. He said he started posting videos to YouTube about his hunting and fishing adventures in northern Maine as a teenager. Three months ago, he signed with Greenlight Group, a talent management company.
“We monitor creators who are homespun and blue-collar, like Jacob,” said Doug Landers, a founder of the agency. The firm also represents Gabriel Feitosa, a dog groomer with 2.3 million TikTok followers, and Jordan Howlett (known as Jordan the Stallion), who has amassed 11 million followers on TikTok with videos about the fast-food restaurants where he once worked.
Mr. Landers said that he has been brokering brand partnerships for Mr. Knowles and helping him expand his “narrative bubble” beyond the deck of the Rest-Ashoar.
Sitting in the cluttered gang room of the Winter Harbor Coop, the office shack for fishermen, Mr. Knowles was wearing a black heavyweight hoodie by American Giant — his first significant brand partnership. He has also recently signed deals with BetterHelp, a mental health platform; CapCut, a maker of graphic design tools; and AG1, a nutritional supplement.
He recalled how he stumbled into viral fame in 2020 after posting a TikTok video explaining the meaning of “egger” — an egg-laden female lobster that, when caught by a fisherman, is given a V-notch in its tale in an effort toward keeping fisheries sustainable.
“After she has a V-notch, she’s illegal to keep for the rest of her life,” Mr. Knowles said. “When I posted that one, it went mega-viral.”
He and his wife have three young children, so he has welcomed the money from sponsorship deals, he said. Besides, his TikTok sideline makes the monotony of long days on the water pass more quickly. “We’re out there for 10 hours with nothing to do except talk,” he said.
These days, the captain and his crew dream up ideas for TikTok. Their videos have become more goofy and semi-scripted as their following has grown. When Mr. White joined the boat as the third man, he attempted to roll on a log drifting in the frigid ocean for his initiation video.
Indeed, Mr. Knowles seems on the precipice of something few, if any, lobstermen have ever faced. If more brand deals come about, and if his following continues to grow, he may soon earn more for his posts than for his catches. He would become a kind of actor, then, playing the role of a rugged Maine lobsterman. And that would be fine by him.
“It’s hard on your body, hard on your back,” Mr. Knowles said of lobstering. “I love it, and I probably will always do it, but I’d like to get to the point where I’m doing it for fun. Not so I have to wake up at 3 a.m. and go do it.”
Christianity vs Judaism Explained: Key Differences and Similarities
Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic religions that are among the oldest and largest faiths in the world. Even with those similarities between Judaism and Christianity, these two belief systems are more different than they are alike. To better understand how these faiths differ, review some key differences in Judaism vs. Christianity.
The Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible is a central religious text in Judaism and Christianity alike. However, the two religions do not interpret the Old Testament in the same ways.
- Christians view the Old Testament as the first part of a story, which is completed in the New Testament through the Salvation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
- In Judaism, the central message of the Old Testament focuses on how God called Abraham to lead and set an example of obedience to the word of God.
The New Testament of the Bible is integral to Christianity but is not part of Judaism at all. It focuses on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Torah represents the first part of the Jewish Bible. It is made up of the first five books of the Old Testament. Because the Old Testament is part of Christianity, Jews and Christians alike accept these books.
- Jews believe that the Torah specifies God’s instructions for how Jews should live. They believe that the Torah was dictated to Moses directly by God.
- These five books are simply considered part of the Old Testament in Christianity. They aren’t any more or less significant than the rest of the Old Testament.
Judaism and Christianity do not share common beliefs about the nature of God as a divine being.
- In Christianity, God is viewed as a Holy Trinity, consisting of the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that Jesus became man.
- Judaism is based on the concept of the Oneness of God as a sole divine being.
In both Judaism and Christianity, Jerusalem is viewed as a sacred place of great religious significance.
- The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the most sacred site in Judaism, largely due to the temples that once stood there. Jewish people face Jerusalem when they pray.
- Jerusalem is important in Christianity because of its role in the life of Jesus. It is where he lived and ministered as well as where he was crucified and resurrected.
The most recognizable symbol of Judaism is the Star of David. The most recognizable symbol of Christianity is the cross.
There are a few similarities Between Judaism and Christianity. Key aspects of faith shared by both religions include:
- monotheism (belief in a single God)
- the Old Testament of Hebrew Bible
- the 10 Commandments
The chart below provides a quick overview of the key similarities between Christianity and Judaism. In the table below, the “X” symbol indicates that the listed item is part of a particular religion, while the “-” sign indicates that it is not.
|Jesus as Messiah||–||X|
|God became man||–||X|
|Monotheistic (one God)||X||X|
|The 10 Commandments||X||X|
|Significance of Jerusalem||X||X|
|Star of David symbol||X||–|
Now that you understand the key differences between Judaism and Christianity as well as some of the similarities between these faiths, take the time to learn more about their basic beliefs, as well as those of other major religions. Start by exploring the five major world religions and their basic beliefs. Then, focus on learning the 5 pillars of Islam.
Sendwave, popular Money Mobile Service used by many Kenyans in US, accused of impropriety, ordered to refund $1.5 M and pay $1.5M in penalty
The US government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken action against Chime Inc. for what it calls “deceiving consumers about the speed and cost of remittance transfers through its mobile app, Sendwave.”
The Bureau says Chime also illegally forced consumers to waive their legal rights, failed to provide consumers with legally required disclosures and receipts, and failed to properly investigate consumer disputes and errors. The CFPB is ordering Chime to refund affected consumers nearly $1.5 million in fees and pay a $1.5 million penalty into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.
“Sendwave put illegal fine print into their contracts and tricked people who were sending money to their family overseas,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB is carefully watching companies launching mobile payment transfer apps seeking to gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”
Chime (doing business as Sendwave) is a nonbank fintech company incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Boston. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldRemit, which had total revenues of nearly $400 million in 2021. Through the Sendwave app, consumers are able to send money internationally, primarily to countries in Africa and Asia. Recipients receive the remittance transfers by delivery to a mobile wallet, bank account, or in-person cash pick-up.
Americans typically send remittances to family or other loved ones living abroad. These remittance transfers total in the billions of dollars, and are considered essential services to deliver resources to families in foreign countries.
The CFPB found that Chime violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the CFPB’s Remittance Transfer Rule. Specifically, Chime:
- Forced consumers to waive their legal protections: Sendwave users were required to sign a “remittance services agreement,” which protected Chime from being responsible for losses the consumer incurred through use of the Sendwave app. As part of that remittance services agreement, Chime also limited its liability for damages to $1,000. Both of these provisions illegally restricted consumer rights afforded under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
- Made false promises about the speed and cost of remittance transfers: Chime’s marketing on social media platforms deceptively told consumers that Sendwave remittance transfers would be delivered “instantly,” in “30 seconds,” or “within seconds.” In many cases, these transfers took much longer. Chime also misrepresented to consumers how much it would cost to send money from the United States to Nigeria, telling consumers those transfers would incur “no fees” when in fact consumers were charged fees.
- Failed to provide required disclosures: Chime did not accurately disclose the date by which funds would become available to certain recipients, and also failed to accurately represent the exchange rates to the correct decimal as required by law.
- Failed to track, investigate, and resolve errors: Chime did not have proper policies and procedures in place to find and track remittance transfer errors, nor did the company conduct proper investigations upon notification of errors.
- Failed to provide receipts in a timely manner: The Remittance Transfer Rule requires a provider offering remittance transfers solely through a mobile app to provide the consumer with a receipt within one business day of payment. The company would instead wait until funds were electronically delivered to the recipient before providing a receipt, which sometimes took more than a business day.
Since the beginning of 2022, the CFPB has taken numerous actions against other remittance providers, including Choice Money, Servicio UniTeller, and Moneygram. The CFPB has also proposed a new rule that would require nonbank companies, including those providing remittance transfers, to submit their terms and conditions to the CFPB to be included in a public registry.
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions violating consumer financial laws, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The CFPB found that Chime violated the CFPA’s prohibition on deceptive acts and practices by misrepresenting to consumers the speed and cost of its remittance transfers. Chime also violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Remittance Transfer Rule by failing to comply with error resolution requirements, provide required information in disclosures in a timely manner, and maintain required policies and procedures.
The CFPB’s order requires Chime to:
- Refund fees to affected consumers: Chime must refund certain charges to consumers who sent remittance transfers from the United States to Nigeria during the time Chime was deceptively marketing its transfers as fee-free. Chime must also refund any fees consumers paid when the Sendwave app promised delivery by a certain date and then failed to deliver the funds to the designated recipient by that date.
- Pay $1.5 million into the CFPB victims relief fund: Chime is required to pay a $1.5 million penalty, which will be deposited into the CFPB victims relief fund.
The CFPB has more information on money transfers on its website, including what a consumer’s rights are when sending money abroad. Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
Employees of companies who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to email@example.com.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.
What the CFPB is
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, often simply called the CFPB, is a U.S. government agency. Prior to the CFPB’s founding, responsibilities for consumer protections fell to seven government agencies. The CFPB consolidated those responsibilities under one director, appointed by the president of the United States.
The CFPB employs more than 1,500 people in five divisions: Consumer Education and External Affairs; Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending; Research, Monitoring and Regulations; Legal; and Operations.
Its regular activities include protecting against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts, and efforts to enforce existing consumer financial protection laws. Through the complaint process and financial education, the CFPB does great work to protect Americans from bad actors in a broad range of sectors in the financial industry.
A brief history of the CFPB
The Obama administration pointed to weak and scattered financial-regulatory agencies as part of the cause of the Great Recession. In a speech promoting the CFPB, President Obama explained that regulators either didn’t have the authority or didn’t act to prevent the chain of events that led to a near economic collapse during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Congress created the CFPB to fix those problems.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was charged with the task of launching the agency. And former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray became the bureau’s first director.
The CFPB is not without its detractors. Republicans and conservative groups have argued that the agency is an example of government overreach and that its powers should be limited. When President Trump took office, the CFPB landed in the headlines as the president and other Republicans made a concerted effort to minimize the bureau’s powers.
After a high-profile dispute over the top office at the CFPB, Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, a well-known critic of the organization, as its acting director. Mulvaney continued in this role until Kathleen Kraninger was appointed director in December 2018. In 2022, Rohit Chopra was appointed director.
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