About CRL

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The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that works to protect homeownership and family wealth by fighting predatory lending practices. Our focus is on consumer lending: primarily mortgages, payday loans, credit cards, bank overdrafts and auto loans.

Since we began in 2002, we have witnessed, studied, and fought against outrageous lending abuses that strip billions of dollars from American families. 

2012 Winner: MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named CRL as a recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The award recognizes CRL’s decade of work fighting predatory lending practices nationally, and provides us with a major grant to support future efforts. We are one of only 15 organizations from six countries to be recognized with this award in 2012.

Read more about CRL's award from the MacArthur Foundation.

Our History: Building on 30+ Years of Lending Experience

CRL's work grows directly from our affiliation with Self-Help, our founder and one of the nation's largest nonprofit community development lenders. For over 30 years, Self-Help has worked to create ownership and economic opportunity in underserved communities through responsible loans and financial services.

Learn more about Self-Help's activities and impact.

Self-Help's anti-predatory lending efforts date back to the late 1990s, when local homeowners sought its help to refinance out of bad subprime mortgages with huge fees and unfavorable terms.  Self-Help worked with a broad, bipartisan coalition of advocates and lawmakers to help pass the NC Anti-Predatory Lending Law of 1999, and founded CRL in 2002 to build on this successful experience in other states. 

Read more about CRL's history.

Research and Policy Solutions

CRL conducts ground-breaking research on the extent and impact of predatory lending, to provide useful information to consumers, community advocates, and policymakers alike. We develop reasonable, practical policy solutions and share these with advocates and policymakers interested in reforming lending practices at the state or federal level. See more on CRL's research and policy work.

Financial Tips and Tools

"Buyer Beware" is a really important guideline when you're taking out a loan to buy a home or car, getting a credit card, or considering a payday advance loan or other financial product.  CRL provides general information, calculators, lists of warning signs, and other info to help consumers make the best financial choices.  Check out our Tools & Resources.

Community Partnerships

CRL pushes for reforms in close partnership with other consumer groups, civil rights organizations, organized labor, faith-based communities and other community advocates. By joining forces with our allies, we increase public awareness of abusive lending practices and mobilize vocal grassroots and grasstops support for constructive change.

How to Support CRL's Work

The need for smart, effective consumer financial protections has never been greater, and CRL is committed to the fight. While we have had significant success in the past ten years, it wasn’t due to CRL’s efforts alone. It came from our work with lawmakers of all political stripes, community advocates, state and federal regulators, lenders, and everyday citizens.

Here's how YOU can join us in the fight against predatory lending:

Stay Informed

Visit our website often, and subscribe to our bi-weekly "What's Hot" e-newsletter for a quick scan of important developments, news, and videos.  You can also connect with CRL on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn using the icons on the right-side of this page.


Make a financial contribution to help CRL in its work--there is still much to do and we need your support. The Center for Responsible Lending is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible.

If you are a grant-making organization or interested in making a cy pres award, CRL's development team would love to talk with you.

The Center for Responsible Lending is supported currently by a number of organizations, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, California Community Foundation, F. B. Heron Foundation, Ford Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Institute, Park Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, San Francisco Foundation, Sandler Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, Sears Consumer Protection and Education Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Y&H Soda Foundation, and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  CRL also has received support from individual donors, the Google for Nonprofits program, and a cy pres Award from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.