Center for Straight Answers

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As a longstanding leader in the fight against reckless and abusive lending practices, the Center for Responsible Lending and its affiliate, Self-Help, are often the subject of attacks by predatory lenders. These well-financed interest groups create fancy front groups and back multi-million dollar smear campaigns to try and put a stop to the important work that we do.

Our opponents have a profit-driven interest in exploiting consumers with abusive lending practices.  We, on the other hand, are driven by a non-profit, nonpartisan mission to protect homeownership and family wealth for hardworking Americans.

We have created the Center for Straight Answers to set the record straight. Our opponent’s baseless attacks distract from the issues that matter, and the American people deserve the truth and straight answers.

Please feel free to search all of the entries below, and help us stay one step ahead of the predatory lenders and their lobbyists by using the tip-line to alert us to their new attacks and schemes.

To learn more about these fancy front groups and their attacks visit our Astroturf Group Alert page.


  • 1st Way to Avoid a Predatory Loan - Don't Read Payday Lender Press Releases
    July 31, 2012
    A payday lender recently issued a press release on "12 Ways to Avoid a Predatory Loan," using CRL's name as bait.

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  • When Wikis Go Wrong
    August 8, 2011
    Wikis are websites where users collaborate to publish content. They have become increasingly popular as many people search online for quality (and hopefully unbiased) information. But articles on one wiki claim CRL is pro-payday lending (wrong) , and link directly to ads for online payday loans (yuck).

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  • Wolves in "Responsible Lending" Clothing
    May 17, 2011
    Through our research and advocacy work, the Center for Responsible Lending has established a well-known trademark. Now we're seeing opponents brand themselves with "responsible lending" or otherwise trading on CRL's good name. The latest: Association for Responsible Lending, a front-group for consumer finance lenders in NC. (UPDATE 5-23-11 They just changed their name to "Association for Installement Lending")

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  • CRL Spends Little on Lobbying vs Financial Services Firms
    September 23, 2010
    Here we provide some context for CRL lobbying expenditures recently reported in the news. Bottomline: in first half 2010 bailed-out banks and payday lenders spent, respectively, 48 TIMES and 9 TIMES more than CRL.

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  • Cash USA Gets Key Facts Wrong
    September 21, 2010
    A recent Cash USA press release complains about protests sparked by the National People's Action report "Predators' Creditors", which outlines how banks are providing billions of dollars in support to payday lenders. The company then throws in some old--and bogus--attacks on CRL.

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  • If You Can't Be Right, Just Be Loud
    May 1, 2010
    Payday lenders and other opponents of financial reform are ramping up the rhetoric in attacking CRL, but the attacks are still baseless.

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  • So fighting foreclosures is a BAD thing?
    April 20, 2010
    Financial reform opponents attack CRL for accepting a grant from Paulson & Co., but that funding has helped keep thousands of struggling families in their homes.

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  • Payday Lenders and D.C. Influence-Peddlers
    March 23, 2010
    Talking Points Memo describes how payday lenders have spent millions on "lobbying and developing a network of websites and other PR tools to promote its interests and attack its critics" - including CRL.

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  • As CFPA bill goes up for debate, attacks on CRL escalate
    March 15, 2010
    We're not surprised that BigGovernment.org has tried to attack CRL this week - using the same tired and unfounded arguments the payday lenders have tried unsuccessfully to peddle to the press for years. (Quelle surprise - the editor of BigGovernment.org is also the head of the Consumers Rights League, a fake grassroots group set up by the payday lenders to attack CRL and other organizations.

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  • New attack on CRL is same old story--and still wrong
    November 23, 2009
    The Consumers Rights League is a fake grassroots group that has operated under the wing of various D.C. lobbying and public relations firms. Now they are attacking the accuracy of CRL lobbying reports, although their "complaint" merely repeats discredited claims about CRL donors and inaccurately alleges other "violations" where CRL has in fact complied with lobbying laws.

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  • PR Exec Says Front Groups "Don't Pass the Smell Test"
    September 29, 2009
    At a 2008 conference of the Financial Service Centers of America (FISCA), the payday lending industry described how it was using "guerilla blogging" to get its messages out. But Michael Cherenson, CEO of the Public Relations Social of America, recently said that an "intentional failure to clearly reveal the source of message contents is unethical."

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  • Dr. Evil's Payday
    September 2, 2009
    This article by Daniel Schulman of the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones explores the links between the payday lending industry and some of the front groups created by Berman and Company.

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