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.


  • How To Identify Astroturfers And Front Groups
    September 1, 2009
    This blog post by The Consumerist has some tips and links to help consumers identify “astroturf” organizations and front groups pushing for industry-sponsored agendas.

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  • Payday Lender Spreads False Claims Against Self-Help Credit Union
    July 10, 2009
    A recent industry blog claimed that divisions of Self-Help Credit Union offer a line of credit whereby a “customer pays a monthly fee of either $25 or $40, based on amount of credit used. For overdraft loans up to $250, the fee is $25. For loans up to $500, the fee is $40.” This statement is patently false.

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  • The Truth Behind Econ4U.Org
    July 2, 2009
    Bob Sullivan of MSNBC's The Red Tape Chronicles investigates the truth behind Econ4U.Org, one of many Astroturf groups created by Berman and Co. to deceive the public of the real dangers of payday loans.

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  • Some Folks Have WAY Too Much Time on Their Hands
    June 30, 2009
    Payday lenders and their PR machine have been busy lately trying to tarnish CRL’s image by issuing fake news releases in our name, complete with bogus quotes from non-existent employees. Sorry payday folks, but we haven’t had time to respond to your PR make-believe—we’re too busy working on REAL solutions to help people and avoid another taxpayer-funded bailout of irresponsible lenders. You know, things like credit card reform, more consumer protections on financial products, a 36% rate cap on short-term loans, and ways to help families avoid foreclosure.

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  • How To Find A Legal Loan Shark?
    June 15, 2009
    This video posted on Howcast shows you how to find a legal loan shark, if you are willing to pay their high price.

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  • Front Group Busy Distorting Facts
    May 12, 2009
    In the last few weeks, the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy and its website ECON4U.ORG have been busy distorting the facts around payday lending and its grave impact in hard-working families across the country. It is no coincide that this flurry of pro-payday lending activity by this Berman & Co. front group has picked up lately with the recent talk on Capitol Hill of a 36% federal APR cap on high-interest consumer loans.

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  • Astroturf Group Featured as Editor’s Pick of the Week
    April 13, 2009
    The “grassroots” group Center for Consumer Freedom is the "Editor's Pick of the Week" at SourceWatch, an online encyclopedia that documents PR and propaganda activities of public relations firms trying to manipulate public opinion and policy.

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  • CRL’s Secret Stash: The Truth about Predatory Loans
    February 13, 2009
    A recent posting in a payday lending industry blog wondered whether CRL had “money stashed away somewhere” to continue protecting consumers from high-interest payday loans. The truth is that when the facts are in your side, you don’t need much cash.

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  • An Open Letter to Tim Miller of the Center for Consumer Freedom
    February 6, 2009
    A recent editoral by Tim Miller of the PR firm Berman & Company made some outlandish claims against our affiliate Self-Help. Here we provide the public with the real facts.

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  • Why Are We Still Listening to the MBA?
    January 26, 2009
    With many predicting millions of foreclosures still to come, many are embracing the access to bankruptcy courts to modify failing mortgages as a significant solution to the current crisis. Yet, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) recently announced its opposition to this solution, claiming it will have a “destabilizing effect” on the mortgage market. Then again, these are the same people who for years claimed that subprime lending was sound and that there was no foreclosure crisis coming.

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  • Newspaper Offers Needed Correction
    January 16, 2009
    The New York Times offered a needed correction today in regards to a December 25th article, which wrongfully characterized CRL’s work against prepayment penalties and the discussions between Mr. Martin Eakes, CRL’s CEO, and Mr. Herb Sandler. As the correction states, “Mr. Eakes and the Center for Responsible Lending have continued to oppose prepayment penalties generally, on both prime and sub-prime mortgages.”

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  • Minority Lending is Not To Blame For Meltdown
    January 15, 2009
    Despite all evidence otherwise, Wall Street and other interest groups want to blame the Community Reinvestment Act and minority homeownership in general for the current economic meltdown. Here we explore the facts behind the Community Reinvestment Act and its nonexistent role in the subprime loan market and the current economic mess.

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