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Press Releases

April 21, 2015
According to a new Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) analysis, federal and state regulator investigations into debt buyers and debt collectors have revealed a widespread pattern of abuses prevalent within the industry that should be addressed by lawmakers. As a result of recent investigations, debt collectors have been forced to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines for multiple counts of illegal activity. The report comes as several state legislatures are considering legislation to put in place new rules-of-the-road for debt collectors to protect consumers. "People should not be...
September 11, 2014
In a letter sent today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) along with several other groups - Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, District of Columbia Consumer Rights Coalition, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumers League, and U.S. PIRG - asked Councilmember Vincent Orange, the Chair of the Council's Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, to schedule a hearing and committee markup on legislation designed to protect consumers from unscrupulous debt buyers' abusive collection tactics. The group also urged other members...
August 12, 2014
Civil rights, consumer, and community groups lauded the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for issuing strong guidance this week regarding banks' selling of charged-off consumer debts to debt buyers. The groups urged the agency to also take the next step and issue strong regulations to ensure that national banks do not continue to facilitate unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices. "This guidance is one of the first actions taken by a federal regulator to address the way banks sell off their old debt," said Lisa Stifler of the Center for Responsible Lending...
July 30, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 13 state attorneys general issued an enforcement action against Colfax Capital Corporation and Culver Capital, LLC, known as Rome Finance, for targeting servicemembers and consumers with expensive debt that was not properly disclosed and for attempting to collect illegal debts. The Consumer Federation of America, Americans for Financial Reform, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Center for Responsible Lending, and the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) issue the...
June 30, 2014
A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) finds that the debt settlement remains a risky strategy for debt reduction – and often leaves consumers more financially vulnerable. Debt settlement companies offer the promise of settling a consumer's debt for a fraction of what they owe. The idea is simple: debt settlement companies offer to negotiate down the outstanding debt (usually from credit cards) owed to a more manageable amount so that a consumer can become debt free. Unfortunately debt settlement carries significant risks that may result in consumers becoming even worse...
June 24, 2014
Operation Choke Point Protects American Businesses, Consumers On Tuesday, the Senate will consider an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for a Department of Justice program called "Operation Chokepoint." Center for Responsible Lending president Mike Calhoun responds: It's clear that the mythology that Operation Chokepoint detractors have been marketing has reached our nation's lawmakers and legislators. Despite what critics claim, Operation Chokepoint is a critical program that protects American businesses and consumers. This...
April 30, 2014
A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) finds that the debt buying and debt collection industries have grown rapidly in recent years – and with them, a suite of predatory and abusive collection practices that could cause consumers financial havoc. Today, one in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector. Despite their recent growth, the debt buying and collection industries are still largely unregulated; this allows debt buyers and collectors to take advantage of financially-distressed consumers and extract billions of dollars in judgments for debts that...
November 19, 2013
Debt settlement[1] programs too often are not the solution they are marketed to be, according to new CRL research. Debt settlement companies promote their programs as a way for debt-strapped consumers to become debt-free while paying a fraction of what they owe their creditors. However, CRL's new research report, A Roll of the Dice: Debt Settlement Still a Risky Strategy for Debt-Burdened Households, shows that debt settlement program participants may be left in a worse financial position than where they started and, furthermore, have no way to assess their likelihood of success before...
November 8, 2013
Quietly and unexpectedly, the Massachusetts House passed HB 3569 via a voice vote on Wednesday. Yesterday, nearly two dozen consumer protection experts and community groups working to stop predatory lending in Massachusetts issued a major sign-on letter raising concerns about HB 3569 advancing further in the State legislature. The coalition letter is available online here. The troublesome legislation would reverse a long-standing statewide policy against for-profit debt relief services (including debt settlement) and allow providers to charge unlimited fees. The groups contend that the...
March 7, 2011
Oakland, Calif.--Californians struggling to overcome heavy debt will have greater protections and greater success if a bill by State Sen. Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) becomes law. Debt settlement companies advertise prominently on radio and television that they will reduce debts for pennies on the dollar, aiming to attract consumers dealing with overwhelming debt loads. Yet they typically collect large sums of their clients' money up-front, have a track record of settling very little debt, and often leave clients worse off than they were before. "Many Californians are...

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