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Press Releases

August 4, 2009
The report card issued by the Treasury Department today shows that financial companies deserve a failing grade in their voluntary efforts to modify home loans to help restore the U.S. economy. The results reveal that only 15 of every 100 families who are eligible for a modification of their mortgage have been offered one. That's 85 distressed families left with the prospect of losing their home for every 15 offered a helping hand. We applaud the Obama administration for providing data from individual loan-servicing companies to shed greater light on how tax dollars are being spent. This...
July 28, 2009
As the Treasury Department urges mortgage servicing companies to step up their efforts to stop foreclosures, the latest available figures show that the number of households at risk of foreclosure is seven times the number of loan modifications, and the gap has increased steadily for the past year. Visit the CRL web site for more information on how foreclosures continue to dwarf modifications. Although loan modifications are up from very low levels last year, the rapid growth of serious delinquencies and new foreclosure starts is swallowing modest gains in efforts by loan companies to...
July 23, 2009
Today the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) issued proposed rules that hold great promise for eliminating abusive and unfair practices that have become commonplace in the mortgage industry. If fully implemented, these rules could remove perverse incentives that now encourage mortgage brokers and lenders to routinely overcharge on mortgages, particularly higher-cost mortgages. Under the proposed rules, brokers and loan officers could no longer get paid more for placing people in more expensive loans. Kickbacks—known as yield-spread premiums (YSPs)—would be completely banned. This...
July 13, 2009
A new policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending chronicles the repeated failure of federal bank regulators over the years to rein in irresponsible lending practices. Example after example of regulatory delay or inaction demonstrates the need for a stand-alone, independent regulator focused solely on ensuring basic, common-sense safeguards for consumers. For the full report, please go here. Here are some examples of the regulatory lapses documented by CRL in its policy brief, titled "Neglect and Inaction: An Analysis of Federal Banking Regulators' Failure to Enforce Consumer...
July 10, 2009
During the surge of media attention on today's historic meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama, it is important to note that only days before His Holiness used his own moral authority to express concerns for the current financial crisis. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the Pope speaks to the developments that led to the current global economic crisis, naming badly-managed and short-sighted financial practices among its causes. He urges financiers to "rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity". Pope Benedict's words are...
June 29, 2009
Statement from Michael Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending "Today the Supreme Court announced a decision that will play a major role in how and whether consumer protection laws are enforced. In Andrew Cuomo vs. the Clearing House Association and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the court overturned lower court decisions, determining that states can enforce their own civil rights laws, including pursuing claims against national banks, when necessary, to ensure that banks follow the law. This Supreme Court decision is a victory for taxpayers, who have...
June 24, 2009
Ellen Harnick, Senior Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending contributed this guest post to "The Hearing", a blog of the Washington Post. Over the past decade, federal bank regulators looked the other way as responsible loans were crowded out of the market by aggressively marketed financial products carrying hidden costs and fees. Tricky products, whose most "innovative" feature was their ability to obscure their true cost, led a race to the bottom that stifled innovation of any benefit to consumers. The aggressive marketing of these products caused an enormous loss of...
June 17, 2009
National consumer protection organizations applauded President Obama's proposal to create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ensure the safety, fairness and sustainability of credit. The agency would have broad powers to ensure that credit and payment products do not have predatory or deceptive features that can harm consumers or lock them into unaffordable loans. "The international economic crisis was triggered by the failure of federal regulators to stop abusive lending, particularly in the housing sector," said Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director of the Consumer...
June 17, 2009
"We commend the Administration for its innovative plan for protecting America's families from abusive lending practices, including those that led to the current mortgage crisis, as well as those involving costly overdraft bank fees and other small loans. As our country grapples with the current financial meltdown and its epidemic of foreclosures that have crippled the economy, we must address the regulatory lapses that brought us here. At the same time, we must protect consumers through targeted laws such as the credit card legislation Congress recently passed and the pending legislation...
June 1, 2009
A dismal milestone was reached over the weekend: One million new foreclosures have been filed so far in 2009, according to estimates by the Center for Responsible Lending. This comes on the heels of a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the first quarter 2009 National Delinquency Survey, showing that 12% of all mortgages are now delinquent—the highest level since the MBA started measuring 37 years ago. "The escalation of foreclosures on all types of loans is alarming," said Michael Calhoun, President of CRL. "It's easy to think, "Well, that's tough luck for the...

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