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Press Releases

June 12, 2007
Put muscle in predatory lending regulations, consumer groups urge Consumer advocates strongly urged the Department of Defense Monday to make significant changes to proposed federal regulations to ensure that predatory lenders can no longer strip earnings from U.S. soldiers and their families. As written, the regulations will leave loopholes large enough for payday, auto title and other predatory lenders to glide through, letting them gouge military borrowers without regard for a pending 36 percent interest rate cap, said the groups in a written response to the Pentagon's request for...
January 25, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC – Banks across the nation are taking advantage of the upward trend in debit card use to make high-cost overdraft loans more common and still costlier, according to a study released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) today. "What banks are calling 'bounce protection' is starting to look more like a 'protection racket,'" said Eric Halperin, director of CRL's Washington office and a co-author of the report. "Banks are raking in fees from unwitting customers who would not overdraft if given a choice." The report, "Debit Card Danger," analyzed the checking...
August 11, 2006
A Defense Department study sent to Congress yesterday shows that Congress must stop predatory lenders from preying on our soldiers, sailors and aviators, said President Michael Calhoun of the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending. The Pentagon report says payday lenders should charge no more than 36 percent annual percentage rates on their loans to service members, the same cap many states impose in their usury laws in order to ban loansharking. The report said these lenders damage morale and hurt our military preparedness. Payday lenders typically require borrowers to endorse a...
July 17, 2006
Martin Eakes, CEO of the Center for Community Self-Help, named Michael D. Calhoun president of the Center for Responsible Lending. Calhoun has lobbied and litigated for poor people and their issues, especially predatory lending, for more than 30 years. Calhoun, formerly general counsel, had been the center's lead lobbyist in Washington and state capitals for years. His acceptance of the post indicates that advancing CRL's issues in Congress and nationwide is becoming increasingly important to the organization, which also does research on predatory lending. Predatory lending occurs in...
April 24, 2006
A nationwide survey shows that low-income people, single people, and many people of color are increasingly turning to borrowing money from financial institutions by over-drawing their checking accounts, racking up interest rates that can exceed 1,000 percent. A telephone survey of 3,310 households done for the Center for Responsible Lending shows that a mere 16 percent of bank customers account for nearly three-quarters of all overdraft loans. In other words, these people are effectively turning to overdraft loans (or "courtesy overdraft protection," as it's often called) as a line-of-...
May 26, 2005
Download the Report High Cost & Hidden from View: The $10 Billion Overdraft Loan Market It is a product many people never asked for, don't want, and can't afford. Yet they wind up with it anyway. It's the overdraft loans that banks and other financial institutions make -- sometimes at interest rates well over 1,000% -- when customers overdraw their accounts. Some customers aren't even told when they're charged the fees, unwittingly racking up charges that exceed the amounts they borrowed. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsible Lending estimates people pay more than...
February 18, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Borrowers who need protection from triple-digit interest rates when they overdraw their bank accounts won't get it from federal regulators, who are asking financial institutions to police themselves. Now it is up to the Federal Reserve Board to provide at least one important protection to borrowers by requiring banks and other financial institutions to disclose the annual percentage rate on these loans. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsible Lending called on the Fed to require banks to disclose interest rates on these loans and on regulators to replace the...
January 28, 2003
DURHAM, NC. -- Calling fee-based overdraft programs now being used by 1,000 banks and other financial institutions "a hidden and unfair tax on the most vulnerable depositors," 54 national advocacy groups -- including the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Consumer Law Center and ACORN -- are calling on the Federal Reserve Board to implement minimum disclosure and consumer protections for fee-based overdraft charges and "free checking" accounts. The Center for Responsible Lending also issued a consumer warning alerting consumers to the...

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