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Press Releases

May 12, 2016
High costs, low graduation rates, and complaints trigger CRL analysis As higher education costs continue to rise, new research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) analyzes the debts and outcomes resulting from a wide-ranging choice of institutions – both public and private nonprofits and for-profit colleges located in North Carolina. NC Student Loan Calculus found that choices in higher education can either be a boost or a burden to students and their families. "When borrowers who attend public and private colleges leave school," states the report, "they can afford to repay...
October 27, 2015
Abusive College-Bank Marketing Agreements to be Reined In Final rules issued today from the Department of Education will protect college students from being pushed into high-fee bank accounts by their colleges, banks and bank affiliates. The rules will ban overdraft and other bank fees on some accounts jointly marketed by these financial entities. It will also require that the accounts be marketed more fairly. Maura Dundon, Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending made the following statement: The new rules will protect students from being steered by their...
September 29, 2015
Yesterday, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Fifth Third Bank will pay $21 million back to consumers as a part of two investigations into the institution’s practices. The bank will pay $18 million to African American and Latino consumers for engaging in auto dealer markups a discriminatory lending practice that resulted in borrowers of color paying more for their car loans. It will also pay $3 million in relief to borrowers affected by deceptive add-on product credit card marketing. Chris Kukla, Senior Vice President and expert on auto lending issues at...
September 29, 2015
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) and Department of Education (DOE) issued a new report on student loan servicing that confirms concerns that the student loan servicing system is both hurting borrowers and taxpayers and in need of swift regulatory reform. Maura Dundon is Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending and an expert on student lending issues. She issued the following statement: This report confirms that student loan servicing is a mess in need of an urgent cleanup. The CFPB should use all available tools, including rulemaking, to...
September 23, 2015
This week, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced the Private Education Loan Refinancing Act of 2015, which would provide relief to students burdened with risky or expensive loans. The bill would create incentives for lenders to work with borrowers to refinance and modify loans to help borrowers avoid default. In the mortgage market, loan modification and refinancing has helped many people avoid foreclosure or save money. There would be no net cost to taxpayers. Maura Dundon, Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, issued the following statement: This...
July 23, 2015
Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a consent order requiring Discover Bank to pay a $2.5 million dollar fine and $16 million in refunds to consumers for illegal student loan servicing practices. The bank overstated the minimum amounts due on billing statements and denied consumers information they needed to obtain federal tax benefits. According to the CFPB, the company also engaged in illegal debt collection tactics. Maura Dundon, an expert on student lending and a Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, gave the following statement...
July 14, 2015
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting feedback on student loan servicing issues. CRL submitted comments to this request for information – comment author Maura Dundon offered the following remarks on student loan servicing issues: Fair student loan servicing is critical to protect borrowers and help them repay their loans successfully. But student loan servicing stands today where mortgage servicing stood over a decade ago: critically important and largely ignored. We have seen that the handling of student loans is rife with...
July 2, 2015
The comment period on the US Department of Education proposed rule governing college-bank marketing partnerships closes on Thursday, July 2. CRL senior policy counsel Maura Dundon submitted comments to the Department and offered the following remarks: The Department of Education's proposed rule governing college-bank partnerships is a good first step towards protecting students from unfair marketing practices and overdraft fees – but more must be done to ensure that federal financial aid disbursement does not become a way to unfairly add to college coffers and bank bottom lines. A...
June 19, 2015
On June 18, the Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a new report on the private student loan industry that sheds light on many troubling servicing practices affecting students and loan co-signers. CRL senior policy counsel Maura Dundon offered the following remarks: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's report confirms what consumers and consumer advocates have known for years: the servicing industry for private student loans is sorely in need of reform. The report reveals an industry plagued by poor customer service, breaches of contract,...
May 28, 2015
Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced an enforcement action against the for-profit trade school Ashworth College. The federal agency charged the Georgia-based online college with misrepresenting their programs, leaving students with educations that could not lead to proper credentials or careers. CRL senior policy counsel Maura Dundon offers the following remarks: The complaint against Ashworth College gets to the heart of the troubling and persistent for-profit schools matter: students were purposefully misled, often through aggressive and deceptive marketing...

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