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Press Releases

March 15, 2016
Today, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued new rules to update the certification process for loans backed by the agency. All lenders making FHA-backed loans must certify that each loan has complied with the appropriate rules that serve to protect both consumers and taxpayers. Lenders who violate the rules could face the liability of having to forfeit FHA insurance and buy back any loans they sold under false representations and pay triple damages. Lenders must also get certified to be eligible to offer FHA backed loans. Rules finalized today are for the individual loan...
February 25, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Seventeen consumer and civil rights advocacy groups sent a letter today to investor and auto dealer, Warren Buffett, urging him to help end discriminatory auto lending practices in this country. In 2014, Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway purchased the largest privately-held auto dealership group in the nation, the Van Tuyl Group. The civil rights and consumer groups, which include several of the nation's oldest, largest, and most widely-known civil rights organizations, called Mr. Buffett's attention to the widely documented problem of "racially motivated and...
February 25, 2016
Missouri Attorney General should move to prohibit suing, collecting, or attempting to collect zombie debts. Jefferson City, MO – The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) submitted to the Missouri Attorney General, comments to strengthen proposed reforms aimed to curb predatory debt-collection practices. In its comment, CRL submitted background on debt-collection abuses and provided recommendations to prevent the unfair collection of zombie debts, additional unfair collection activities, and unfair accrual of interest above the usury limit. Unfair debt-collection practices undermine...
February 4, 2016
The CFPB took steps yesterday that underscore the barrier high-cost overdraft programs pose to many consumers, noting that they can lose their bank account as a result excessive fees. The Bureau urged banks to offer and encourage use of accounts with no overdraft fees, noting that while some banks already offer such accounts, many do not. Rachel Anderson, Director of Faith Affairs and the leader of CRL's work on abusive overdraft fees, said: It is difficult to imagine the impact on struggling families who have gained a foothold into the mainstream financial system through access to...
February 3, 2016
In the first week of this year’s Black History Month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it has reached a settlement with Toyota Motor Credit, which will result in the finance company paying up to $21.9 million in restitution to affected borrowers. Toyota Motor Credit’s past practices resulted in thousands of borrowers of color paying higher interest rates than white borrowers. The company will also change its lending practices to reduce discrimination, and submit to additional oversight to monitor for potential future discriminatory impact. CRL Executive Vice...
January 20, 2016
Consumer Advocates Question High Charge-Offs, 200% Interest Rates, and Borrowers’ Ability to Pay Consumer advocates criticized the high interest rates and high charge-offs of Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), the online lender scheduled for the first tech initial public offering of 2016. "Elevate's loans have an average APR of nearly 200%, and a huge number of its borrowers default on their loans," said National Consumer Law Center Associate Director Lauren Saunders. Elevate's net charge-offs were 51% of revenues in 2014, the last full year for which the lender reported data in its SEC...
November 23, 2015
With the right rules in place, predatory lending can be reined in and abuses can be curbed even in the Internet era, according to a policy brief from the Center for Responsible Lending. The study, which looks at the effect of enforcement of state and federal laws, belies the industry’s claim that there are no rules that can stop predatory lenders in the digital age. Contrary to the message from predatory lenders, Attorneys General and other law enforcement leaders should not simply give up. Rather, where proper rules exist, their efforts are preventing the debt trap. Specifically the...
November 20, 2015
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1210. The bill would exempt the nation’s largest banks from rules put in place in response to the economic crisis. Specifically, the bill would give legal protections to any bank that holds any mortgage loan in its portfolio. The bank would receive the legal protections even if it ignored certain best practice underwriting standards and charged the high fees and high interest rates associated with the predatory lending in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. In response to the vote, CRL president Mike Calhoun said:...
November 19, 2015
Bill Creates Obstacles to Enforcing Fair Lending Laws The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to pass H.R. 1737, the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act. The bill requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to rescind its warning to lenders who provide auto loans through dealerships that certain practices risk violating fair lending laws. Auto dealers have discretion to raise the interest rate for which borrowers qualify and then keep some or all of the additional charges. This discretionary mark-up of interest rates has been shown to disproportionately...
November 13, 2015
A new policy brief from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) shows that most consumers would pay lower interest rates if car dealers stopped getting paid through increases in the interest rate. According to industry data, as many as 70% of borrowers would pay a lower interest rate if the car lending industry shifted to a flat fee compensation model. Borrowers of color would likely see the most savings. Car dealers have the ability to increase the interest rate on car loans above that for which the borrower qualifies, and keeps some or all of the difference as compensation. Dealer...

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