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Congressional Members, Media Briefed on Auto Lending Abuses

Friday, May 23, 2014

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On May 22, 2014, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), in partnership with other civil and consumer rights advocates, briefed Members of Congress, their legislative staffs, media and members of the public on its research on the auto lending abuses that affect communities of color, low–wealth and the military. The briefing, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-30th/TX), took place in the House Transportation Committee room, at 2 pm.

The panel discussion, moderated by Kenneth W. Edwards, CRL's VP for Federal Affairs, and featured presentations by CRL's Chris Kukla, VP/State Policy; Hilary Shelton, NAACP DC Bureau Director; Enrique Lopezlira, Senior Policy Advisor, National Council of La Raza; and Michael Archer, Officer-in-Charge, Legal Assistance - Marine Corps Installations East.

Few household transactions are as significant, or as large, as the purchase of a family car. Recently, federal regulators have shone a spotlight on potential discrimination in car lending. The discussion will focused special attention on the practice of car dealer interest rate markups – where dealers are given discretion to increase the interest rate for compensation. This practice, which only a few consumers know exists, is cited as the reason for that discrimination. Research conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending shows that for those who bought cars in 2009, those consumers will pay $25.8 billion of additional interest over the lives of their loans to pay that compensation.

Representatives Hank Johnson (D-4th/GA), Tony Cardenas (D-29th/CA), and Steven Horsford (D-4th/NV) discussed the negative impacts of abusive auto lending practices and offered support for eliminating them. Cardenas also took several questions.

Civil rights and consumer advocates discussed the depth and extent of auto lending abuses, including those communities disproportionately affected and the financial toll the abuse takes on families. The panelists also discussed the regulatory landscape, and helped dispel some of the myths about auto finance.

The event included a Q+A session, as well as discussions on regulatory solutions to mitigate and eliminate the impact.

For more information, contact Millree Williams, at, or 202.349.1884.