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 subprime mortgages, and payday, car title, and overdraft loans, and typically involves hidden fees and high interest rates that strip wealth from borrowers.
Calhoun was a principal author of the 1999 landmark North Carolina anti-predatory mortgage lending law. This law was the first of its kind in the country, and served as a model for other state legislatures. The law has made it much harder for predatory lenders to swindle borrowers while ensuring that every North Carolinian who qualifies for a home loan can get a fair one.
Congress is deliberating legislation based on the North Carolina law to curtail predatory lenders nationally. As part of the Defense Authorization bill, Congress is also considering protecting the nation's soldiers, sailors and aviators from the snare of payday lenders, who cluster around military installations offering 400 percent interest rate loans.
"Mike Calhoun's unmatched knowledge of economics, consumer law and community development lending fostered Self-Help's mission over the past decade," said Martin Eakes. "He's a powerful leader with great experience in federal and state policy."
Prior to CRL, Calhoun managed Self-Help's secondary market program and real estate development team. He spent several years in private practice and with North Central Legal Assistance Program (legal services) prior to Self- Help.
His volunteer activity in housing and community development includes advising and representing the Crest St. Community Council for more than 25 years, serving on the finance committee of Durham County Habitat for Humanity, and serving on the boards of Downtown Durham, Inc, and Renaissance Downtown Durham.
He is a graduate of Duke University and UNC School of Law.
Calhoun succeeds Mark Pearce, who recently became North Carolina Deputy Commissioner of Banks.