CRL in the News
Advocates at a forum hosted by the Center for Responsible Lending spoke of challenges that minority borrowers face. While fintech has some promise, there is no easy solution.
On the other hand, when someone is released from prison and given a prepaid card, that person’s identity is already established. Forcing that person to sit on hold or go to a website to register the card makes no sense, and we pointed this out in comments we filed this week with the CFPB. Our concerns were echoed in a comment submitted jointly by the Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, the National Consumer Law Center, U.S.
“The CFPB was making tremendous progress catching up on several decades of neglect for consumer protections and it was improving financial markets in important ways,” said Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending. “There’s certainly a large risk that parts of that will be rolled back and that progress will be slowed or stopped — and that’s a huge loss.”
The American Dream offers each new generation the opportunity to build on the successes of previous ones. However, if you are African-American, the nation’s history of enslavement and legal bigotry consistently requires each generation to start anew. Inclusive admissions in our nation’s colleges and universities level the playing field for those who would otherwise be denied a point of entry.
Until 2013, a handful of banks were siphoning millions of dollars annually from customer accounts through “direct deposit advance” — products that carried average annualized interest rates of up to 300%. Like storefront payday loans, deposit advance was marketed as an occasional bridge to a consumer’s next payday. But also like storefront payday loans, these bank products trapped borrowers in long-term, debilitating debt.
Financial institutions charge large fees when a customer’s checking account doesn’t have enough money for a purchase but the bank pays the transaction anyway. Instead of declining the transaction, as many customers expect banks would, the bank often “covers” the amount and adds a fee, typically as high as $35. This practice is particularly egregious on debit card transactions, which the bank could easily decline at the point of sale, which would result in the consumer’s paying no fee at all.
North Carolinians need to know that when protections for our citizens and military members from predatory lending was in jeopardy, Congressman Walter Jones was there.
In that environment, states, beginning with Connecticut in 2015, started enacting legislation requiring servicers to abide by certain consumer protections. That effort has picked up over the past several months as borrower advocates grow increasingly concerned that Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education will do little to protect borrowers from mistreatment at the hands of servicers.
Ashley Harrington, counsel for the center, says DeVos and the department haven’t been advocates for students. "These Attorneys General are setting an example of what it means to stand up for struggling students," she says in a statement. "The premise of the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule is simple – students defrauded by their schools should be able to have their loans discharged. Secretary DeVos has consistently sided with private interests, often at the expense of student borrowers across the country."
That change and Navient's lobbying against state licensing efforts are drawing concern from consumer advocacy groups, who point to federal scrutiny over Navient and President Donald Trump's administration's moves to change regulations protecting borrowers. "From our perspective, that's going to require more state oversight," said Whitney Barkley-Denney, from the Center for Responsible Lending. "One servicer creates a too-big-to-fail environment where it's a state-created monopoly for student loan servicing."