CRL in the News
Chris Kukla of the Center for Responsible Lending says Cooper’s office has been a model for other states’ financial regulation. "Over last 10 years, I can’t think of a significant consumer protection area in financial services his office hasn’t been involved in,” Kukla said.
Many Floridians who struggle to pay their bills resort to payday loans: small-dollar, high-cost cash advances that borrowers promise to repay out of their next pay check. Lower-income borrowers often wind up trapped in a cycle of debt, taking out a string of payday loans, paying high fees with each one and falling further behind financially. Payday lenders have collected more than $2.5 billion in fees from Floridians since 2005, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending.
Students who receive the Federal Stafford Loan can borrow up to $5,500 annually from the U.S. Department of Education for tuition, books and other related expenses. The loan can be repaid during the time a student is enrolled or it can be deferred, depending on several factors. The loan could even be forgiven if the student enters certain professions, dies or suffers an injury or disability.
Payday loans are a bad idea. They should be considered "predatory loans" because too often they lead to a form of servitude for people who get trapped in excessive debt nearly impossible to repay.
“Subprime lending is inherently more expensive; it is not uncommon to see auto loan interest rates of between 25 to just shy of 30 percent,” says Chris Kukla, EVP of the Center for Responsible Lending. Unfortunately, that’s only part of the problem, as many extras are often packed on top of an inflated vehicle price.
Some consumer advocates are skeptical that banks will ever put a lot of marketing muscle behind overdraft-free accounts, as long as those options are being offered alongside more profitable accounts that do allow for overdrafts. "There's just not a lot of incentives for banks to put customers in those accounts," said Rebecca Borne, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.
Here in Virginia, car-title lenders offer loans at more than 200% interest and often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. In the last four years, the number of cars that have been repossessed has increased 144%. And the number of people missing monthly payments has increased 273%. So what’s the best way for the government to respond? One approach would be to limit the monthly installments to five percent of a person’s income.
The list of regressive new laws enacted in North Carolina in recent years is a long and sobering one. In area after area, state leaders have pushed an agenda that has dis-invested in essential public services and structures, promoted discrimination, laid waste to the natural environment and expanded economic stagnation and inequality.
In 2016, recent reports of job growth are encouraging to learn. Yet these and other economic measures have yet to lessen the economic anxiety faced by so many California families. Struggles to make financial ends meet are particularly prominent for people of color.
The Community Reinvestment Act has been noticeably absent from both parties' rhetoric this campaign season, despite income inequality and the banking industry being so high up among their priorities. Building on the CRA would be a logical place to start to address income inequality, says Nikitra Bailey, who oversees coalition building and constituent services at the Center for Responsible Lending, but many believe the law is outdated.