On Monday, May 11, 2015, Mitria Wilson, CRL vice president for government affairs, joined a congressional forum examining how mainstream financial service providers were not fully meeting the needs of many in the middle class – and many who aspire to it – for basic banking services like check cashing services and small dollar loans. The panel explored how this market is often filled by "alternative" financial service providers that sometimes employ predatory practices to trap consumers in a cycle of high fees and debt. Mitria and other panelists discussed steps to protect vulnerable communities from being further victimized.

Coming in the wake of the recent unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, Monday's forum renewed attention to the lack of economic opportunities and financial services in many urban areas and communities of color.

The discussion, "Access and Opportunity: Predatory Financial Practices and Economic Injustice," took place in Baltimore, at the Ceremonial Courtroom of the University of Maryland's Carey School of Law, from 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.

It was the fifth in a series sponsored by The Middle Class Prosperity Project, a collaborative effort by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to focus greater congressional and public attention on the challenges facing the middle class, and to formulate and implement concrete policy changes in order to address these challenges. Previous forums have examined the stagnation in middle class wages, the conflicts of interest in financial retirement advice, and student debt.

More details can be found at http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/cummings-and-warren-to-hold-middle-class-prosperity-project-forum-in-baltimore

For more information, contact Millree Williams, at millree.williams@responsiblelending.org, or 202.349.1884.

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