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Press Releases

October 21, 2009
Consumer groups strongly support Senator Christopher Dodd for introducing a bill this week that would curb many of the abusive overdraft practices of banks and credit unions. Those practices now strip nearly $24 billion annually from checking accounts, primarily from Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck. The "Fairness and Accountability in Receiving Overdraft Coverage Act" ("FAIR Act") that Dodd has proposed would require financial institutions to obtain explicit permission from all their customers before enrolling them in a system of fee-based overdraft coverage for debit card and ATM...
October 6, 2009
Banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year, an increase of 35 percent from just two years earlier, a new study by the Center for Responsible lending shows. The explosion in overdraft charges has drained the wallet of as many as 51 million Americans whose accounts become overdrawn annually. It is particularly harmful to financially vulnerable families already hit hard by the recession. "Banks and credit unions have become so sophisticated in driving up overdrafts that Americans now pay more in overdraft fees every year than they do for books, cereal...
September 25, 2009
"Americans are fed up with bank overdraft practices. Media scrutiny and proposed legislation in Congress prompted three of the nation's largest banks to unveil changes to their overdraft policies this week. But the changes are far from enough and, in fact, underscore the need for comprehensive overdraft reform as quickly as possible. Only one of the three banks has announced significant improvements: It will stop charging overdraft fees on debit card transactions unless customers have explicitly signed up for that kind of coverage. And it will stop the unfair practice most banks follow of...
September 14, 2009
"On the anniversary of the costliest financial bailout in U.S. history, we back President Obama's renewed call for the creation of a new agency to bring commonsense oversight to the financial services industry and, in the process, protect consumers, taxpayers and the economy from a repeat of the current fiasco. The regulators responsible for making our financial system work have failed. That's clear from widespread foreclosures devastating millions of Americans and surrounding neighborhoods, from unfair bank overdraft fees and credit card practices that cost consumers tens of billions of...
July 13, 2009
A new policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending chronicles the repeated failure of federal bank regulators over the years to rein in irresponsible lending practices. Example after example of regulatory delay or inaction demonstrates the need for a stand-alone, independent regulator focused solely on ensuring basic, common-sense safeguards for consumers. For the full report, please go here. Here are some examples of the regulatory lapses documented by CRL in its policy brief, titled "Neglect and Inaction: An Analysis of Federal Banking Regulators' Failure to Enforce Consumer...
July 10, 2009
During the surge of media attention on today's historic meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama, it is important to note that only days before His Holiness used his own moral authority to express concerns for the current financial crisis. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the Pope speaks to the developments that led to the current global economic crisis, naming badly-managed and short-sighted financial practices among its causes. He urges financiers to "rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity". Pope Benedict's words are...
June 29, 2009
Statement from Michael Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending "Today the Supreme Court announced a decision that will play a major role in how and whether consumer protection laws are enforced. In Andrew Cuomo vs. the Clearing House Association and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the court overturned lower court decisions, determining that states can enforce their own civil rights laws, including pursuing claims against national banks, when necessary, to ensure that banks follow the law. This Supreme Court decision is a victory for taxpayers, who have...
June 24, 2009
Ellen Harnick, Senior Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending contributed this guest post to "The Hearing", a blog of the Washington Post. Over the past decade, federal bank regulators looked the other way as responsible loans were crowded out of the market by aggressively marketed financial products carrying hidden costs and fees. Tricky products, whose most "innovative" feature was their ability to obscure their true cost, led a race to the bottom that stifled innovation of any benefit to consumers. The aggressive marketing of these products caused an enormous loss of...
June 17, 2009
National consumer protection organizations applauded President Obama's proposal to create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ensure the safety, fairness and sustainability of credit. The agency would have broad powers to ensure that credit and payment products do not have predatory or deceptive features that can harm consumers or lock them into unaffordable loans. "The international economic crisis was triggered by the failure of federal regulators to stop abusive lending, particularly in the housing sector," said Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director of the Consumer...
June 17, 2009
"We commend the Administration for its innovative plan for protecting America's families from abusive lending practices, including those that led to the current mortgage crisis, as well as those involving costly overdraft bank fees and other small loans. As our country grapples with the current financial meltdown and its epidemic of foreclosures that have crippled the economy, we must address the regulatory lapses that brought us here. At the same time, we must protect consumers through targeted laws such as the credit card legislation Congress recently passed and the pending legislation...

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