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Press Releases

June 25, 2008
Both CRL and the American Banker's Association have surveyed accountholders regarding overdraft preferences. CRL's research found that an overwhelming percentage of consumers (80%) would rather have their debit card transaction denied at the counter than be charged an overdraft fee. The ABA's survey concludes most Americans want unexpected overdrafts to be covered for a fee. CRL and the ABA got different answers because they asked the question differently. The ABA's survey question ignored the distinction between paper checks – which, when denied, typically cost consumers a "non-...
June 18, 2008
Americans 55 and over pay $4.5 billion in fees annually for overdraft loans they haven't asked for and typically don't want, a new study by the Center for Responsible Lending finds. Of that, nearly $1 billion is stripped from people heavily dependent on Social Security income. The new report "Shredded Security: Overdraft practices drain fees from older Americans," shows that overdrafts triggered by debit card use hit people at or approaching retirement age hard even though they use plastic less than younger debt-card holders. The cost – $1.65 in fees for every $1 advanced – reinforces CRL'...
June 18, 2008
Thank you for being with us today. I want to thank my co-author on this report, Peter Smith, who is also a researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending Our nation is in a crisis of debt that reaches beyond the foreclosure epidemic and deep into the pockets of Americans who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Banks and Credit Unions compound this problem through a problematic practice that strips billions in fees for a so-called service that their customers don't ask for and typically don't want. Today, consumers are typically enrolled automatically into their bank's most expensive...
May 2, 2008
New rules on overdraft practices proposed by federal banking regulators represent a significant acknowledgment that something is wrong with the banking system in the U.S., consumer groups said. Unfortunately, the proposed rules will largely fail to protect the billions of dollars in funds stripped from American bank accounts through excessive overdraft fees every year. Representatives from the Consumer Federation of America, Center for Responsible Lending, Consumers Union, U.S. PIRG, and the National Consumer Law Center are disappointed with new proposals issued by the Office of Thrift...
September 24, 2007
Good morning, I'm Eric Halperin, director of the Center for Responsible Lending's Washington office. I appreciate Congresswoman Maloney's invitation to join her this morning as CRL releases new findings in our ongoing investigation of overdraft lending. Our new report, "Billion Dollar Deal," finds that abusive overdraft loans are draining the checking accounts of young adults to the tune of nearly $1 billion per year. Colleges and universities are contributing to this problem by making deals that give a single bank exclusive access to their students without insisting on protections that...
September 24, 2007
Millions of college students and other young adults aged 18 to 24 have become unwitting participants in overdraft loans that cost them nearly $1 billion a year in fees, a report released today by the nonprofit research group, Center for Responsible Lending, finds. The report, "Billion Dollar Deal," says this age group -- which has been dubbed the "plastic generation" because of their reliance on debit and credit cards – pays over $3 in fees for every $1 borrowed in the form of a debit card overdraft. The resulting billion dollar bonanza for lenders -- often on small-purchase items such as...
July 11, 2007
U.S. banks and credit unions are using abusive overdraft loans to generate $17.5 billion in fees each year, according to a major new study, entitled "Out of Balance," from the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). The study finds that financial institutions are deliberately using overdraft systems that are designed to generate more overdrafts from customers, resulting in enormous fees for banks and credit unions. "Some of our largest financial institutions are hiding behind a smokescreen of misleading terms and murky practices that encourage costly overdrafts," said Eric Halperin...
June 12, 2007
Put muscle in predatory lending regulations, consumer groups urge Consumer advocates strongly urged the Department of Defense Monday to make significant changes to proposed federal regulations to ensure that predatory lenders can no longer strip earnings from U.S. soldiers and their families. As written, the regulations will leave loopholes large enough for payday, auto title and other predatory lenders to glide through, letting them gouge military borrowers without regard for a pending 36 percent interest rate cap, said the groups in a written response to the Pentagon's request for...
January 25, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC – Banks across the nation are taking advantage of the upward trend in debit card use to make high-cost overdraft loans more common and still costlier, according to a study released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) today. "What banks are calling 'bounce protection' is starting to look more like a 'protection racket,'" said Eric Halperin, director of CRL's Washington office and a co-author of the report. "Banks are raking in fees from unwitting customers who would not overdraft if given a choice." The report, "Debit Card Danger," analyzed the checking...
August 11, 2006
A Defense Department study sent to Congress yesterday shows that Congress must stop predatory lenders from preying on our soldiers, sailors and aviators, said President Michael Calhoun of the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending. The Pentagon report says payday lenders should charge no more than 36 percent annual percentage rates on their loans to service members, the same cap many states impose in their usury laws in order to ban loansharking. The report said these lenders damage morale and hurt our military preparedness. Payday lenders typically require borrowers to endorse a...

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