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Press Releases

February 11, 2011
  Related: Wall Street, Not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Led the Toxic Market   While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need serious reform, we must get these reforms right. Among the Administration's several proposals, only one—the one that maintains a limited role for the GSEs—even has potential for ensuring all families have access to home loans and achieving stability in the housing market. Completely throwing out a mortgage finance system that worked well for decades carries enormous risks, including these: Loss of family wealth and less economic security. The...
January 27, 2011
The Financial Crisis Inquiry report rejects the notion that the financial crisis was inevitable. Instead, based on extensive evidence and 19 days of public hearings, the report points squarely at preventable actions and inactions by the "captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system." Aided by oversight that was weak and permissive, the reckless practices of Wall Street dragged the entire economy down an irresponsible path, though other roads could have been taken. The good news is that the financial reform bill passed by Congress last summer provides strong tools to...
December 28, 2010
Washington, D.C.--- Proposed changes to home lending rules from the Federal Reserve Board not only exceed its authority, but could actually encourage predatory lending targeted at the elderly. In response to the flawed proposals, the Center for Responsible Lending, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the California Reinvestment Coalition, the National Fair Housing Alliance and others have urged the Federal Reserve Board to withdraw its proposed regulations under the Truth in Lending Act [Regulation Z;...
December 9, 2010
The Department of Justice $2 million settlement with PrimeLending spotlights serious problems on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The case found inconsistent and abusive pricing on loans to African-American borrowers, revealing that it's far too easy for lenders making government-backed loans to overcharge home buyers. (For the DOJ announcement, go to http://bit.ly/gINlMk.) The FHA insures mortgages that meet specific risk criteria, but the rules on how much lenders can charge remain loose. The result is that equally qualified borrowers have been charged...
November 24, 2010
Statement by CRL President Mike Calhoun: "Today the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. set a standard other regulators should follow when it issued guidelines advising banks to stop reordering transactions to maximize overdraft fees, particularly on debit cards. Unfair transaction posting—especially the practice of reordering checks and debit card transactions to deduct the largest checks and charges first—significantly increases the number of overdraft fees customers are charged. Customers are charged a separate fee—usually about $35 per item-for each charge that is posted to an overdrawn...
November 3, 2010
Montana yesterday became the third state in two years to reject payday loans carrying triple-digit interest rates. Citizens in the state overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to limit annual interest rates on small consumer loans to 36 percent. With nearly all precincts counted, 72 percent of voters backed the measure, thus rejecting industry arguments intended to conceal that payday lenders' profits depend on churning— trapping borrowers in a cycle of repeat loans that generate mounting fees and interest charges. Nationally, the average payday borrower takes out nine loans each year,...
October 25, 2010
Credit card offers have grown increasingly complicated since 2000, when Congress required issuers to start disclosing pricing information on credit card offers. But instead of providing clarity to consumers about the true cost of their credit cards, issuers responded to this mandate by adding a confusing array of numbers to their offers, new CRL research finds. To see the full report, go to http://www.responsiblelending.org/research-publication/numbers-game-true-cost-credit-card-mail-offers Specifically, CRL's research finds that the total count of numeric disclosures in credit card...
October 15, 2010
The American Bankers Association and industry consultants claim surveys show customers have "opted in" to high-fee debit card overdraft coverage because they want this service. But these surveys likely only show the success of aggressive, deceptive marketing campaigns to steer customers into bad products, not true customer preference. Industry-sponsored survey results would be more credible if banks and credit unions actually gave customers the information they need to make informed choices. But instead, too many banks and credit unions do the following: Do NOT tell customers they...
October 13, 2010
The Honorable John Walsh Acting Comptroller Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 250 E Street, SW Washington, DC 20219-001 Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh: As banks continue their campaigns to persuade consumers to agree to pay steep fees for debit card overdrafts, we urge the Office of Comptroller of the Currency to adopt stricter guidance that effectively requires banks to use fair overdraft practices and fully inform consumers. In the past several months, our organizations filed comments in dockets opened by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)[i] and the FDIC[ii] to update and...
October 10, 2010
USA Today Op-Ed By Julia Gordon, CRL Senior Policy Counseljulia.gordon@responsiblelending.org 202-349-1878 For years, mortgage loan servicing companies have engaged in shoddy business practices, ranging from misapplied payments to evicting homeowners who have never missed a payment. Now employees of these companies have admitted to falsifying thousands upon thousands of affidavits used to toss families out of their homes. The fraudulent documents indicate a problem well beyond the "technical glitches" that the industry describes. If servicers had accurate records, there would be no...

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