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Press Releases

October 24, 2007
We commend Chairman Frank and Representatives Watt and Miller for taking the lead in addressing the underlying problems that have led to the escalating foreclosure crisis in this country. Banning prepayment penalties in the subprime mortgage market, requiring lenders to assess each borrower's ability to repay, and eliminating the bonuses lenders now pay to brokers to put people in more expensive loans than those for which they qualify would go a long way to protecting families from the deceptive and abusive loans that ultimately lead to a decline in home ownership. We are glad the...
October 12, 2007
As the nation's foreclosure epidemic continues to worsen, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has formed the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance (IFLA) to support groups giving legal representation to families facing foreclosure and financial ruin because of abusive subprime mortgages. The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) will manage the project, which recognizes that one of the biggest barriers families face to avoid losing their homes is the lack of access to quality legal services. The Institute, launched with a $15 million grant from investment management...
October 3, 2007
We're glad leading members of Congress want to provide more legal and counseling help to the millions of families who have or will lose their homes to foreclosure because of reckless subprime lenders. Congress also must act quickly to change the bankruptcy code to allow judges to modify home loans on primary residences. Right now the code makes the family home the only asset the courts can't save from foreclosure, even though vacation and investment homes, family farms and commercial real estate can be protected. The change would help an estimated 600,000 families who face imminent danger...
September 27, 2007
As U.S. soldiers face continuing demands in the call to protect their country, starting October 1 they gain an extra measure of protection from a lingering financial threat to their own families. The federal Military Lending Act will take effect Monday, and will bar predatory lenders from gouging military families with payday loans that trap borrowers in debt and typically carry 400 percent annual interest rates. The new law caps interest at 36 percent for the certain payday, auto title, and refund anticipation loans made to military families. "The 36 percent cap will slow the predatory...
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...
September 18, 2007
In a powerful move to protect Washington, DC citizens from predatory payday lenders, the District of Columbia Council removed an exemption from the District's 24 percent cap on annual interest for consumer loans today. The vote is likely to encourage other states to pass interest rate caps to stop predatory payday lending—industry-supported measures have failed to control loan flipping in states where a usury cap is not enforced. The Council vote reversed an exemption passed in 1998, which allowed payday lenders to charge interest rates of 350 to 550 percent and authorized their...
September 12, 2007
Today the Federal Reserve Board issued a bulletin with its preliminary report on 2006 data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). We have not yet conducted a full analysis of the Board's report, but an initial review finds that, once again, African American and Latino families receive a disproportionate share of higher-cost, subprime home loans. "Higher-cost" loans have propelled the current foreclosure crisis, which has revealed that lenders have made subprime loans far too often with reckless disregard for affordability, while packing these loans with exploding...
September 6, 2007
Predatory lenders could easily tweak their loan terms to dodge new Pentagon rules released Friday, said national consumer advocates. By narrowly defining problem loans, the Pentagon's final rules of implementation weaken a federal law enacted to protect military families from abusive financial practices. "Perhaps unintentionally, the Pentagon has provided predatory lenders with a set of very specific instructions: 'How to avoid the cap and keep charging 400 percent interest,'" said Lauren Saunders, managing attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.The Military Lending Act passed by...
September 6, 2007
The 2nd Quarter National Delinquency Survey, released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), shows that mortgage loans entering foreclosure have increased in 47 states since this time last year. On average, the increases were 50% higher. Only four states-- North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming—did not experience increases in new foreclosures. Less than two percent of the American population lives in those states. When releasing the survey today, the MBA downplayed new foreclosures by focusing only on changes between the last two quarters. "Any minor changes from one...

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