Biden administration cancels $5.8B in student loan debt

Kelsey Ramirez | Fox Business
"We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris for this move," Whitney Barkley, the Center for Responsible Lending's senior policy counsel, said. "Tens of thousands of former Corinthian students who had been defrauded by their school, and left wondering for years how they’d recover the money they lost, are now at ease. The administration now needs to immediately cancel $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower and abandon its piecemeal approach to cancellation. "While historic, the relief provided to Corinthian students represents only a tiny fraction of students who need cancellation,"

Why Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Are Still Risky

Ann Carrns | The New York Times
ARMs haven’t been much in demand in recent years because rates on predictable, fixed-rate mortgages remained low. They also earned a bad reputation in the financial crisis, when underqualified borrowers lured in by the initially low interest rates were unable to keep up payments when they rose. Laws passed after the financial crisis made ARMs “much safer and more transparent than they used to be,” said Eric Stein, senior vice president at the Center for Responsible Lending.

Louisiana governor vetoes bill to allow high-cost installment loans

Polo Rocha | American Banker
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed a bill that would have allowed consumer lenders to offer short-term installment loans with triple-digit interest rates. The bill sought to establish a new type of consumer loan of up to $1,500 and with a term of between 90 days and one year. Edwards, a Democrat, objected to the prices that the measure would have allowed lenders to charge.

Loan Company and Utah-Based Bank Allegedly Charged Military Borrowers Illegally High Interest Rates

Patricia Kime |
Such rates are illegal in most states for lenders that aren't banks, but EasyPay issues the loans through Transportation Alliance, allowing them to be classified as bank loans, a practice known as "rent-a-bank," according to a coalition of advocacy groups, including the National Consumer Law Center, the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Military Family Association.

The lack of small-dollar mortgages is preventing Americans from purchasing affordable homes

Nathaniel Lee | CNBC
High home prices aren’t the only reason behind dwindling homeownership in the U.S. Banks and financial institutions aren’t issuing enough small-dollar mortgages that help families with modest incomes to purchase a property. “It is particularly hard for people who are buying smaller houses with smaller mortgages to find a lender and to get that mortgage,” said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending. “And they also surprisingly are more expensive.”

Would you tip a payday lender? A new cash app relies on a controversial business model

Laurence Darmiento | Los Angeles Times
That less-than-personal touch has given ammunition to critics, who say deceptive interfaces and bogus promotions of “community” are used by cash-advance apps to persuade customers to tip the businesses as if they are Uber drivers. “It’s a bad incentive structure that simply seeks to kind of shroud these fees and the actual cost of the service of the loan from consumers,” says Peter Smith, a senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending. “These are highly capitalized entities that are seeking to make money in a way that sometimes is fairly shrouded from the consumer.”

Cutting overdraft fees could save Americans $17 billion a year—but banks are slow to make changes

Megan Leonhardt | Fortune
“It's great that a lot of large financial institutions are making a move away from fee-based overdraft for their customers,” says Peter Smith, a senior researcher for the left-leaning Center for Responsible Lending who’s focused on overdraft practices. But Smith doesn’t see a few large banks changing their fees as sufficient. Especially given that nearly 18% of consumers with a bank account reported overdrafting in December, according to a survey from Morning Consult.

Should you keep up payments during the federal student-loan freeze? Experts weigh in

Jessica Dickler | CNBC
“It really does shift the onus on the president to make his plans clear sooner rather than later,” said Whitney Barkley-Denney, a senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. “There’s a time crunch here,” Barkley-Denney said. “People need to make plans for how they are going to handle this loan debt going forward.”

Consumer Advocates: Regulate Income Share Agreements Like Loans

Matthew Arrojas | Best Colleges
Reclassification could lead to more stringent oversight and prevent predatory practices involving ISAs, said Whitney Barkley-Denney, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. "If you give money to someone with expectations that you will pay them back," she said, "that's a loan."

New Research Champions Student Debt Cancellation to Unburden Borrowers of Color

Tanya Christian | Ebony
“Once again, Americans who work, pay taxes and tried to do the right thing have been used as cash cows to enrich unaccountable investors and corporate executives,” says Jaylon Herbin, student loan outreach and policy manager at CRL. “The true victims of these abusive loan schemes deserve to have this government-imposed weight removed from their shoulders.”