When Debt Settlement Leads to Financial Harm

Rochelle Sparko | AARP
Seventy-five-year-old Army veteran Lester Rodgers, Jr. lives in Chatham County on a fixed income. When his wife passed away, he worried that he would not have enough money to keep his home. Lester saw a TV ad from Themis Law, PLLC, which claimed to be a national law firm located in Washington, D.C. with expertise in saving peoples’ homes. In reality, Themis is a debt settlement company operated by the founder from his home.

House GOP Rebuked for 'Cruel and Reckless' Effort to Reverse Student Debt Relief

Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams
Another letter signatory, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), called out the GOP-led effort just ahead of the vote Wednesday. "This is yet another political stunt from some members of Congress to prevent tens of millions of borrowers, including low-wealth individuals, service members, public service workers, women, and people of color from receiving relief ahead of the Supreme Court's decision regarding the fate of student debt cancellation, said Jaylon Herbin, CRL's director of federal campaigns.

Debt Firm’s Flameout A Cautionary Tale For Consumers

Daniel Connolly | Law360
Rochelle Sparko is a credit repair expert with the Center for Responsible Lending. She reviewed Litigation Practice Group's website and noticed a blog post that provided a general overview of debt relief programs. It said these programs lead to "ceasing of collection activity." "That's just a lie," Sparko said. "I mean, there is nothing that stops debt collection efforts other than a bankruptcy."

State efforts to regulate earned wage access are heating up

Miriam Cross | American Banker
Yasmin Farahi, deputy director of state policy at the Center for Responsible Lending, agrees. "A lot of the bills look similar and have been drafted off the same model bill," she said. "It's important that a regulatory regime treats [these services] as loans and there are appropriate consumer protections that go along with other loan products."

FHFA drops debt-to-income based pricing adjustment

Brad Finkelstein | National Mortgage News
Using DTI "can unfairly penalize lower-wealth but purchase-ready Black and Latino borrowers, which perpetuates the racial homeownership gap," according to a statement from Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending. "We look forward to providing input to the agency on a process for setting single-family guarantee fees that will help eliminate barriers that prevent low-wealth borrowers from purchasing a home, while ensuring the housing Enterprises remain appropriately capitalized."

Why Republicans Are Upset About Mortgage Fees

“People are focused on the changes to the fees rather than the resulting fees,” said Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, a Durham, North Carolina-based nonprofit research and policy organization. Calhoun noted that borrowers making low down payments face even higher costs, because they’re required to pay for private mortgage insurance if their down payments amount to less than 20% of the value of their home purchase — a fact Republicans have ignored. “They’re tossing things up against the wall and when you dig into it, there’s no there there,” Calhoun said. “In

Fintech’s Latest Scheme

Jaron Facundo | The American Prospect
The fintech industry’s maneuvering could circumvent strong state-level protections for interest on consumer loans. For example, Vermont caps single-loan interest rates at 18 percent. Monica Burks from the Center for Responsible Lending testified before lawmakers over a bill that would carve out EWA products from the 18 percent limit. Referring to EarnIn’s tipping model and expedited service fees, she said, “This is actually strong evidence that their business model depends on loans for which the true cost is often going to be higher than advertised or disclosed, with an APR that would well