CRL and NCLC Research Reveals Two-Thirds of Navient Borrowers Enrolled in IDRs and Making Voluntary Loan Payments During COVID Student Loan Pause Are Underwater

Washington, D.C. — The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) issued a new joint policy brief revealing that almost two-thirds (63%) of student loan borrowers enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment Plans (IDR) serviced by Navient who made voluntary loan payments during the COVID-19 federal student loan payment pause are underwater—unable to repay even $1 of their original loan balance. Of the borrowers who are underwater, one-third owe more than 125% of their original balance, despite making at least one payment during the payment pause enacted by the

U.S. Department of Education Support of State Student Debt Reforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, The U.S. Department of Education announced its support of state laws and regulations addressing student loan servicing issues . This action reverses and corrects the anti-borrower position of the previous Administration, which attempted to block state governments from protecting their borrowers against predatory behavior by student loan servicers. Center for Responsible Lending Senior Policy Counsel Whitney Barkley-Denney made the following statement: We are pleased the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid office have acknowledged the importance of states

CRL Welcomes Extension of Student Loan Payment Pause While Calling for Debt Cancellation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced its final extension of the federal student loan repayment forbearance, which includes the suspension of interest accrual and collections activity through January 2022. The previous deadline was September 30th, 2021. Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel Ashley Harrington released the following statement: The pandemic-induced economic crisis dealt a body blow to the personal finances of American families, especially for communities of color. The extension of the federal student loan

The Passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Center for Responsible Lending President Mike Calhoun released the following statement on the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: We are saddened by the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The working people of America have lost a fierce human rights and labor activist. Unafraid to speak truth to power, Trumka challenged classism, pushed for economic programs and voting rights bills, challenged corporate America, and demanded change. From his early days as the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America to his days as president of the AFL-CIO

Independence University Hiding Impending Closure from Students and Borrowers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the leadership of Independence University told its faculty the school will close on August 1 in an email that also instructed recipients not to inform students and borrowers of the closure. Independence U. Lays Off Staff, Says Feds Stopped Aid | Republic Report Independence University announced to its staff this week that they would be laid off in the next 60 days because the school lost accreditation and federal funding, but claimed the school would stay open. Enrolling about 7,000 students, it is the last remaining college operated by the Center for Excellence in

U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Establish Strong, Nationwide Interest Rate Cap

CRL to testify in support of legislation at Senate hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) – chairs of the Senate Armed Services and Senate Banking committees respectively – along with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act. The legislation would establish a national 36% annual percentage rate (APR) cap for consumer loans while making clear that it would not interfere with state rate limits lower than that. The bill will be considered

Decrease in California Payday Loan Activity

OAKLAND, CALIF. – California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) this week released a report revealing that the state’s payday lenders made fewer than 6.1 million loans with a value of $1.68 billion in 2020, which represents a 40 percent decline overall and a 30 percent decline in customers from 2019. The decrease can be attributed to several factors, including stimulus checks issued by the federal government, local moratoriums on payments and loan forbearances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline is consistent with trends in other states and other forms of consumer

CRL Welcomes OCC Statement to Rescind Misguided Trump-Era CRA Rule, Commitment to Joint Agency Rulemaking

Washington, D.C. – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) this week announced that it will work to rescind Trump-era rules that weakened the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and that it will work jointly with the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to strengthen and modernize regulations implementing the CRA. The 2020 CRA rule implemented new standards for evaluating bank performance and for collecting, maintaining, and reporting data used in the evaluation process. The framework was controversial from its inception and was adopted without

Diverse Coalition Urges Department of Education to Scrutinize Sale of Walden University

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), New America’s Higher Education Program, and Veterans Education Success (VES) submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education opposing the proposed acquisition of Walden University by Adtalem , a corporation that operates for-profit educational institutions. Adtalem has reached agreement to acquire Walden from another for-profit operator, Laureate Education. The Department gave preliminary approval for the change of ownership

CRL Backs Chairwoman Waters’ Legislative Package to Help Address the Affordable Housing Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) formally introduced three bills to help more people afford to have a roof over their head without sacrificing food, medicine, or other life necessities. The legislative package – the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021, Ending Homelessness Act of 2021, and Housing Is Infrastructure Act of 2021 – has received the endorsement of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). “Chairwoman Waters is a long-time champion of fair and affordable housing. Her proposed legislative package addresses our nation’s