Study: Predatory Lending in Maine is Growing

Augusta, ME - Predatory lending practices cost Mainers at least $23 million a year, say Coastal Enterprises Inc. and the Center for Responsible Lending in the first comprehensive study of predatory lending in Maine. These predatory practices endanger the homes and financial security of some of Maine's most vulnerable citizens. Based on the findings of the report, approximately 1,000 families are affected each year by these practices. "Our findings are not about Maine banks and credit unions which serve our communities," said Ron Phillips, president of Coastal Enterprises. "Rather, it's about

States Need to Protect Borrowers from Car Title Lenders

A report by the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions -- which found car title lenders illegally charging rates as high as 360% APR -- shows that the states need to protect borrowers from this predatory business, says the Center for Responsible Lending. Title lenders, who make small loans at extremely high interest rates to people who put up their cars as security, took 17,313 vehicles from Tennessee borrowers in 2004, the report found. More than a quarter of the lenders the department surveyed charged illegal fees, including late fees and fees when the lenders repossessed cars. Some

CRL Lauds States for Curbing Ameriquest's Abusive Practices

The Center for Responsible Lending applauds a $325 million settlement between a team of state attorneys general and Ameriquest Mortgage Co. to end abusive lending practices. Today's agreement shows that states play a key role in fighting predatory lending, said Deborah Goldstein, executive vice president of the center, a non-profit research and advocacy group. "The states are quicker to identify new predatory lending abuses and protect borrowers from losing their homes," Ms. Goldstein said. "Here is a good example of this principle at work. "We congratulate the attorneys general who, with

CRL Applauds NC Ruling Against Payday Lenders

RALEIGH, NC -- The Center for Responsible Lending endorsed a tough ruling today by the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks that the "rent-a-bank" arrangement payday lender Advance America used to operate in the state is illegal. While Commissioner Joseph A. Smith Jr.'s ruling applies only to Advance America, the Center for Responsible Lending hopes four other payday lenders using the "rent-a-bank" tactic in the state will sever these relationships and leave the state. Mr. Smith ordered Advance America to stop doing business immediately in North Carolina. Although North Carolina has banned

Letting Predatory Lending Back Out of Its Cage

State Officials, Others Caution Pending Ney-Kanjorski Bill Would Roll Back State Consumer Protections, Spur New Abuses WASHINGTON, D.C. -- State officials and other experts strongly cautioned today that a bill in Congress would weaken laws against predatory mortgage lending in New York, Illinois, South Carolina, and Arkansas and other states with major anti-predatory lending laws on their books. Those issuing the warning are Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau of the NY Attorney General, Dennis Parker, Illinois Assistant Attorney General Tom James, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

DEMOS and CRL Show Credit Card and Debt Link

Washington, D.C. — American families are turning to credit cards to make ends meet in an increasingly volatile economy, according to The Plastic Safety Net: The Reality Behind Credit Card Debt in America , a new report released today by Demos and the Center for Responsible Lending. Released just five days before the new bankruptcy law takes effect and effectively shuts the door on financial recovery for millions, The Plastic Safety Net presents new findings from a national survey on credit card debt among low- and middle-income households—those whose earnings fell between 50 percent and 120

CRL Supports Dole Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Payday lenders rip off our soldiers, sailors and aviators for more than $80 million every year, says the Center for Responsible Lending. These military people -- young, financially unsophisticated, often strapped for cash -- are three times more likely than civilians to have used the payday lending stores that flock around the gates of military bases, according to a new report by the center, which promotes responsible lending. Now Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican from North Carolina, home to some of the nation's largest bases, proposes to help stop lenders from preying on

State Officials Condemn Ney-Kanjorski Bill -- State Laws Under Attack

State and federal officials from four states warned today that a bill in Congress would weaken laws against predatory mortgage lending in 36 states, especially the 24 states with major anti-predatory lending laws on their books. The officials are U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (NC), New Mexico Chief Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Bluestone, Massachusetts Rep. John F. Quinn (Dartmouth) and New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance - Division of Banking Director H. Robert Tillman. The Ney-Kanjorski bill pending in Congress and supported by much of the lending industry would gut the strong laws in

NAR-CRL Brochure Advises Buyer Caution with Specialty Mortgages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Homebuyers may not realize that monthly payments on some types of specialty mortgages can increase by as much as 50 percent or more when the introductory period ends. That's one of the messages that the National Association of Realtors® and the Center for Responsible Lending are trying to drive home in "Shopping for a Mortgage? Do Your Homework First," a new brochure to inform homebuyers about the risks and advantages of specialty mortgage products. The publication is part of a new NAR consumer education campaign addressing specialty loans and abusive lending practices. The

OCC Should Let Spitzer Enforce Anti-Discrimination Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Responsible Lending joined today with 15 other groups in filing a brief supporting New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's efforts to enforce discrimination laws against national banks. Spitzer asked the banks to explain why the numbers the federal government requires them to make public each year show racial disparities in the banks' mortgage lending. Some banks contend a state official like Spitzer doesn't have the authority to enforce state discrimination laws against them. Their federal regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, agrees and