New Report Highlights Consumer Risks and Regulatory Gaps in "Buy Now, Pay Later" Services

WASHINGTON, DC - A recent report published by the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Responsible Lending provides an in-depth analysis of the "Buy Now, Pay Later" (BNPL) industry, revealing substantial misunderstandings among consumers and a critical absence of regulatory oversight on a national scale. “BNPL lenders are making it easier for borrowers to use high-cost loans for everyday purchases,” said Peter Smith, a Senior Researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending. “At the same time, they are trying mightily to hide the true costs and risks of these loans.” Key findings

Updates of Community Reinvestment Act Will Create a More Inclusive Financial System

WASHINGTON, DC – Federal banking regulators today passed updates to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), one of the seminal pieces of legislation to address systemic inequities in access to credit. The Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve System and Federal Deposit Insurance System made the revisions to increase transparency and bring the regulatory system in-line with modern banking practices, including the rising use of mobile and online banking and lending. “All Americans deserve an inclusive financial system that helps them realize their dreams,” said Mitria Spotser, vice

CRL Commends Biden-Harris Administration for Strengthening Consumer Protections for Students

WASHINGTON, DC – The Biden-Harris Administration today announced final regulations that will enhance oversight and accountability for higher education institutions and strengthen protections for student borrowers. The new rules will go into effect July 1, 2024. In response, Jaylon Herbin, director of federal campaigns at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) made the following statement: We commend the Biden-Harris Administration for protecting students and taxpayers by enhancing transparency and accountability in higher education. These new rules not only address the disruptions caused by

CRL, AFR, and NCRC Blast Senate Democrats For Betraying Small Business Owners With Vote To Rescind Section 1071

Five Democratic Senators betrayed small business owners Wednesday by voting with Republicans to rescind recently finalized small business lending data rules known as Section 1071, leading consumer advocacy groups said. From Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) President Mike Calhoun: “We strongly oppose the Senate’s CRA bill and urge the House to support the small businesses that power the nation’s economy, including minority and women-owned businesses. We also urge President Biden to veto the CRA bill if it reaches his desk. A robust 1071 rule is crucial. It will spur entrepreneurship in

CRL Applauds FHFA Release of Data to Combat Appraisal Bias

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today published its new Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) Appraisal-Level Public Use File (PUF) on mortgage loans sold to the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. FHFA said the dataset can be used to, among other things, study housing valuation, housing market disparities and inequities, and consumer preferences. “CRL applauds the Federal Housing Finance Agency for publishing appraisal-level data for the first time,” said Mitria Spotser, vice president and director of federal policy at the

Consumers Need Strong Protections from Fintech Cash Advances that Create Debt Traps

New policy briefs from CRL and NCLC recommend protections to shield consumers from abusive fintech cash advances WASHINGTON – Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) released an issue brief, “ State Recommendations for Earned Wage Advances and Other Fintech Cash Advances.” “Fintech cash advances are credit and should be regulated as credit, with guardrails to prevent abuses,” said Andrew Kushner, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. “State legislators and regulators should reject industry

NC Report Finds Converting Criminal Financial Obligations to Civil Judgments Results in Heavy Costs and Low Recovery Rate

DURHAM, NC - North Carolinians involved in the criminal justice system are assessed financial obligations that can add up to thousands of dollars—and most are poor and cannot pay them. The practice of converting these fines and fees to civil judgments has become increasingly common in the state, finds a report released today by the Center for Responsible Lending, Forward Justice, and the North Carolina Justice Center. But very little of the civil debt is paid off, so many individuals subject to the judgments go deep into debt and experience harsh consequences that may last for decades. The

As Supreme Court Considers Argument to Defang the Watchdog, a New Poll Shows Wide, Bipartisan Support for the Consumer Bureau

Over four in five voters back the CFPB’s mission WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following oral arguments made before the U.S. Supreme Court on the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new poll – commissioned by the Center for Responsible Lending and Americans for Financial Reform and released today – shows overwhelming support from Republican, Democratic, and independent voters for the CFPB’s mission and for the Bureau to establish several new consumer protections. Conducted by a bipartisan polling team from Lake Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, these new findings are

Supreme Court Hears Case That May Eliminate Agency Key to Financial Stability

Lawsuit poses existential threat to CFPB and, through precedent, to the Federal Reserve, Medicare, and other crucial government services WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow will hear arguments for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association. In CFPB v. CFSA, payday lenders call for the Court to stop CFPB operations – an outcome that would eliminate essential guidance for mortgage lenders and other financial firms and cause economic chaos. Payday lenders claim Congress can fund agencies only through its annual appropriations process – a

Judge’s Ruling that Illegal Discrimination is Not “Unfair” Should be Overturned

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal district court judge in Texas ruled last Friday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may not monitor companies that provide checking accounts and other non-credit financial services to ensure they are not discriminating based on protected characteristics, such as a person’s race, religion, or sex. The CFPB had pointed to this discrimination as also constituting an unfair practice that it can identify, prohibit, and prosecute, which the law authorizes the CFPB to do. “Illegal discrimination fits the commonsense definition of an unfair practice. To