CRL Urges Fed to Ban Mortgage Kickbacks that Cost Homeowners Billions

As the year ends with a spotlight on pending health and financial reforms in Congress, the Federal Reserve closed its comment period for mortgage rules that could save families billions of dollars. In a detailed comment letter , the Center for Responsible Lending recommends that the Federal Reserve Board strengthen a proposal to ban routine kickbacks for steering borrowers into unnecessarily risky or expensive home loans. If finalized as proposed, the ban on kickbacks (often called "yield-spread premiums") would apply to mortgage brokers, loan officers, and any party that originates mortgages

House Stands Up For Consumers, Small Businesses and Taxpayers; Votes For Financial Reform

Statement from Michael Calhoun President of the Center for Responsible Lending Washington, D.C. – "We are very pleased the U.S. House of Representatives has taken an important step toward restoring our country's financial stability by voting to pass the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173). The bill would provide consumers with significant protections from the industry practices that dismantled our economy and those of countries around the world. We commend the House for this vote to protect families and small business from unfair, unsafe financial practices

Credit Card Companies Bypass New Rules Intended to Curb Abuses

Credit card companies are busy crafting new tricks and traps to bypass both Federal Reserve Board rules and new federal law set to take full effect in late February 2010, a new research report from the Center for Responsible Lending finds. Entitled "Dodging Reform: As Some Credit Card Abuses Are Outlawed, New Ones Proliferate," the report explains why the nation's 80 million families with one or more credit cards continue to be hit with arbitrary, unfair interest rate hikes and fees. [For the full report go here. ] The study examined the practices of issuers that hold over 400 million credit

Tweaking Voluntary Measures Won’t Stop Foreclosures

Statement of Michael Calhoun, President Center for Responsible Lending "The Obama administration's latest adjustments to its nine-month-old foreclosure prevention program do little but highlight the continued failure of lenders' voluntary efforts to stop the foreclosure crisis. The number of Americans in foreclosure continues to rise dramatically, with up to three million new foreclosure starts this year alone, a trend that undermines economic recovery. To address the foreclosure crisis that's at the root of the current slump will require more comprehensive action. Specifically, Congress must

Reckless Lending's Fallout Continues as MBA Show 1 in 7 Mortgages Past Due

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today that a record number of loans—1 in 7—is delinquent, up from 1 in 10 a year ago. Today's numbers also show that 1 in 22 families in the U.S. is in the process of losing their home, up from 1 in 34 a year ago. Based on these figures, we are now on track for 2.9 million foreclosure starts in this year alone. The lenders' trade association is quick to blame this worsening trend on higher unemployment levels. But that ignores the fact that reckless lending precipitated the economic crisis and prolongs it each day with every new foreclosure

Fed Overdraft Rule Inadequate, Congress Must Act

"The Federal Reserve Board's action today on debit card overdraft fees legitimizes an abusive product without providing any substantive protections for bank customers. We appreciate that the Fed chose to implement the strongest overdraft reform rule it was considering, namely requiring banks and credit unions to ask new and existing customers before charging overdraft fees on debit card transactions. But this improvement is undermined by the Fed's failure to propose or enact necessary safeguards against a host of unfair practices. The Fed acknowledges in its new rule that the fees charged for

Dodd's Draft Consumer Financial Protection Agency Urgently Needed

Statement by Mike Calhoun, President of the Center for Responsible Lending: "The draft legislation to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency unveiled today by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is an essential component of urgently needed financial reform. Unfortunately, the banking lobby will exert intense pressure to weaken the bill by carving out special exemptions for some lenders and also by hobbling states' ability to address lending issues in their own jurisdictions. Committee members will need to resist the banking lobby's influence if they are to craft a

CRL Applauds House Effort to Implement Credit Card Reform Bill Sooner

"We commend lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives who yesterday overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3639, the Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act of 2009. The bill would expedite implementation of the credit card reform legislation Congress passed earlier this year to December 1, nearly three months earlier than its current effective date of February 22, 2010. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, whose members we hope will also pass it quickly and in a bipartisan manner. Putting credit card reform on a faster track would be welcome relief for tens of thousands of American families who

Fed Fixes For Overdraft Fall Short, Strong Reform Crucial, CRL Tells Congress

Congressional proposals to rein in abusive overdraft practices are long overdue, Center for Responsible Lending executive Eric Halperin told the House Financial Services Committee today. Halperin, who is director of CRL's Washington office, gave full support to legislation aimed at reforming bank overdraft programs, which cost consumers $23.7 billion last year and are among the most predatory lending products on the market. "Charging people a $35 fee for a small, debit card transaction is unacceptable," said Halperin, director of CRL's Washington office. "It doesn't save them bounced check

Martin Eakes Receives Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award

(Opportunity Finance Network Press Release - October 29, 2009) Charlotte, NC - Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced today that Martin Eakes, a nationally recognized expert on community development finance serving low-income people and communities, received the third annual Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Lending. Named in memory of the late Federal Reserve Board Governor Edward (Ned) Gramlich, the Award honors a lifetime of achievement in responsible financial services. Gramlich served as a Board Member of OFN after leaving the Federal Reserve Board. Read the