Time for fairness and economic justice

During the surge of media attention on today's historic meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama, it is important to note that only days before His Holiness used his own moral authority to express concerns for the current financial crisis. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the Pope speaks to the developments that led to the current global economic crisis, naming badly-managed and short-sighted financial practices among its causes. He urges financiers to "rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity". Pope Benedict's words are a

Phantom Demand: Unfair Payday Loan Terms Generate Most of Loan Volume

Washington, DC - A full three quarters of the payday industry's loan volume is generated by borrowers who, after repaying one payday loan, must take out another before their next paycheck, new Center for Responsible Lending research shows. Payday churning?repeat borrowing of what payday lenders market as a short-term loan of a few hundred dollars?has been well documented. But the Center for Responsible lending's new report goes further by verifying for the first time how quickly most payday customers must turn around and re-borrow after repaying a previous payday loan. Among the over 80

CRL study dilutes arguments for California’s payday bill

Payday lenders create their own demand with loan terms that generate rapid re-borrowing A full three quarters of the payday industry's loan volume is generated by borrowers who, after repaying one payday loan, must take out another before their next paycheck, new Center for Responsible Lending research shows. The report comes on the eve of the California Senate Judiciary Committee meeting where AB 377, a highly-flawed payday lending bill, will be considered. That body will review the bill next Tues., July 14. "It's now crystal clear that demand for payday loans is greatly exaggerated," said

Cuomo vs. Clearing House Represents Victory for Taxpayers

Statement from Michael Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending "Today the Supreme Court announced a decision that will play a major role in how and whether consumer protection laws are enforced. In Andrew Cuomo vs. the Clearing House Association and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the court overturned lower court decisions, determining that states can enforce their own civil rights laws, including pursuing claims against national banks, when necessary, to ensure that banks follow the law. This Supreme Court decision is a victory for taxpayers, who have suffered

The Case for a Consumer Protection Agency

Ellen Harnick, Senior Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending contributed this guest post to " The Hearing ", a blog of the Washington Post . Over the past decade, federal bank regulators looked the other way as responsible loans were crowded out of the market by aggressively marketed financial products carrying hidden costs and fees. Tricky products, whose most "innovative" feature was their ability to obscure their true cost, led a race to the bottom that stifled innovation of any benefit to consumers. The aggressive marketing of these products caused an enormous loss of wealth

Annual Percentage Rate: An Apples-to-Apples Consumer Tool

Payday lenders, in their battle to win legal authority to charge triple-digit interest rates, argue that stating their typical interest rate as 390 percent annually is misleading because their loans are short term. State policy-makers and even voters have specifically rejected this bogus argument but payday lenders are trying to use it again as the U.S. Congress debates how to stop widespread abuses in the payday industry. A new Center for Responsible Lending issue brief, APR Matters, lays out why that argument doesn't wash. First, the typical payday borrower is actually in debt long term

CRL's Response to the Obama Administration’s Regulatory Reform Plan

"We commend the Administration for its innovative plan for protecting America's families from abusive lending practices, including those that led to the current mortgage crisis, as well as those involving costly overdraft bank fees and other small loans. As our country grapples with the current financial meltdown and its epidemic of foreclosures that have crippled the economy, we must address the regulatory lapses that brought us here. At the same time, we must protect consumers through targeted laws such as the credit card legislation Congress recently passed and the pending legislation that

Consumer Organizations Urge Fast Action to Create Strong, Independent Regulator

National consumer protection organizations applauded President Obama's proposal to create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ensure the safety, fairness and sustainability of credit. The agency would have broad powers to ensure that credit and payment products do not have predatory or deceptive features that can harm consumers or lock them into unaffordable loans. "The international economic crisis was triggered by the failure of federal regulators to stop abusive lending, particularly in the housing sector," said Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director of the Consumer

Forced Arbitration Denies Consumers Fair Hearing

Consumers have the deck stacked against them when they are forced into mandatory arbitration by their credit card issuer or other financial services provider, an analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending confirms. Many consumers don't even know that the contracts they sign for most credit cards, auto loans and other small loan products come with hidden clauses that require they use arbitration rather than the courts if a complaint arises. A recent poll shows Americans believe they should have the right to pursue claims in court if they want. The CRL analysis, "Stacked Deck," details some