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Banks stand back as debits and ATM withdrawals cause high-cost overdrafts for their customers Rather than linking their customers' checking accounts to their savings or other resources to cover overdrafts, many banks and credit unions are automatically covering their customers' shortfalls with expensive short-term loans. More overdrafts are happening when customers swipe their debit card or make an ATM withdrawal than when they write a check. In these cases, banks can warn customers or merchants when they have insufficient funds—but most do not. They can also decline the transaction and save...

In a recent working paper, Donald Morgan, a researcher from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, attempts to determine whether payday lending is predatory by comparing the welfare of households in states where payday lending is unlimited versus states where payday lending is illegal. After a comparative analysis, Morgan concludes that "unlimited" payday lending enhances welfare. However, Morgan's findings are flawed for three key reasons: The analysis contains fundamental errors in its characterization of which states allowed payday lending. Example: Morgan identifies North Carolina—which had...

A CRL study released in December 2006, revealed that millions of American households would lose their homes and as much as $164 billion due to foreclosures in the subprime mortgage market. The "Losing Ground" study was the first comprehensive, nationwide review of millions of subprime mortgages originated from 1998 through the third quarter of 2006. CRL found that despite low interest rates and a favorable economic environment during the past several years, the subprime market was experiencing high foreclosure rates, and we projected that one out of five (19.4%) subprime loans issued during...

Executive Summary: Financial Quicksand New CRL study finds borrowers pay $4.2 billion every year in excessive payday lending fees Every year, payday lenders strip $4.2 billion in excessive fees from Americans who think they're getting a two-week loan and end up trapped in debt. This report finds that across the nation payday borrowers are paying more in interest, at annual rates of 400 percent, than the amount of the loan they originally borrowed. Despite attempts to reform payday lending, now an industry exceeding $28 billion a year, lenders still collect 90 percent of their revenue from...

In a working paper released last month, Morgan Rose, a researcher from the OCC, analyzes a set of subprime loans originated in Chicago to determine the impact of selected lending terms on the likelihood of foreclosure. The study finds that loans with prepayment penalties and balloon payments are 22 to 117 percent more likely to foreclose than those without such terms. However, after an extended analysis, the author concludes that the impact of those terms on foreclosure varies widely. He therefore advocates for regulatory tightening of underwriting and pricing practices, as opposed to...

A Georgia statute passed in May 2004 imposes stiff penalties for payday lending by non-banks and in-state banks, and is the first state law to expressly prohibit payday lenders from contriving with out-of-state banks to evade state usury limits. Soon after its enactment, several payday lenders and their bank "partners" sued the state seeking a court ruling that the Act was unconstitutional. The effort failed. The Georgia Act is a good example of state legislation against abusive lending practices and lender contrivances to circumvent state law.

African-Americansand Latinos get high-priced subprimemortgages far more frequently than whites -- even when they are equally qualified, according to a groundbreaking new study from CRL. Lenders say they charge more because African-Americans and Latinos on average have shakier credit histories, which makes lending to them riskier. But that explanation is simply wrong. In the most extensive study of its kind, CRL found that African-Americans and Latinos are commonly almost a third more likely to get a high-priced loan than white borrowers with the same credit scores. The study examined 50,000...

VULNERABLE CONSUMERS CAUGHT IN OVERDRAFT CYCLE CRL has conducted a survey of overdraft loan customers. Our findings suggest that: * Sixteen percent of overdraft loan users account for 71 percent of fee-based overdraft loan fees. *Repeat users are more often low-income, single, non-white renters. * Repeat users are in effect using the overdraft loans as an expensive substitute for a line-of-credit, and are paying fees that can be as costly as payday loans.
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