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From the beginning of the comment letter : The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients) (NCLC), Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, and Consumer Federation of America appreciate the opportunity to comment on the CDFI Fund (Fund) Small Dollar Loan (SDL) Program Application. The comments focus on aspects of the application aimed to ensure that the program is promoting affordable and responsible small dollar loan products. CRL is an affiliate of Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and Self-Help Ventures...

For-profit colleges are big businesses, primarily funded by taxpayers. Many deliver poor instructional quality at high cost, causing a high proportion of students to drop out. Even for those students who do graduate, gainful employment in the field that they trained for is frequently elusive. Both non-completers and graduates bear high burdens of debt relative to their post college earnings and default on that debt in large numbers relative to those students who attended public and private non-profit colleges. Interactive Map Many for-profit students are nontraditional students, making...

The Center for Responsible Lending, the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST), the Consumer Federation of America, the National Housing Conference, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule to amend the Enterprise Regulatory Capital Framework (ERCF) by refining the prescribed leverage buffer amount (PLBA) and the credit risk transfer (CRT) securitization rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (the GSEs)). Overview and Executive Summary We support the Federal Housing Finance...

The $1.7 trillion student debt crisis impacts over 44 million families nationwide, and the burden of student loans falls particularly heavily on Black students because of historical and ongoing systemic racism. While Black families themselves typically have less wealth to draw upon to pay for college due to the racial wealth gap, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have also been underfunded throughout their histories, compounding the challenges for HBCU students who face financial challenges at both the familial and institutional levels. These challenges often result in...

The $1.7 trillion student debt crisis impacts over 44 million families nationwide, and the burden of student loans falls particularly heavily on Black students because of historical and ongoing systemic racism. While Black families themselves typically have less wealth to draw upon to pay for college due to the racial wealth gap, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have also been underfunded throughout their histories, compounding the challenges for HBCU students who face financial challenges at both the familial and institutional levels. These challenges often result in...

As Adam Harris writes in his 2021 book, The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal—And How to Set Them Right: “America’s colleges and universities have a dirty open secret: they have never given Black people an equal chance to succeed.” Despite long-standing systemic challenges and the small average size of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), these institutions have an impact significantly greater than one would expect and perform a critical function for Black students. Nationally, HBCUs annually generate more than 130,000 jobs and almost $15...

The $1.7 trillion student debt crisis impacts over 44 million families nationwide, and the burden of student loans falls particularly heavily on Black students because of historical and ongoing systemic racism. While Black families themselves typically have less wealth to draw upon to pay for college due to the racial wealth gap, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have also been underfunded throughout their histories, compounding the challenges for HBCU students who face financial challenges at both the familial and institutional levels. These challenges often result in...

On October 28, 2021, the Center for Responsible Lending and the United Negro College Fund hosted a virtual discussion highlighting how the COVID-19 crisis has affected Black students nationwide due to our nation’s ongoing systemic racism. The talk highlighted new findings that reveal how the experiences of Black student loan borrowers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) differ from the experiences of their Black peers at predominately white institutions (PWIs). Panelists drove home the need for $50,000 in across-the-board student loan cancellation and increased HBCU...

Congress cannot miss this once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand homeownership and create racial justice and equity. Targeted DPA is one of the most cost-effective strategies to shrink disparities in wealth and narrow the homeownership gap.1 More than half a million Black and Latino families could become first-generation homeowners thanks to this program even if funded at $30 billion over ten years. In this case, DPA would help 288,208 Black families; 223,649 Latino; 88,000 Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander families; and 249,398 white families achieve homeownership.

The Center for Responsible Lending, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, and the National Community Stabilization Trust support FHFA’s proposed affordable housing goals for the GSEs and would support a higher subgoal for the GSEs buying mortgages for homes in minority tracts where borrower income was not above 100 percent of AMI. Encouraging the GSEs to provide more families with access to homeownership, and particularly those of color to close the related racial homeownership and wealth gaps, through aggressive yet achievable goals is the right thing to do.

The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) (on behalf of its low-income clients), and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) submitted a comment on the Proposed Interagency Guidance on Third-Party Relationships with an emphasis the following points: A handful of FDIC-supervised banks are engaged in high-cost rent-a-bank schemes, which the FDIC should immediately prohibit. This proposed guidance, by its silence, could encourage more schemes. Other OCC- and FDIC-supervised banks are enabling high-cost credit...

The National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) and the Center for Responsible Lending wrote to the CFPB to express serious concerns about two actions that the CFPB took a year ago under Director Kathy Kraninger finding that certain earned wage access (EWA) products are not “credit” under the Truth in Lending Act. These actions and the legal reasoning underlying them have the potential to open up huge loopholes in our lending and even fair lending laws. They urge the CFPB to regulate fee-based EWA products as credit. The CFPB should rescind or significantly revise the...

The CFPB should rescind the Bureau’s November 2020 EWA Advisory Opinion or to revise its unsound reasoning to prevent evasions of credit laws. The CFPB should also revisit the December 2020 Compliance Assistance Sandbox Approval Order regarding PayActiv for the same reason, and to order PayActiv to cease misusing the order. We also urge the Bureau to eliminate or significantly alter the “innovation” programs adopted in the last few years, which have resulted in a secretive, one-sided process for industry to seek exemptions from or skewed interpretations of critical consumer protection laws...

From the opening paragraph of the letter : On behalf of the undersigned civil rights, consumer protection, and housing policy organizations, we write to urge your continued prioritization of the housing-related provisions in the upcoming reconciliation package. These provisions are a down payment on this Administration's commitment to addressing long-standing inequities in our housing system and addressing the worsening racial wealth gap exacerbated by the nation's housing crisis.

On September 1, 2021, Tracy Ward, director of the SBA 504 Loan Program at Self-Help Ventures Fund testified before the House Committee on Small Business. Her written testimony as well as her oral remarks are available for download. Watch the live hearing: Ward focused on the following recommendations, which we believe are necessary to correct inequities in the PPP forgiveness process: Avoid “gotcha” denials of loan forgiveness due to sudden changes in SBA rules imposed without advance notice by requiring SBA to retroactively apply a standard 30- day grace period for effectiveness of PPP rules...

The Center for Responsible Lending, Self-Help Credit Union, and Self-Help Federal Credit Union submitted this public comment letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of its proposed rule to recodify its previously promulgated rule titled, “Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard” (2013 Rule). The comment supports restoring the power of the “disparate impact” standard, a crucial legal tool used to identify and eliminate discrimination.

Even before COVID-19, student loan borrowers struggled under the weight of more than $1.6 trillion in debt. One in four borrowers was in default or serious delinquency, and many worried about their ability to make student loan payments while covering other basic needs. Because of decades of structural inequities and discrimination, student loans have burdened Black and Latino borrowers more than other groups, and now these borrowers of color are also among those disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. Recognizing that the crisis impacted many borrowers’ abilities to repay their debts, the...

From the introduction of the letter : The undersigned organizations representing Virginia consumers, students, student loan borrowers, and educators submit this comment in response to the State Corporation Commission’s (the “Commission”) July 9, 2021, Order Requesting Additional Comments (the “Order”) on proposed regulations to implement Virginia’s new Student Borrower Bill of Rights. The Commission specifically requested comments further addressing whether the new law and/or its implementing regulations implicate either federal preemption or intergovernmental immunity. The Commonwealth seeks...

From the coalition letter to Michael J. Hsu, acting comptroller of the currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: We the undersigned community, consumer, and civil rights organizations write to express serious concerns about Oportun’s application to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a national bank charter. Exactly one year ago, Oportun made headlines for grossly abusive debt collection practices, which is especially alarming given the company’s stated focus on serving Latino, immigrant, and low-to-moderate income borrowers. ProPublica and The Guardian published...

On July 29, 2021, Ashley Harrington testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing on "Protecting Americans from Debt Traps by Extending the Military's 36% Interest Rate Cap to Everyone." Her written testimony as well as her oral remarks are available for download. Watch the recorded hearing:

This statement was entered for the record for the July 21, 2021 hearing on “Banking the Unbanked: Exploring Private and Public Efforts to Expand Access to the Financial System” before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. Download the testimony above or view a webcast of this hearing .

The undersigned fair housing, affordable housing and civil rights organizations write to you in response to the proposed Interim Final Rule entitled “Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications.” We are heartened to see HUD moving toward restoring a meaningful Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule to better implement the letter and spirit of the Fair Housing Act (“the Act”). This provision of the Fair Housing Act has largely gone unenforced, continuing the harms that have resulted from this nation’s legacy of government-sponsored residential...

From the letter to Acting Director Shalanda Young, Office of Management and Budget We the undersigned civil rights and consumer advocacy organizations are writing in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s May 5, 2021, Request for Information on Methods and Leading Practices for Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Government. We applaud the OMB for seeking input on the critically-important topic of advancing equity in government. Our organizations believe that the responses below will help inform the OMB’s policies.
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