Among the hottest consumer finance topics in recent years is the proliferation of online lenders offering fintech cash advances, including the subset of those lenders who offer earned wage advances (EWA). These are very short-term loans of small dollar amounts that users can access through a smartphone app. Lenders that offer these products strenuously attempt to avoid being regulated like other lenders and rely on legal fictions to assert that their loans are not credit. These lenders also typically argue that their products further financial inclusion while, in reality, the worst versions of...

In the 1990s payday lenders partnered with banks to create a practice known as Rent-a-Bank. This practice exploits a provision of federal law that allows banks to export their interest rates across the country, ignoring state laws meant to protect borrowers from abusive high-rate lending that can lead to a debt trap. While predatory lenders originally used store-front payday locations when this evasion scheme began, today’s high-cost lenders have moved their tactics online under the glossy facade of fintech innovation. These lenders are now trying to adapt their abusive high-cost lending...

States are grappling with how to regulate earned wage advances (EWAs) and other fintech cash advances that purport not to be credit. These loans often closely resemble payday loans, with fees that multiply into rates above 300% and cycles of reborrowing that result in workers paying to be paid. State legislatures and regulators should not adopt industry-backed approaches, like those recently passed in Missouri and Nevada, that carve these loans out of state credit laws, including rate caps, and lack any meaningful substitute consumer protections. Instead, at the state level, the best policy...

While most homeowners with GSE-backed mortgages have recovered from pandemic-related hardships and reinstated their mortgage, as of June 7, about 1.6% of outstanding GSE borrowers were in a state of nonpayment: about 140,000 GSE-backed loans were in COVID-19 Forbearance, and another roughly 300,000 loans were delinquent outside of forbearance. For those GSE borrowers who were less than 2 months delinquent as of the onset of the pandemic who cannot resume their originally scheduled monthly payments due to ongoing pandemic-related financial hardship, the GSEs offer the COVID-19 Flex Modification...

Millions of homeowners across the country are having difficulty affording their monthly mortgage payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most vulnerable group of borrowers is concentrated within the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program, with over 900,000 borrowers who are more than 90 days delinquent. While the CARES Act provided homeowners with access to a mortgage forbearance and while subsequent FHA policy actions have extended these periods, forbearance is an inherently temporary solution. Ultimately, what will determine whether these homeowners are able to stay in their...

Today, more than 44 million Americans are crushed under the weight of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. This debt prevents borrowers – in red states and blue states, urban and rural communities – from fully participating in the American economy. It delays or denies borrowers the opportunity to buy a home, start a business, or invest in retirement, thereby widening the wealth gap for borrowers from families with modest means.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in two cases challenging the Education Department’s debt relief program. The first lawsuit, Biden v. Nebraska, was filed by several Republican-controlled states claiming that debt relief will hurt the profits of a private student loan servicer chartered by one of the states and may negatively affect future state tax revenues. The other suit, Department of Education v. Brown, was filed by the conservative organization Job Creators Network Foundation Legal Action Fund on behalf of two individual student loan borrowers claiming to be opposed to the...