CRL in the News
Consumer groups are praising the new rules on prepaid credit cards just released by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The regulation goes into effect next fall and will make prepaid card issuers follow many of the same rules that apply to credit cards. Graciela Aponte-Diaz, a policy director for the Center for Responsible Lending, says low-income families, who may not have a bank account, often use prepaid cards.
Car-title loans provide a percentage of a vehicle’s total value in exchange for the promise of quick cash. Unfortunately, when car titles are used as collateral for one of the most predatory and high-cost consumer loans, another cycle of debt can begin. The typical car-title loan is refinanced eight times and comes with triple-digit interest rates as high as 300 percent. Each year, car-title loans strip $4 billion in fees from consumers. The looming threat of repossession, which affects one in five consumers, often prompts these costly renewals.
Then the Department of Education decided that ITT was no longer a qualifying institution for students receiving federal loans. “Obviously it’s a system failure of accreditation.” Whitney Barkley from the Center for Responsible Lending says students in for-profit schools have been left in the lurch when officials fail to act in a corrective and timely way. “It’s obviously a system failure of states who too often just accept that accreditation and allow the school to operate in their state without doing much more to approve them or oversee them.
On the surface, you'd expect consumer activists would be lining up with the CFPB. Not so. While it's getting applause for recommending some changes, there's also pushback from groups that want more aggressive regulations, including those seeking to lay the groundwork for capping interest rates on payday loans. "The CFPB recommendations are a step in the right direction, but they don't go far enough," said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, based in Durham, N.C.
Consumer advocates, including the Center for Responsible Lending, opposes giving Congress authority over the CFPB’s budget. The group’s president, Mike Calhoun, said in an interview that doing so would mean a company being investigated by the bureau could go to friends in Congress to prohibit funds from being used for the probe. Congress could scuttle the agency by simply refusing to appoint commissioners to oversee it.
The Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, who leads faith initiatives for the Center for Responsible Lending, says that faith leaders have mobilized, because they expect that the payday lending industry will fight any regulations to curtail their activity. The CFPB will be accepting comments about payday lending until Oct. 7, and the Center for Responsible Lending hopes that people will share letters and comments encouraging CFPB to curtail predatory payday lending.
Progressives such as Robnett want the CFPB to double down on some of its proposed restrictions, which they say don’t go far enough to curb abusive practices. “This ‘ability to repay’ standard must be applied with no exceptions,” said Diane Standaert, director of state policy and executive vice president at the left-leaning Center for Responsible Lending.
Through the legislation (SB 1150), when the sole borrower listed on a mortgage passes away, it entitles widows, widowers, domestic partners, heirs, siblings and other survivors to information and communication from the mortgage servicer. The legislation also provides these surviving persons the right to seek a loan assumption and modification, if needed. Already, the enactment of the bill has been met with applause from certain consumer advocacy groups, such as the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).
According to data from the Center for Responsible Lending, payday lenders collected about a half million dollars from Ohioans in 2015, more than double the fees collected in 2008 when Ohio voters approved a law regulating the industry. Roth believes that's why water-tight federal regulations are needed.
What’s more, African-Americans overwhelmingly rely on mortgages that are backed by the government, noted the Center for Responsible Lending in a statement Friday. Some 70.2% of African-American borrowers were government-backed, nearly double the share of such loans to white borrowers.