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Press Releases

November 30, 2006
Good afternoon. I am Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending. We are a nonprofit, non-partisan research and policy organization that protects family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. I thank our fellow presenters today. They are Jean Ann Fox, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America, who has done groundbreaking work on the payday lending issue for a decade, and Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, whose life work has contributed greatly to the cause of economic justice. Today, CRL is releasing "Financial...
November 30, 2006
Payday lenders pocket $4.2 billion in excessive fees each year from Americans who seek a two-week loan and end up trapped in debt, according to a new report released today by the Center for Responsible Lending. The study calculates the cost of predatory payday lending state-by-state and also estimates that borrowers save $1.4 billion in states that enforce reasonable interest rate caps. "Payday loans sink borrowers into quicksand-like debt," said Michael D. Calhoun, CRL president. "Borrowers end up paying more in interest -- at rates of 400 percent -- than the amount they originally...
September 29, 2006
Federal financial regulators took a step toward making the mortgage market safer for borrowers today, although there is still much more they can do. Alarmed by a huge increase in new types of mortgages with monthly payments that can make huge leaps, causing "payment shock" to families, regulators will now require lenders to consider whether a borrower can afford these types of home loans. That means fewer homeowners in the future will wind up losing their homes to the banks through foreclosure. The securities business already requires stockbrokers to consider whether investors can...
September 29, 2006
At a time when America's service men and women are making sacrifices for all of us, the least the rest of us can do is try to put them out of financial harm's way. That is why I am tremendously pleased that a joint House-Senate conference committee today approved a bill that would cap payday loans to soldiers, sailors and aviators at 36 percent. That is the same amount many states impose as the maximum in their usury laws to prohibit loan-sharking. These lenders, whose shops cluster around military bases preying on young and financially unsophisticated soldiers, make borrowers sign a...
September 29, 2006
A Congressional committee did the right thing today by approving a 36-percent cap on payday loans to military personnel that will protect them from these predatory lenders. It was a victory for the Pentagon; the consumer, civil rights and veterans groups who stood up with it; and Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FLA), who introduced the amendment. But most of all, it was a victory for our soldiers, sailors and aviators, many of whom had faced the awful choice of paying grocery bills and rent or the usurious fees on their payday loans every two weeks. "At a time when America...
September 29, 2006
The Center for Responsible Lending commends federal regulators who said today they would start requiring lenders to consider whether a borrower can repay when they make certain kinds of home loans. But the regulators missed the boat in helping all the consumers at risk from mortgages that could blow up on them. Lenders have sold billions of dollars of complicated, difficult-to-understand adjustable-rate option mortgages to homebuyers in the last few years without regard to their ability to repay. As the banks pushed more people into buying houses they couldn't afford, the housing...
September 20, 2006
Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, urged policymakers to address high-risk "exploding" ARMs in the subprime market before subcommittees of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today. "Nontraditional loans in the subprime market are seriously eroding the traditional benefits of homeownership," said Mr. Calhoun. "By their very nature, they pose a high risk of losing valuable home equity or foreclosure." Hybrid ARMs and nontraditional mortgage products in the subprime market are structured to cause families to fail. Mortgage brokers and...
September 8, 2006
The Federal Reserve today released figures showing once again that African-Americans and Latinos pay more for mortgages than white borrowers. Data collected from lenders for 2005 show that a majority of loans (52%) to African-Americans and more than one in three loans (40%) to Latinos were higher-cost. White borrowers received a much lower portion of higher cost loans, only one in five, or 19%. Some lenders and their lobbyists will claim that these disparities occur because minorities pose higher financial risks and so get charged more for a loan. The Center for Responsible Lending,...
September 7, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 7, 2006) – Congress should act to protect the people protecting us – our soldiers, sailors and aviators – from predators who trap them in loans with annual interest rates as high as 400 percent. Michael D. Calhoun, CRL president, joined Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) to endorse an amendment to cap payday loans to service members at 36 percent. That is the limit many states impose in their usury statutes to ban loan-sharking. Payday borrowers, using a signed a postdated check as collateral, often end up paying more than $800 to...
August 30, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Predatory payday lenders will continue to gouge soldiers, sailors and aviators in California with more than 400 percent interest on loans thanks to the payday-lending industry's intense lobbying of state legislators. High-ranking Navy and Marine officers, consumer groups and their allies in the legislature tried to ban this sort of predatory lending, but it looks like they will fall short as the legislative session ends this week. "We may have missed a chance to keep our service people out of the clutches of predators," said Paul Leonard, director of the California...

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