Advocacy

June 25, 2013

Municipalities across the Chicago region are struggling to come up with effective ways of making vacant homes productive again. Some communities are hitting a wall: how can you design a response when you don’t fully understand the problem?

Rep. Watt
June 11, 2013

While some headlines claim that the housing market is recovering, we know that too many homeowners have not.  

Ventra Cards
June 5, 2013

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently announced positive changes to the general purpose reloadable (GPR) feature of the CTA’s new Ventra transit card after receiving pressure from consumer advocacy groups

May 28, 2013

A bill that removes the asset limit for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in Illinois, making it easier for them to build savings, has passed both chambers of the General Assembly and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. 

May 23, 2013
As we mentioned earlier this week, two federal regulators have released proposed rules that would put an end to the worst practices of payday lending by banks.
Richard Cordray
May 23, 2013
Thank you to everyone who received our email earlier this week and made calls to Sen. Kirk’s office urging him to support Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently decided to postpone the vote on Director Cordray’s confirmation until July.
May 20, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced plans to hold a vote on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray’s confirmation. It’s no surprise that some Senators—including Illinois’ Mark Kirk—are threatening to filibuster the vote. The vote to overcome the filibuster will happen tomorrow. 

May 15, 2013
The Community Reinvestment Act has been instrumental in promoting investment and financial services in low- and moderate-income communities, but it hasn’t kept pace with changes in the financial industry. We have an opportunity today to let bank regulators know that it’s high time to update Community Reinvestment Act for the modern era.
May 9, 2013

Things are different today than they were in 1973.

Unfortunately, the Community Reinvestment Act remains largely the same —and that’s a problem.

May 7, 2013
CHICAGO—Woodstock Institute and Illinois PIRG delivered a message from over 7,000 residents of Illinois to Sen. Mark Kirk today: it’s time to stop the obstructionism and confirm Director Richard Cordray to a full term at the helm of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
May 1, 2013
We applaud President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Rep. Watt is a candidate with strong qualifications in economic policy who understands the issues facing consumers in the financial marketplace. Rep. Watt has served in Congress for 20 years and is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he has advocated for affordable housing, fair lending, and consumer protections. In 2009, he co-sponsored the Credit CARD Act that enacted important protections for credit card borrowers.  
April 29, 2013

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released information that makes it easier for the public to detect worrisome practices in financial services and assess whether financial institutions are adequately serving consumers.  

April 26, 2013

CHICAGO—Proposed new guidance released today by two of the federal banking regulators could put an end to the worst practices of payday lending by  banks. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposed standards that the banks they regulate would have to comply with regarding what they call “deposit advance” features on bank accounts and reloadable prepaid cards. 

April 24, 2013
A staggering amount of support is pouring in from around the country calling on federal regulators to end payday lending practices by banks and through bank support. News reports indicate that prudential regulators will release guidance on Thursday strongly limiting bank payday. Yesterday, our partners at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law authored a blog post demonstrating the large role banks play in these short-term, high-cost loans. Reinvestment Partners went further, identifying exactly how much banks are giving to fringe lenders.
April 16, 2013
Last week Illinois Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act to protect consumers of short-term loans such as payday loans and car-title loans. The bill complements the SAFE Lending Act, sponsored by many of the same Senators, which would protect consumers’ bank accounts and level the playing field for all payday lenders.
April 11, 2013
Concern is growing among advocates, regulators, and the media about the increasingly enormous level of student loan debt in the United States. Outstanding student debt grew to over $1 trillion dollars in 2013, with private loans making up roughly $150 billion of that amount. Compared to federal student loans, private student loans are often more expensive, are more commonly marketed with questionable practices, and have fewer options for making payments more affordable if a borrower falls on hard times. There are at least 850,000 individual private student loans in default, totaling roughly $150 million.
April 2, 2013
Our friends at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) are gathering signatures for a letter to federal banking regulators urging them to stop banks from offering damaging payday-style loans. The letter, which will be sent to leaders of the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, outlines some of the most debilitating effects payday loans have on borrowers. No matter where they originate, these loans often carry interest rates (APRs) of up to 400 percent, trapping borrowers in a debt cycle that CRL says lasts an average of 175 days. 
March 19, 2013
The Senate Banking Committee voted earlier today 12-10 along party lines in favor of the confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Cordray’s nomination now goes to a vote by the full Senate. Unfortunately for Illinoisans, Senator Mark Kirk voted against Cordray, who has earned widespread, bipartisan praise for his work leading the CFPB.
March 7, 2013
They’re at it again: 43 Republican Senators vowed to block the confirmation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray unless the CFPB is stripped of its independence. We need your help to make sure that the CFPB has the authority and leadership it needs to make the financial marketplace safe for consumers.

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