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.
September 8, 2011

As you may know, Capital One recently applied to regulators to acquire ING Direct. The deal would create the fifth-largest bank in the country and raises substantial concerns about how the deal would impact communities.

August 9, 2011

The CFPB is soliciting a third round of comments on its Know Before You Owe project to simplify disclosure forms used in the mortgage process.  The agency last week extended the deadline to this Wednesday.

July 29, 2011

As the number of foreclosure filings continue to outpace loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention strategies, more and more homes are becoming vacant in the Chicago region. More than 95 percent of completed foreclosures in the six-county region in 2010 became owned by their lenders and likely remain vacant, data from Woodstock Institute show. Moving families back into these homes would counteract the destabilizing influences of vacancy and set neighborhoods on the path to recovery. While new household formation is on the rise and should contribute to an increased demand for homeownership, access to mortgage credit has become sharply constricted.

July 8, 2011

We’ve been pushing for stronger protections on overdraft protection loans for years, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a federal bank regulator, recently released a proposed guidance that would eliminate some of the worst features of overdraft programs-such as ordering transactions to maximize fee income.  However, the proposed rule has a glaring flaw—it puts  bank-based payday loans, also known as deposit advance loans, in the same category as overdraft loans. Bank payday loans and overdraft loans are entirely different beasts—they’re structured differently, used for different purposes, and have different risks. The two products need regulations tailored to their unique characteristics. We recently submitted our comments on these rules; you can send regulators your thoughts until August 8, 2011.

June 28, 2011

When it takes a long time to create a problem, it often takes even longer to fix it. In Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro illustrated how various American tax, property and financial policies and practices precluded generations of African Americans from building wealth and created intergenerational poverty, the effects of which continue to reverberate today. The gains that some African Americans and other people of color made in wealth creation through home ownership, small business development and educational attainment during the late 1990s and early 2000s were all but wiped out by ongoing the financial and foreclosure crisis. If left unaddressed, the racial wealth gap will continue to grow.

June 8, 2011

An amendment to the Economic Development Revitalization Act (S. 782) appeared yesterday that would essentially disarm consumers’ cop on the beat, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Amendment #391, proposed by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), would seriously weaken the CFPB’s ability to protect consumers—its only mandate. It puts the same regulators who failed to restrain the reckless subprime lending that led to the housing crisis in a position to paralyze the CFPB’s ability to take action against financial institutions who are harming consumers.

Tags: CFPA, policy
June 2, 2011

A week after Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) took Elizabeth Warren to task during a Congressional hearing and called her a liar, she’s been invited back to spar with another famously feisty opponent: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa’s letter to Warren says:

Tags: CFPA, policy