Advocacy

March 16, 2011

This week, the payday lender Illinois Lending Corp. filed a lawsuit challenging portions of a new law that enacts many necessary consumer protections for small consumer loan borrowers. Specifically, the suit challenges provisions of the law that prevent lenders from holding a license for shorter-term payday loans in addition to a license for longer-term consumer installment loans. The lawsuit coincides with the introduction of a bill authored by Rep. Daniel Burke that would remove the dual license restriction, scheduled for a hearing in front of the Illinois House Executive Committee tomorrow.

March 1, 2011

Representatives from leading policy and community development organizations met with Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday, February 24 in the Roseland neighborhood to examine ways to stop the scourge of vacant homes on Chicago area communities.

September 7, 2010

In response to some of the recent criticism of the consumer reporting service mandated by the landmark payday loan reforms passed last spring, I would like to provide a brief history of payday loan reform in Illinois and why this database is so critical to protecting consumers.

August 5, 2010

People with disabilities, advocates, and government officials recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the White House. While acknowledging that much progress has been made, participants agreed there is still a long way to go to achieve inclusion and opportunities for the one in five U.S. residents who have disabilities—that’s 54 million people, including 7 million who receive federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

August 4, 2010

At last, consumers who seek debt relief through debt settlement companies will be protected from deceptive and predatory practices that often leave consumers worse off than they were before. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act (HB 4781) on August 3, ending some of the worst debt settlement industry abuses in Illinois.

July 19, 2010

Woodstock Institute applauds the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which represents the most dramatic and pro-consumer overhaul of the financial system in 70 years. The bill, which President Obama is expected to sign soon, will stabilize the financial system, prevent the need for future bailouts, and create a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to guard against unfair and deceptive products and practices.

June 30, 2010

Thanks to your support, House and Senate conferees have passed a strong financial reform bill (read the summary and full text) that will protect consumers and introduce transparency to the financial system. The bill now goes to the full House and Senate for consideration. These reforms are major steps towards preventing another crisis and creating a sustainable financial system where all consumers can safely borrow and save for a brighter future.

June 21, 2010

In a crackdown on 700 percent interest rate payday loans, Governor Quinn signed HB 537, capping rates and closing the legal loophole that has allowed some payday loan companies in Illinos to operate almost completely unregulated.  Starting in March 2011, the law caps rates for nearly every short-term credit product in the state, prevents the cycle of debt caused by frequent refinancing, and gives regulators the tools necessary to identify potentially predatory lending practices before they become widespread.

June 15, 2010

As unemployment continues to remain high, we must look for ways to allow small businesses to expand and create jobs. Small businesses are engines for job creation—they create 80 percent of new jobs—but the recession has taken a toll on small business owners’ ability to access the credit they need to expand their businesses. A number of initiatives have the potential to increase small business lending to sound borrowers.

June 11, 2010

After Le-Eunice L'Minggio paid a $1,200 down payment and got a financing plan approved for a $8,000 car from Thrifty Car Sales in Melrose Park, IL, she thought that was the end of negotiations on her loan terms. However, USA Today reports, she got a strange call a few days later. The dealership’s finance manager told her she would have to lie to the finance company about her financial situation in order to get a loan. L’Minggio refused and returned her car, but couldn’t get her down payment back. She went to court and won $13,200 in damages, but when her lawyer went to collect, the dealership was out of business.

June 11, 2010

After Le-Eunice L'Minggio paid a $1,200 down payment and got a financing plan approved for a $8,000 car from Thrifty Car Sales in Melrose Park, IL, she thought that was the end of negotiations on her loan terms. However, USA Today reports, she got a strange call a few days later. The dealership’s finance manager told her she would have to lie to the finance company about her financial situation in order to get a loan. L’Minggio refused and returned her car, but couldn’t get her down payment back. She went to court and won $13,200 in damages, but when her lawyer went to collect, the dealership was out of business.

June 8, 2010

While strong financial reform bills have passed the House and the Senate, the fight for meaningful reform is not over. This Thursday, House and Senate conferees are slated to start negotiations on the final version of the bill.
We need your help to make sure that the consumer financial protection agency that emerges from the conference is strong and independent, covers all financial products, and sets rules that are a floor, not a ceiling.

June 7, 2010

More women will declare bankruptcy than get college degrees this year. Over one quarter of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked, and 85 percent of these consumers are people of color. For every dollar that white Americans have, Latinos have 12 cents and African-Americans have 10 cents.

May 21, 2010

Woodstock Institute applauds the Senate for taking a bold stand on behalf of America’s consumers. The Restoring American Financial Stability Act passed last night lays the groundwork for a healthier financial system that will hold banks accountable, protect consumers, and be more transparent—and, ultimately, help prevent another devastating financial crisis.

May 12, 2010

Woodstock Institute and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) reached out to key Senators on Tuesday to express their support for interstate lending reform, which would ensure that out-of-state lenders could no longer supersede state interest rate limits that apply to local banks, credit unions, and other lenders.

May 11, 2010

Do car dealers charge you an up-front fee before you step onto the lot?  Does a real estate agent to charge you a fee before he or she shows you a home?  Obviously not.  But for years, debt settlement companies have gotten away with charging high fees before providing consumers with any debt relief at all.  That’s about to change, however, as the Illinois General Assembly moved to ensure that debt settlement companies get paid for the work they do, not for the work they promise to do in the future, by passing the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act (HB4781).

April 23, 2010

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, safe and sustainable credit will be necessary to revitalize neighborhoods, especially in those communities that have been hardest hit. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has driven trillions of dollars of safe and sound credit into low-wealth communities since its enactment in 1977. Experts from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the National Urban League, National People’s Action, and more made the case at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the CRA that expanding and modernizing this critical tool would help get America back on the path to recovery. Currently, the CRA Modernization Act of 2009 contains the important provisions critical to updating and expanding the CRA, although we expect a revised bill to be released this year.

April 16, 2010

Woodstock Institute and over 300 local and national consumer and community organizations called for immediate Congressional action on a proposal to put Americans back to work and prevent more layoffs and cuts in crucial frontline services.  The proposal, the Local Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4812), would provide $100 billion over two years, creating or saving 750,000 jobs providing local services and 250,000 education jobs.

April 15, 2010

As some of us scramble to file our income tax returns, others have long since filed. Unfortunately, many lower-wealth tax filers who need the assistance of tax preparers got ripped off with high-cost preparation fees and refund anticipation loans, or RALs – to the tune of $114 million in Illinois in 2006 alone. Faster delivery of refunds by the Internal Revenue Service and a little patience by tax filers can eliminate the demand for RALs, but many will still need the assistance of tax preparers to file their returns. How can tax filers pay for tax preparation services without getting caught up in RALs?

April 7, 2010

In the current economic environment, one of the most significant challenges for a new financial institution is raising the substantial level of capital required to begin operations.  Currently, a financial institution must be operating to receive certification and be eligible for funding from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund.  A recent Woodstock Institute request to Treasury asked to change this policy and allow financial institutions planning to operate as a CDFI to qualify for funding.

Tags: CDFIs, policy

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