Consumer Lending Reform - Blog Posts
This week was the most active week in Springfield so far this year. Friday, April 8 is the deadline for bills to pass out of committee. For Woodstock and our legislative priorities, the week was mostly successful.
Leading up to and since the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) conference in March, Woodstock Institute has been part of the surge in work on, and interest in, small business lending and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) issues at local and national levels.
Illinois’s legislative session is in full swing, and Woodstock is monitoring many bills that fall within the scope of our mission: to create a just financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities as well as people and communities of color can achieve economic security and prosperity. Here are some of the bills that we are supporting this session.
Hi, everyone. I’m very excited to be working as Woodstock Institute’s new Communications and Development Associate. Woodstock has a lot of exciting projects for the coming year, and I look forward to a unique and interesting experience adapting Woodstock’s communications and development strategies to frame and highlight developments on the policy and research side.
2015 was a big year for Woodstock Institute and allies working to expand opportunities for workers to save for retirement and to receive unbiased investment advice. Please take action on two retirement issues described below.
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) passed HR 1731, “Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act,” last week. This bill sets limits to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) jurisdiction over auto financing products. Both Illinois congressmen on the HFSC, Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), voted in favor of the bill. Now the bill goes to the full House of Representatives. Woodstock Institute is disappointed that our elected officials on the HFSC voted in favor of HR 1731.We strongly urge Congress to vote against this bill to keep consumers safe from exploitive car finance products.
It was very fitting that the Obama Administration and Department of Defense (DoD) released the final Military Lending Act (MLA) rules on the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank) and the fourth anniversary of the launch of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on July 21, 2015. The final MLA rules are a great example of how to conduct evidence-based policymaking to protect consumers from unfair and abusive financial products and practices.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently asked the public what it can do to improve student loan servicing through a request for information (RFI). Response to the RFI, which closed on Monday, was overwhelming: over 30,000 people and organizations submitted comments. We submitted our own comment letter as well as joined with over 100 organizations from across the country urging the CFPB to improve student loan servicing. Many student loan borrowers told stories about their difficulties repaying their loans, like these borrowers who we profiled in our comment letter about Sallie Mae earlier this month:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is collecting consumer comments about student loan servicing until July 13. This process lets the CFPB know about potential consumer protection risks and could be the first step towards regulating the massive student loan servicing industry, so we urge you to tell the CFPB about your experiences repaying your student loans and whether you have encountered trouble seeking an affordable repayment plan, getting your payments applied correctly, communicating with your servicer, or other issues.
Woodstock Institute has called for the Department of Education to provide debt relief for students of Corinthian Colleges, which recently went out of business after the Department of Education took action against the chain for misrepresenting its programs and failing to comply with federal aid regulations. The Department of Education announced Monday that it would make changes to the program to enable more students who attended Corinthian Colleges to cancel their student loan debts.
Student debt is frequently viewed as investment in the future, since taking on this debt allows students to attend college and access more employment opportunities upon graduation. For millions of for-profit college students, however, student loans turn out to be a bad investment. For-profit college students are more likely to graduate with more debt and experience fewer job options than students at public and nonprofit schools. At the Community Investment Awards, Woodstock Institute will host a panel to discuss this important issue and what we can do to address it.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL 8) went to great lengths last week to ensure that expansions to the Military Lending Act, proposed by the Department of Defense (DoD) and supported by Woodstock Institute and advocates across the country, would go into effect as planned.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Senator Dick Durbin are taking a stand for student loan borrowers by urging the federal government to forgive the federal student loans of Corinthian Colleges students. Student loans are often regarded as “good debt”: they help consumers build their assets by giving them access to more prestigious and higher-paying jobs. However, an unwelcoming job market has left student loan borrowers with fewer job options and thus fewer opportunities to pay back their debt. One of the populations that was the hit the hardest is for-profit college students. Woodstock Institute research shows that for-profit college students are graduating with more debt and fewer job opportunities than their peers.
Higher education has long been one of the keys to attaining the American Dream; however, skyrocketing student debt has turned the dream into a nightmare for many in our country. With challenges ranging from deficient student loan servicing to predatory for-profit colleges, millions of borrowers need help as they struggle to pay off their loans. Rohit Chopra, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Student Loan Ombudsman, stands out as a leader in student debt reform.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the “Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act” on Tuesday to protect borrowers of high-cost, short-term loans from usurious interest rates. The exploitative practices of many payday lenders leave consumers in financial ruin. Woodstock Institute and partners from across the country have been pushing for decades for stronger regulations of high-cost, short-term loans to prevent high interest rates and practices that exploit the financially disadvantaged.
This Women’s History Month, we at Woodstock Institute are reflecting on how women are still at a disadvantage in the areas of income and wealth and what can be done to address that disparity. One of the common ways in which people build assets is by purchasing a home. Woodstock Institute’s research has shown that women are at a distinct disadvantage in obtaining mortgage credit. The Unequal Opportunity report found that applications from women were less likely than applications from men to be originated and that female-headed joint applications were less likely than male-headed joint applications to be approved. We are completing follow-up research which includes a look into whether certain neighborhoods experience more gender disparities in access to mortgage credit than others and suggestions for policy and practice solutions to expand women’s access to mortgage credit.
In an important move against deceptive and abusive debt collection tactics, the U.S. Department of Education severed ties with Pioneer Credit Recovery, Navient’s debt collection arm, and four other debt collection agencies. Woodstock Institute applauds the Department of Education for ending its relationships with debt collectors that mislead students about their options.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published a report detailing how loopholes in the Military Lending Act (MLA) are negatively affecting the military servicemembers it was designed to protect. When Congress passed the MLA, its purpose was to protect military servicemembers from predatory lending practices. That was back in 2007, and now the Department of Defense (DoD) has proposed revisions to the MLA that will close some of the loopholes.
The spring Illinois legislative session just came to an end. Here are highlights of what happened in Springfield on issues affecting wealth-building opportunities for Illinoisans:
Last year, thousands of consumers filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding financial products. In Illinois, complaints from consumers focused on mortgage services, banking services, credit cards, and other critical services.
Westwood College, a for-profit university, attracts students with a promise of a law enforcement career upon graduation.
You may have heard about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but what can it do for you and your constituents?
Nearly a year ago, Woodstock launched our online data portal in order to deliver meaningful data on the Chicago six county region for our community partners in a user-friendly way.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is in the “late stages” of making a rule to regulate payday lenders. It is critical to let them know that the rule should not include loopholes that lenders can exploit to make expensive, unregulated loans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) made allegations last week that one of the nation’s largest for-profit colleges, ITT Educational Services, is pushing students into high-cost student loans that are built to fail. This is the CFPB’s first enforcement action against a for-profit college.
Every year Woodstock Institute staff and dozens of allies from Illinois go to Washington, DC, in the spring to galvanize the community reinvestment movement, learn about the latest developments, and visit our elected officials and regulators. 2014 is no different.