Consumer Lending Reform - Blog Posts

December 5, 2013

A recent report from the UK-based Community Finance Solutions at the University of Salford and Woodstock Institute calls for the United Kingdom (UK) to adopt a banking disclosure act similar to laws in the United States (US).

December 2, 2013

I recently read an eye-opening book entitled “Scarcity: Why Having So Little Matters So Much,” by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. It’s about how scarcity of time, money, food, and sleep affects our brains, creating a tunnel vision.

November 12, 2013

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced last week that it will begin collecting consumer complaints on payday loans.

October 14, 2013

Chicagoans had an opportunity last week to voice their concerns about different types of consumer credit to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Richard Cordray.

September 24, 2013

We have a unique opportunity to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) our concerns at a hearing CFPB will hold in Chicago on October 2.

August 22, 2013

Is student debt keeping you up at night? You’re not alone: student debt loads now reach more than $1 trillion across the country and much of the debt isn’t being repaid

August 9, 2013
The men and women who serve our armed forces are uniquely vulnerable to debt traps caused by high-cost credit products.
July 26, 2013

In the early 1970s, Aaron and Sylvia Scheinfeld were unhappy with the state of things in the Chicago region. Redlining, predatory lending, and inequality plagued the area.

July 2, 2013
It’s coming down to the wire to make sure that Richard Cordray is confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
June 27, 2013

The recent focus on payday loans by federal regulators is causing some payday lenders to modify their products from traditional short-term loans to longer installment loans in the hope that longer-term loans may fall outside the scope of anticipated regulations. 

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. 

Dory Rand
May 16, 2013
 Last month fair lending advocates cheered when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation proposed new guidance that would require banks under their supervision that offer bank payday or deposit advance products to comply with traditional...
May 14, 2013
Bank regulators released proposed rules on April 30 that, at long last, would enact strong consumer protections for “deposit advance products”—essentially, payday loans offered by a mainstream bank. To hear it from the banks, making sure that borrowers can pay back loans and...
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 17, 2013
Major federal policy decisions are so often made without consideration of what reality is like outside of the Beltway. One of our key goals at Woodstock is to make sure that the voices of people working on the ground in Illinois are heard by decision-makers in Washington, D.C.
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.
August 22, 2011

One of the exciting aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which opened its doors on July 21, is that we finally have a federal regulator for non-bank financial institutions, like independent mortgage lenders and payday lenders. But the CFPB will not have the authority the regulate other non-bank financial institutions, like consumer finance companies, debt settlement companies or prepaid card providers unless it finds that they are larger participants in the market. It’s heartening to see that one of the CFPB’s first orders of business is to define the scope of non-bank financial institutions it will regulate so it can get to work protecting consumers regardless of where they conduct their financial business.

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.

April 1, 2011

Debt protection and credit insurance are high-cost, low-value products that are poorly understood by consumers and inadequately monitored by regulators. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act should shed some light on these often shady products.

March 21, 2011

On Friday, March 18th, Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Quinn ruled that Illinois Lending Corporation (plaintiff) did not meet the standards for issuing a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

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.

January 6, 2011

2010 was a heartening year for consumer advocates working to eliminate income tax refund anticipation loans (RALs), the high-cost loans that strip assets from low-wealth tax filers. First, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the federal regulator of national banks, issued a policy statement regulating the provision of RALs that strengthened its hand compared to previously unenforced policies. On the heels of that announcement, Chase announced it was leaving the RAL business. Chase was the second of the three major banks who provided RALs to withdraw, following Santa Barbara Bank & Trust’s forced exit in 2009. In August, the IRS announced it would stop facilitating the preparation of RALs by providing information on a borrower’s debts to tax preparers. Finally, the year ended with more happy news: the OCC ordered the third main RAL provider, HSBC, to stop providing RALs, leaving H&R Block without a bank partner for the upcoming tax season. Republic Bank and Trust, an FDIC-regulated bank that is currently the last bank around to provide RAL financing, is even limiting the amount of funding available to its RALs, including those arranged by Jackson Hewitt. With few financing options left for tax preparers who want to make wealth-stripping loans to working families, this could be the beginning of the end for RALs as a meaningful market.