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NCLC in the News

Select media clips. Journalists interested in speaking with an expert at the National Consumer Law Center should contact Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617.542,8010).

Press Releases

National Consumer Law Center Resources to Help Communities Cope with Financial Devastation after a Natural Disaster Strikes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2018
National Consumer Law Center Contact: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010

Washington, D.C. - Hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters can upend families and communities, but long after TV crews have departed the long road to rebuilding begins. To help households, especially the most vulnerable, recover from financial devastation after a disaster strikes, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has created a free Disaster Relief toolkit.
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Statement of Former Members of Disbanded Consumer Advisory Board in Response to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Appointing new Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 || CONTACTS: National Consumer Law Center: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010

Texas Appleseed: Kelli Johnson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (512) 473-2800 ext. 103

The below-listed members of the former Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) that was disbanded by Acting Director Mulvaney in June of this year issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the appointment of a new CAB.

“We are disappointed that the current administration of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) chose to only appoint nine members to this new CAB. While each of the individual members is qualified in her or his own right, the fact that there are so few of them means that Acting Director Mulvaney’s CAB lacks sufficient diversity and depth of perspective. There are only 2 consumer advocates, whereas there were at least 8 advocates on the former 25 member CAB. Ironically, there are no large financial institutions, major credit card providers, or debt collectors on this new CAB. While these sectors probably have other opportunities for access with the CFPB, one of the most valuable aspects of the recently disbanded CAB was that it provided a forum for fruitful and productive conversations among a variety of stakeholders in consumer finance, which often generated valuable insights for the Bureau and the CAB members. This will be missing from the new CAB. The lack of a multitude of perspectives is ironic given that a stated reason for disbanding the former CAB was to increase the diversity of viewpoints on the Board.

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Statement Regarding Resignation of Seth Frotman, Student Loan Ombudsman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2018 ||  Contact: Persis Yu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.g); Stephen Rouzer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (202) 320-8394

WASHINGTON – Today, Seth Frotman announced that he is resigning as the Student Loan Ombudsman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to his letter of resignation, the current administration “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures,” and “abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.”

Persis Yu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and director of NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project issued the following statement:

“Frotman’s charge that the current administration is betraying the trust of 44 million student loan borrowers is deeply troubling for those who rely on the Bureau to ensure that they are not being ripped off and abused by their lender, servicer, or debt collector. Student loan borrowers need a watchdog that will listen to the evidence and put borrowers’ interests above big business.

“Under Frotman’s leadership, the Office of Students and Young Consumers has uncovered systemic abuses in student loan servicing, prompting important reforms to the industry. Critically, the Office uncovered problems with the U.S. Department of Education’s implementation of income-driven repayment plans, eventually leading to a lawsuit against student loan servicer Navient for practices that caused borrowers to pay thousands of additional dollars on their federal student loans and added years to their repayment.

“Unfortunately, Frotman’s allegations that the current administration is undercutting enforcement of the law raise concerns about the future of the Navient lawsuit as well as future enforcement of known abusive practices.

“For years, the National Consumer Law Center has documented servicer and debt collector abuses that can cost borrowers thousands of dollars and years of repayment. At their worst, student loan servicing and debt collection abuses result in the seizure of Earned Income Tax Credits and Social Security benefits that threaten low-income borrowers’ ability to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and pay for critical prescription medication. The student loan industry needs accountability and oversight by a strong Consumer Bureau focused on protecting students and other consumers.”

Department of Education Proposes to Abandon Rule Protecting Students and Taxpayers from Schools that Fail to Deliver Value

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2018 ||  Contact: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010

BOSTON – Abby Shafroth, attorney with the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project , issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s proposal to abandon the “gainful employment rule”:

“The gainful employment rule is a basic, commonsense safeguard designed to protect students and taxpayers by ensuring that federal dollars do not flow to schools that consistently fail to deliver sufficient value to students to enable them to afford their student loans. The rule protects millions of Americans enrolled in career training programs and provides incentives for schools to reduce their costs and increase their value. Today the U.S. Department of Education proposed to abandon the rule entirely.

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National Consumer Law Center, ACLU & Color of Change Praise Senate Inquiry into Predatory Bail Industry Practices

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2018
CONTACTS:
Ryan Karerat, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice, (212) 284-7388, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jan Kruse, National Consumer Law Center, (617) 542-8010, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Troy Blackwell, Color of Change, (646) 828-0844, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WASHINGTON — Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) yesterday sent a letter to insurance companies that underwrite over $2 billion a year in bail bonds expressing concern about potential predatory practices in the bail industry. The letter also requests information on the steps these companies take to protect consumers and curb abusive practices.
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Booker, Brown Bill Would Rein in Abusive Overdraft Fees that Cost Consumers Billions Every Year

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Stop Overdraft Profiteering Act to crack down on unfair overdraft fees. The bill would establish reasonable safeguards for checking account holders; restore transparency to the checking account market; and ultimately encourage banks to expand responsible small dollar loan offerings rather than perpetuate harmful overdraft fee practices. Abusive overdraft fees strip billions every year from the pockets of American families, often through practices designed to maximize overdraft revenue for banks. Overdraft fees, typically $35 each, are frequently triggered by small debit card transactions that are much less than the fee itself.
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Bipartisan Robocall Issue Draws Contrasting Response in U.S. Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2018
National Consumer Law Center contacts: Margot Saunders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (202) 595-7844; Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (617) 542-8010

Senate Democrats Urge FCC to Strengthen the Rules to Limit Robocalls; Senate GOP Seeks Leniency for Robocallers

WASHINGTON – Seven Republican Senators, led by Senator John Thune of South Dakota, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that would allow Wall Street banks, payday lenders, retailers, and other large businesses to robocall consumers’ cell phones with impunity. The GOP Senators’ letter stands in contrast to a recent letter to the FCC from 15 Democratic Senators and one Independent, led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who urged stronger rules to stop all unwanted robocalls and hold bad corporate actors accountable.

“Robocalls are universally disliked by voters, and stopping abusive and unwanted calls is truly a bipartisan issue,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center. “While senators from both parties acknowledge the pervasive nature of robocalls, it is disappointing to see the GOP senators’ letter urge the FCC to dial back consumer protections at a time when they are so desperately needed.”
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New OCC "Fintech" Charter Could Open the Floodgates to Predatory Lending

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 31, 2018

Contacts: National Consumer Law Center: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (617) 542-8010;
Americans for Financial Reform: Carter Dougherty (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (202) 251-6700; Center for Responsible Lending: Ricardo Quinto (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (202) 349-1866

Special purpose “national bank” charters will allow nonbank lenders to ignore state interest rate caps

WASHINGTON – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) plan, announced today, to accept applications for “fintech” national bank charters, is both outside its authority and risks an expansion of predatory lending across the country, according to advocates at the National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Consumer Federation of America, and U.S. PIRG. National banks can ignore state interest rate limits, and the OCC is now planning to grant “national bank” charters to lenders that do not take deposits or otherwise function as traditional banks. A report released today by the U.S. Treasury Department also recommends that the OCC grant such charters. In 2017, more than 250 organizations sent a letter to the OCC opposing a fintech national bank charter.

“State interest rate limits are the primary protection against predatory lending, and giving ‘national bank’ charters to nonbank lenders could open the floodgates to a wide range of predatory actors making loans at 100 percent APR or higher,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center. Two-thirds of the states cap a $2,000 loan at 36 percent or less, but a nonbank charter could allow lenders to avoid those limits.
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