Media Center

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

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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Deepak Gupta Joins National Consumer Law Center Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 27, 2018 || Contact: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (617) 542-8010

Deepak Gupta, founding principal of Gupta Wessler PLLC, a national appellate, constitutional and complex litigation firm, has joined the board of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), with locations in Boston and Washington, D.C.

“Deepak’s deep understanding of consumer and constitutional law will provide fresh insight to help advance the National Consumer Law Center’s mission to protect low-income people from abuses in the financial marketplace, said National Consumer Law Center Executive Director Rich Dubois. “After many years of working with Deepak, we are very pleased that he has joined NCLC’s board.”

“National Consumer Law Center has been an indispensable partner to the public-interest legal community for nearly 50 years and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support NCLC’s high-impact litigation and commitment to access to justice for all,” said Deepak Gupta.

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Education Dept. Proposes New Rules that Would Make it Much Harder for Students Harmed by For-Profit Schools to Get Loan Relief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2018

National Consumer Law Center Contacts: Abby Shafroth (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010

Education Department Proposes New Rules that Would Make it Much Harder for Students Harmed by For-Profit Schools to Get Loan Relief

Boston - Today, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new rules, replacing 2016 rules, that would make it much harder for students who are harmed by illegal school conduct or closures to get relief from their federal student loans or to hold schools accountable for illegal conduct. The Department proposes to severely restrict access both to “borrower defense” loan relief for students cheated by predatory schools that used illegal enrollment tactics and to loan relief for students whose schools closed before they completed their education.

“The federal student loan system is supposed to promote economic mobility and provide a ladder to a better future for low-income Americans,” said National Consumer Law Center attorney Abby Shafroth. “But for too many Americans it has done the opposite—putting targets on low-income, financial aid eligible students and veterans who are recruited by predatory institutions focused on growth and profit rather than on education and career training. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Department can and should apply rules that deter schools from lying to students to get them to enroll and that ensure students who were taken advantage of have real access to relief.”
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Advocates, Tribal Groups Seek to Delay Drastic Changes to Program Providing Affordable Voice and Broadband Access in Indian Country

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2018

National Consumer Law Center contacts: Olivia Wein (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (202) 452-6252; Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or (617) 542-8010

Advocates Ask FCC to Delay Implementation of Changes to the Tribal Lifeline Program While D.C. Circuit Completes Review

WASHINGTON -- Today, consumer advocates, alongside tribal, civil rights and faith-based groups, voiced their support for efforts by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority, and wireless service providers (Joint Petitioners), to delay implementation of expansive changes to the Tribal Lifeline Program. The groups sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to delay rule changes outlined in its Fourth Report and Order (Tribal Order), which would disrupt affordable voice and broadband access for thousands in Indian Country, until the conclusion of a review sought by Joint Petitioners in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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NCLC Advocates Applaud CA AG’s Lawsuit Against Navient

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 28, 2018 || Contacts: Persis Yu, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jan Kruse This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (617) 542-8010

Boston - National Consumer Law Center advocates applauded the California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, for taking decisive action today to protect student loan borrowers from abusive student loan servicing practices. Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit against Navient Corporation (Navient) and its subsidiaries, Pioneer and General Revenue Corporation debt collection agencies. The suit alleged misconduct resulting in borrowers being steered into repayment options that were lucrative for the companies and often harmful to borrowers.

“Navient and other federal student loan servicers and debt collectors are the gatekeepers to many of the flexible repayment options offered by the Higher Education Act and thus wield substantial power over the financial stability of nearly 43 million student loan borrowers,” said Persis Yu, director of National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. Unfortunately, as has been extensively documented, the student loan debt collection and servicing industries have long been rife with misconduct. “When servicers and debt collectors act abusively and deceptively, the harm can be long-term and irreparable,” said Yu.

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Banks, Mortgage Servicers, Student Lenders, and Auto Dealers Push FCC to Weaken Consumer Protections from Unwanted Robocalls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2018 || 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

U.S. Chamber, Consumer Bankers Association, Student Loan Servicing Alliance and Others Propose Changes to Key Consumer Protection Law that Would Expose Consumers to Even More Robocalls

WASHINGTON – Comments are due this Thursday, June 28, to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding an inquiry that will determine the fate of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)’s protections against robocalls and robotexts to cell phones. Industry trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the National Mortgage Servicing Association, and large businesses, including Quicken Loans, Navient and Nelnet, Sirius XM Radio, and ADT Security, have urged the FCC to effectively unravel the TCPA -opening the floodgates to unwanted robocalls and texts.
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Trump Nominates Office of Management & Budget’s Kathy Kraninger to Lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 18, 2018 || Contact: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), (617) 542-8010

WASHINGTON – President Trump announced Kathy Kraninger as his nominee for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau late Saturday. Since November 25, 2017, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has also served as acting director of the consumer bureau, an agency that has returned more than $12 billion to consumers but which Mulvaney once described as a “sick, sad” joke.

“Ms. Kraninger does not appear to have any consumer protection experience that qualifies her to lead an important agency that oversees the largest banks and protects the public from risky mortgages, tricks and traps, and other abuses by Wall Street giants,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center.

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Court to CFPB: Payday Lending Rule Compliance Date Stays Intact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2018 II Contacts: Center for Responsible Lending: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 349-1866; Public Citizen: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 503-6768; National Consumer Law Center: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (617) 542-8010; Americans for Financial Reform: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 869-0397

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas today ruled against the request by Mick Mulvaney, the Community Financial Services Association of America, and the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas to delay the compliance date for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule on payday loans.

This spring, industry groups filed suit to invalidate the payday and car title rule and block the consumer bureau from implementing it. Then, the consumer bureau teamed up with the industry groups to ask the judge to stay the payday rule, without litigation. If the court had sided with Mulvaney and the industry and stopped the rule from moving forward, payday lenders would be able to continue to use harmful business models to keep distressed borrowers in a cycle of debt. Consumer advocates and civil rights organizations are calling on the consumer bureau to implement the rule as planned (effective August 19, 2019) to protect consumers from predatory lenders.

The consumer bureau issued the rule last October following broad stakeholder input and more than five years of extensive research confirming that these loans trap borrowers in unaffordable debt, causing severe financial harm. At the heart of the rule is the commonsense requirement that lenders check a borrower’s ability to repay before lending money. In a 2017 poll of likely voters, more than 70 percent of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats said they support this idea. The requirement helps to ensure that a borrower can repay without re-borrowing and without defaulting on other expenses—that is, without getting caught in a debt trap.

The Stop the Debt Trap campaign, made up of more than 750 organizations from across the country, released the following statement:

“The consumer bureau, under the direction of Mick Mulvaney, should never have made this transparent attempt to destroy an important consumer protection around payday lending. Nonetheless, we’re heartened that a federal judge rejected Mulvaney’s attempt, in partnership with predatory payday lenders, to evade the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. “If they had succeeded in persuading the court, Mulvaney and the payday industry would have rolled back an important consumer protection with zero public input. By contrast, the payday rule as it currently stands was the subject of more than five years of public outreach, analysis and comment.”

Public Citizen, Center for Responsible Lending, the National Consumer Law Center, and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund last week filed an amicus brief asking the judge not to stay the rule.