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Charlene Crowell

Stories by Charlene

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Civil rights leaders support crackdown on payday lending

After five years of field hearings, town hall meetings, multiple research reports, and over one million comments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on October 5 a new rule to rein in predatory payday and car-title loans.

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CBC Members Join the Call for Payday Lending Reform

Within days of the October 7 deadline for public comment on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed payday rule, 104 Members of Congress from 32 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands together called for strong consumer protections, and an end to both regulatory loopholes and predatory debt traps.

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Consumers want action on illegal debt collection

If you are one of the 77 million Americans who are hounded each year by debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking on this $13 billion industry. At a July 28 field hearing in Sacramento, Richard Cordray, CFPB Director, announced the Bureau’s intent to rein in illegal practices that harass and rob consumers.

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Honor Dr. King by securing financial justice

As our nation pauses once again in memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., observances across the country will recall his now world-famous Dream. Delivered in a blistering summer’s heat in 1963, the speech attracted over 250,000 people gathered in Washington and millions more who watched on television.

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Don’t let small dollar loans ruin your holidays

In this wonderful time of the year when family and friends gather in good cheer to celebrate the holidays, nearly everyone has a number of lists. From greeting cards to shopping for gifts, decorations and more, lists are made and reviewed to keep pace with the barrage of seasonal activities.

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Banks Caught Redlining Black Communities

The old adage, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ seems somehow an apt description for what a growing number of communities are suffering: a lack of fair lending.

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New forms of predatory lending

Over the past decade, no state has authorized either predatory payday or car title loans. That consumer financial progress came about through a combination of state and local advocates working with state lawmakers to bring a sense of financial fairness to their local communities.

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Car dealers charge exorbitant interest rates

Car lending is on the rise, and rising with it is a hidden, unfair, abusive and discriminatory practice: car dealer interest rate markups. Surveys show that at least two-thirds of Americans have no idea it happens.

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Discriminatory auto loans bring Honda purchasers $24M restitution

Car lending is on the rise, and rising with it is a hidden, unfair, abusive and discriminatory practice: car dealer interest rate markups.

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Supreme Court ruling preserves key fair housing tool

A long-awaited decision by the United States Supreme Court led to a June 25 ruling that preserves the usage of 'disparate impact', an important legal principle sometimes known as the discriminatory effects standard. The majority opinion held that housing discrimination under the nation's 1968 Fair Housing Act (FHA) occurs by effect -- as well as by intent.

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Financial Predators Target Active-Duty Military Members

The men and women who wear our nation's uniform are expected to defend our nation at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to financial services, service members are not always been protected in return.

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Is Your Student Enrolled at an Overdraft U?

Research Finds High-Cost, Overdraft Loans Tied to Student Bank Accounts

It's an encouraging sign that an increasing number of students are completing high school and then enrolling in college. That's a good thing.

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As Loan Debts Rise, Foreclosures Dip

A new economic analysis by the New York Federal Reserve Bank found fewer foreclosures, bankruptcies and credit card delinquencies. However the rates of delinquent auto and student loans are worse than before.

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A Boost for the American Dream

About 800,000 homeowners whose mortgages were backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) could save $900 annually on mortgage costs, due to a small reduction in mortgage insurance (MI) premiums. President Barack Obama made the announcement in a recent speech in Phoenix, one of the cities hardest hit by the nation’s housing crisis.

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Make Economic Justice 2015’s New Year’s Resolution

In recent months the groundswell of activism regarding Black America’s lack of criminal justice has become nearly daily headline news. Demonstrations spanning the nation and many parts of the globe have called for justice for those lives taken by questionable and fatal police behavior.

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Discrimination in Car Dealer Financing

A diverse group of civil rights leaders representing Blacks, Latinos and Asian-Pacific Islanders have joined forces to call for major changes in auto dealer compensation. Together, the organizations are calling for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use its rule-making authority to stop dealer markups on auto interest rates that in 2009 cost consumers $25.8 billion in extra interest payments.

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Growing Push to Stop Payday Loan Debt Trap

Bridgeton NJ Mayor Albert B. Kelly says practice leads to loans with “outrageous interest rates...”

In recent weeks a consistent drum beat against predatory lending’s small dollar loans has reached regulators and legislators alike. Broad consensus on the real-life harms caused by these lending products has united consumers in all 50 states and forged an unprecedented call of concern linking 467 organizations including civil rights leaders, clergy, labor, veterans, elder and consumer advocates.

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For-Profit Colleges Targets People of Color

Weeks before the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) announces a new rule governing career education programs, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has released research that finds high-cost, for-profit colleges make millions each year by targeting students of color.

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Black Consumers Still Left Behind in Recovering Mortgage Market

When it comes to assessing the nation’s housing industry, one key measure that all housing industry stakeholders take note of is the annual Home Mortgage Disclosure Act report, commonly referred to as HMDA. Nationwide, mortgage lenders are required to report a wealth of data on mortgage applications, originations and denials. These public data also include the racial composition of these key metrics.

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Ending the Payday Lending Debt Trap

In just a few days, the debt trap at the core of small-dollar loans that come with triple digit interest rates and debt traps has generated an unprecedented groundswell of national and local attention.

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Average $34 overdraft fee costs 17,000 % interest

Overdraft fees drain dollars available to consumers

Consumers who maintain low and no cushions in their checking accounts may have thought that the overdraft ‘banking service’ was a big help against bouncing checks. But as the use of debit cards have replaced most cash purchases, this ‘service’ has become a drain of available cash for consumers and a major source of revenue for banks.

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Payday Lender ACE Cash Express Fined $10 Million

For the second time in as many years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has fined a major payday lender.

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Debt settlement programs are misleading

You’ve probably heard the advertisements on urban radio urging consumers with at least $10,000 in debt to call a number right away for a financial rescue. Promising to end debt troubles by getting creditors to somehow accept less money than what is owed can sound really appealing.

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Students Should Withdraw from Some Credit Card Programs

As 21st Century employers continue to seek a highly-trained workforce, the marketable value of a college education has never been higher.

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Banks bid farewell to payday loans

More good news keeps coming for consumers in early 2014.

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Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership

Although many economists claim the recession is over, millions of Americans are still reeling from its financial effects.

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Student Loan Bill of Rights

In the aftermath of a recent report that found the lack of student loan servicing standards and information on monies owed, two U.S. Senators will work as a team to create a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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Regulators Crack Down on Payday Lenders

Just in time for the holiday season, three federal regulators have taken two separate actions against payday lending.

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Study: Racial Wealth Gap Growing

Although most Sunday school children are warned against the “love of money,” by adulthood it is the lack of it that becomes the source of many problems.

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Nation’s housing recovery far from equal

Although September 2013 marked the 23rd consecutive monthly drop in the nation’s foreclosures, approximately 902,000 homes remained in some state of foreclosure.

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Coping With Student Loan Repayment

A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that many of the same types of loan servicing problems that affected consumers in the mortgage market are now affecting student loan borrowers.

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Consumer group urges protections from debt collectors

An old adage advises that ‘one man’s pain is another man’s gain’. As consumers nationwide struggle to recover financially from the Great Recession, this adage is also a truism.

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Payday Loans Still a Deliberate Debt Trap

Payday loans – the small loans that come with big fees and triple-digit annual interest rates – pose serious threats to the financial well-being of borrowers.

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Survey: African-American consumers support financial regulation

A recent consumer survey shows that support for financial regulation including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is strong.

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Economic mobility linked to strong middle class communities

Since the onset of the foreclosure crisis, research reports from esteemed universities and policy institutes have generated a still-growing knowledge base that recounts all the rippling effects of what went wrong.

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Civil rights groups call for homeownership to remain affordable

In the midst of varying proposals for housing reform, civil rights leaders are publicly calling for lawmakers to keep mortgage lending affordable and accessible.

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Study finds student loan debt reduces lifetime wealth

A new research report on America’s still-growing student loan debt found that its financial effects can last a lifetime.