Letter to Congress: Renewed Call for Credit and Debt Protections in COVID-19 Relief

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Renewed Call for Credit and Debt Protections to Address

Financial Distress From COVID-19


May 1, 2020


Dear Member of Congress,


Millions of people and small businesses in the United States are experiencing tremendous financial distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is skyrocketing and families are struggling to put food on the table. Congress and the administration need to enact broad-based, efficient, and effective relief that goes far beyond the CARES Act to protect people’s homes, cars, bank accounts, income, and benefits so that they can weather this crisis. These measures should include:


Imposing a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions for the duration of the pandemic. This moratorium should apply to all types of mortgages and all kinds of housing, including cooperatives and manufactured homes, whether titled as real or personal property. Protecting every home is necessary for families to follow social distancing protocols. The moratorium should also extend to commercial and mixed use properties to protect small businesses from losing their place of business.


Stopping termination of utility services. Shut-offs of water/sewer, gas, electricity, telecommunication services and broadband, along with late fees and penalties, should be suspended during this emergency for all consumers and small businesses. Disconnected customers should be reconnected to these essential services immediately so that households can remain safely in place.


Halting all debt collection activity. Debt collection activity by collectors, creditors, and government entities should be suspended. Debt collectors should not be allowed to start new lawsuits and pending cases should be stayed. All new and existing garnishments, setoffs, and car repossessions should be stopped, and all requests to stop automatic payments should be promptly honored.


Preventing predatory lending.  Predatory lenders are likely to use the crisis as an opportunity to take advantage of vulnerable consumers and small businesses facing acute financial distress and profiteer off exploitative high-cost loans. Interest rates on any new credit extended during the emergency should be capped and there should be clear and enforceable prohibitions against predatory lenders and other profiteers taking advantage of people during a health crisis and severe economic stress.


Preventing accrual of additional fees and interest. No late fees, default interest or compounding interest should accrue for any debt until the pandemic eases significantly and normal employment patterns resume. Banks should stop charging overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees.


Requiring payment forbearance and flexible repayment options for all types of payment obligations. Mortgage companies, landlords, banks, auto lenders, and other creditors should be required to provide forbearances on payments for the duration of the crisis. Forbearances should remain in place for a period after the health crisis abates to allow people and small businesses to get back on their feet financially before having to begin repayment. Creditors, landlords, utility providers and others should not be allowed to demand lump sum full payment after the forbearance period, but be required to offer flexible and affordable repayment options, including forgiveness, term extensions for fixed credit obligations, reasonable repayment plans, and loan modifications.


Prohibiting negative credit reporting.  No one should see their credit record harmed as a result of the pandemic. There should be a permanent moratorium on all negative credit reporting related to payments missed during the crisis and longer protections upon request for people who face lasting financial hardship from the outbreak.


Workers, communities and small businesses need greater protections from Congress to maintain their homes, cars, and finances during this public health emergency. As the country takes all measures necessary to preserve life and health, these financial protections will better enable the millions of people suffering economic hardship to get through the pandemic as safely as possible and provide them the opportunity to rebuild once the emergency is over.




Americans for Financial Reform

9to5, National Association of Working Women


Action Center on Race and the Economy

Action Housing Inc.

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

Advocates for Children and Youth

Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Alaska PIRG

Allied Progress

America’s Voice

American Family Voices

Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

Arizona PIRG

Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending

Arkansas Community Organizations

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development

Brazos Valley Financial Fitness Center

Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition

California Reinvestment Coalition


Center for Community Progress

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Economic Integrity

Center for Indigenous People’s Studies, CSBS – California State University, San Bernardino

Center for NYC Neighborhoods

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy

Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)

Cleveland End Poverty Now Coalition

Coalition of Labor Union Women

Columbia Consumer Education Council

Committee in Solidarity with México

Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM)

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Congregation of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Connecticut Association For human Services, Inc

Connecticut Fair Housing Center

Connecticut Legal Services, Inc.


Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Reports

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety

Consumers for Quality Care

Convencion Bautista Hispana de Texas


Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc.


Director, University of Wisconsin Consumer Law Clinic

East Bay Community Law Center

Economic Justice Ministries of the United Church of Christ

Empire Justice Center

Equal Voice Action

Equality North Carolina

Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

Fair Share Housing Center of New Jersey

Faith in Texas

Florida Consumer Action Network

Florida PIRG

Georgia PIRG

Georgia Rising

Georgia Watch

Global Policy Solutions

Greater Boston Legal Services, On behalf of its low-income clients

Greenlining Institute

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights

Hispanic Federation

Home Preservation and Prevention Inc, d/b/a HPP Cares

Hoosier Action

Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, Inc.

Housing Community Development Network of NJ

Housing Equality Law Project – HELP

Housing Partnerships, Inc. dba Thrive Alliance

Illinois PIRG

Indiana Catholic Conference

Indiana Institute for Working Families

Indiana PIRG


Innovative Changes

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)


Ironbound Community Corporation

Jesuit Social Research Institute

Justice in Aging

Kentucky Equal Justice Center

La Casa de Don Pedro

Legal Aid Justice Center

Lincoln Hills Development Corporation

Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry NJ

Main Street Alliance

Maine Center for Economic Policy

Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc. (MCCOY)

Maryland PIRG


Maui Economic Opportunity Inc

Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council

Michigan League for Public Policy

Michigan Poverty Law Program

Missouri Faith Voices

Mobilization for Justice

Montana Organizing Project



Mountain State Justice

Muslim Caucus of America

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)



NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

National Association of Consumer Advocates

National Center for Law and Economic Justice

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)

National Coalition for the Homeless

National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)

National Community Stabilization Trust

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)

National Employment Law Project

National Employment Lawyers Association

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Housing Law Project

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Women’s Law Center

NC Child


New Economics for Women

New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Jersey Tenants Organization


NJ Communities United



North Carolina Justice Center

North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance

Northwest Side Housing Center



Organize! Ohio

Our Children Oregon

PathWays PA


Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Pershing Field Neighborhood Association

PFLAG National

PIRG in Michigan (PIRGIM)

Prince George’s CASH Campaign

Prosperity Now

Public Citizen

Public Counsel

Public Good Law Center

Public Justice Center

Public Law Center


RESULTS DC chapter


SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center

Service Employees International Union

Solita’s House Inc

Statewide Poverty Action Network (WA)

Tax March

Tennessee Citizen Action


The Midas Collaborative

The New Georgia Project


Tzedek DC




United Way of Greater Houston

UnKoch My Campus

Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

Virginia Organizing

Virginia Poverty Law Center


Voices for Progress


West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice


Women Employed

Woodstock Institute

Working In Neighborhoods