Category Archives: AFR in the News

In The News: Banks Sell Loans to Private Credit in Balance Sheet Twist (Bloomberg)

“The major driver of the growth in private credit has always been to get around regulations,” said Andrew Park, a senior policy analyst who focuses on private credit at Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington-based coalition of consumer and investor advocates. He pointed to previous ways risk has shifted to non-bank markets when new rules are imposed. “The answer is not loosening bank regulations but rather properly monitoring and containing the risks in the private-credit market,” he said.

In The News: Can private equity accelerate the green transition? (Financial Times)

Aditi Sen, managing director of research and campaigns at Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund … said KKR’s investment in LNG helped fuel a rapid expansion in the US with negative climate impacts. “Like coal-powered plants — there are examples of debt-driven dividend recaps, saddling portfolio companies with interest payments, charging exorbitant management fees; none of that is going to the type of capital-intensive activity that an actual transition would require,” said Sen.

In The News: This New Biden Rule Will Save Americans $2 Billion On Utility Bills (Huffington Post)

Doing so would “decrease burdensome energy costs for future homeowners and renters, which in turn may help lower default risks and loan delinquency rates, and set forth a path to stabilize our shaky housing financial system,” said Jessica Garcia, senior policy analyst for climate finance at Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. “Implementing up-to-date energy codes will help ease the financial strain on homeowners and renters across the country as they fight to remain housed,” Garcia said. “We are encouraged by HUD’s decision, and urge the Federal Housing Finance Agency to follow suit and swiftly adopt the latest energy efficiency codes.”

In The News: SEC Advisory Group Calls for Leveraged ETFs Name Change (Financial Times)

The recommendation of requiring a minimum number of holdings to qualify as an ETF would also effectively make single-stock ETFs illegal, Park noted. “We decided that recommendation was going to be a distraction,” Park said. “Effectively, the genie is out of the bottle on this.” “There’s a difference between losing money because you made a bad trade and losing money because you didn’t know how the product worked,” Park said.

IN THE NEWS: Building Power with Popular Education

In the progressive world, the term is often used interchangeably with political education, but the two are not comparable. That’s because political education centers on its content — it is more “what” than “how.” To be clear, political education isn’t exclusive of popular education. If you want to convey the benefits of ranked choice voting or the mutual aid components of the Black Panther Party, you could just as easily stand at a lectern delivering a monologue as you could opt for a popular education approach, grounded in the experiences in the room. The difference is in method more than content. Popular education uses a horizontal learning structure in which everyone in the room is both teacher and student, no matter the issue being addressed.

In The News: When Private Equity Becomes Your Landlord (ProPublica)

Sara Myklebust, research director at Bargaining for the Common Good Network, an initiative of labor and community groups, worked with [Patrick] Woodall, [research director at] Americans for Financial Reform, to try to survey units owned by large-scale corporate landlords in major cities across the country in 2019. Myklebust and Woodall were interested in whether they could document the consolidation of the market for single-family rentals, manufactured homes and apartments.

In The News: Progressive Opposition to Jerome Powell Clouds His Chances for Second Term as Fed Chairman (The Wall Street Journal)

Reappointing Mr. Powell “would be disappointing” for those who care about Mr. Biden’s agenda to address financial regulation, climate change and racial wealth gaps, said Erik Gerding, a senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit that argues for tougher financial regulation. “Having Jerome Powell continue would just mean one less vote for sustained and healthy regulation of the banking system.”

In The News: Biden’s New Playbook for Greening the Financial System (The Atlantic)

“The nonprofits Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform have released an early copy of their new “roadmap” for climate-finance reform to The Weekly Planet. It’s a guide to what the new executive branch might do to shift the flows of capital toward greener investments.”

“Not that this will be easy. Yesterday, Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, wrote a letter to the San Francisco Fed implying that it should stop researching “climate economics,” labeling the topic “bitterly partisan.” He’s not wrong—climate change is bitterly partisan. But all of the country’s largest banks have issued climate policies nevertheless. And if it is partisan, that is because partisans fought greenhouse-gas regulation for so long that climate change has become a costly and whole-of-society issue. The financial system is where those costs come to roost. Any big problem, ignored for long enough, becomes a financial issue.”