Americans of all partisan identities, and across all regions of the United States, strongly support enacting new consumer protections on high-interest lending during the coronavirus crisis. Americans are highly supportive of prohibiting all high-interest loans during the crisis and of capping interest rates for consumer loans, according to a new bipartisan poll from Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting.
Letter calling on Congress to include consumer protections in COVID-19 relief
In The News: Trump Appointees Manipulated Agency’s Payday Lending Research, Ex-Staffer Claims (The New York Times)
Linda Jun, a senior policy counsel for Americans for Financial Reform, a consumer advocacy group: “To this day, despite many people asking, they haven’t provided anything about the basis for changing this rule beyond some vague references to new research. It’s hard to see the reversal as anything other than political.”
Letter to Regulators: Fifty Organizations call for Transparency In Federal Reserve/Treasury Emergency Assistance
Note: On the afternoon this letter was sent the Federal Reserve announced it would be providing additional transparency in 13(3) facilities. See our comment linked here for earlier AFR Edcucation Fund communications with the Federal Reserve on this issue. Download a pdf of the letter
In The News: Who’s getting these hundreds of billions in government aid? For now, the public may be in the dark. (The Washington Post)
Critics also noted that while the central bank has to share some basic information about the loans, other details, such as how many employees the company has retained or the compensation for its chief executive, might never be shared publicly. “We should ask for the actual deal documents. Why wouldn’t you make those public?” said Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform.
As organizations that represent the interests of American workers, small businesses, and consumers we applaud Representative Jayapal on a bill that finally puts American workers and small businesses ahead of corporations. This is exactly the type of program we need to keep people on payroll and connected to their important health benefits, address our ballooning unemployment, and lay the foundations for economic recovery.
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses shuttered by COVID-19 are at risk of closing for good in the coming weeks without direct subsidies. Very small businesses and those with historically limited access to capital are especially vulnerable. With little or no revenue coming in, entire sectors of the small business economy face extinction. Tens of millions of jobs are at stake – along with health care, sick leave, retirement, and other important benefits.
A letter signed by 36 consumer, civil rights, community, housing, and other public interest organizations asking FHFA to prioritize providing in-language resources on COVID-19 relief options and outreach so that borrowers with limited English proficiency will be able to understand their options and access the help they need to weather this unprecedented public health crisis.
Today, under the cover of a national crisis, five federal bank regulators issued small dollar bank lending guidance that lacks the consumer protections needed to ensure loans do not trap borrowers in a cycle of debt.
The recommendations below are focused on direct relief for consumers and individuals with debt burdens, which should be in addition to other efforts to provide broader fiscal relief and to support small businesses.