News Release: New Report and Consumer Alert Flag Deceptive Auto Repair Financing Practices

WASHINGTON – A report released today by the Stop The Debt Trap coalition finds auto repair shops across the country are offering predatory loans through EasyPay Finance and Transportation Alliance Bank (TAB Bank) that promise no interest if paid in 90 days but end up carry annual interest rates up to 189% – even in states where a rate that high is illegal. The report highlights some of the hundreds of complaints detailing deceptive and abusive practices concerning loans by EasyPay Finance, its parent company Duvera Billing Services, and Utah-based bank, TAB Bank, which helps EasyPay evade state laws. EasyPay Finance loans are available at auto repair and tire shops around the country, including at major chains such as AAMCO, Big O Tires, Grease Monkey, JiffyLube, Meineke, Midas, and Precision Tune Auto Care.

News Release: AFR Lauds Confirmation of Lisa Cook to Federal Reserve Board

With the confirmation of Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, we should take a moment to celebrate the historic moment. Lisa Cook will join the board as the first Black woman governor. Philip Jefferson will soon become only the fourth Black man to serve on the board. With Lael Brainard as Vice Chair, the Fed Board, long a preserve of white men, is starting to look more like the country as a whole.

Biden and Trump Both Trashed Private Equity’s Favorite Tax Dodge. Surprise! It’s Still Here.

The concept of carried interest is quite old, and in the right circumstances, makes a good deal of sense. By the 13th century, Venetian investors were offering seafaring merchants a quarter of the overall profits in exchange for selling their goods in foreign markets. That percentage was the carry—it was a return on what we’d call the merchants’ sweat equity. Private equity firms, which pool money from investors such as pension funds and use it to buy and restructure (euphemism alert!) existing companies, borrowed the concept, but not the risk. They typically take a 2 percent annual cut of the assets they manage as a fee, and then a 20 percent share of the profits when those assets are sold. There’s no sweat equity—the only time private equity titans brave the high seas is on a yacht—but there also isn’t much regular equity, either. The firms’ final take is vastly disproportionate to whatever small sum they might have contributed.

News Release: Advocates Applaud Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Move to Require Mortgage Lenders to Obtain Applicants’ Language Preference

WASHINGTON – Today, National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Action, Empire Justice Center, National Community Stabilization Trust, National Fair Housing Alliance, UnidosUS, and National CAPACD applauded the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) announcement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will make it mandatory for lenders to use the Supplementary Consumer Information Form (SCIF) during the loan application process.