#StopTheDebtTrap Campaign Update August 5, 2015

ON JULY 21st, The Obama Administration and the Department of Defense finalized new Military Lending Act rules to #StopTheDebtTrap for service members.  Men and women in uniform are too often the targets of abusive lending practices. New protections will prevent payday, auto title and other high cost abusive lenders from digging our service members into a debt trap that can put their security clearance and careers at risk.

“…some of the worst abusers, like payday lenders, are exploiting loopholes to trap our troops in a vicious cycle of crushing debt.  So today we’re taking a new step.  The DOD is closing those loopholes so we can protect our men and women in uniform from these predatory lenders.”

President Barack Obama

ON JULY 27th, New Jersey Citizen Action hosted a roundtable discussion with Representative Frank Pallone in recognition of the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and the work of the CFPB.  Payday lending was one of the two main topics of the discussion, along with foreclosures. Check out the below news clip from the event:

Questioning Progress on Dodd-Frank Anniversary

“The vast majority of payday loans are taken out for reoccurring expenses, to pay the rent, to pay the mortgage car payments so those living expenses, not single arbitrary purchases…”

NJ NAACP Economic Development Chair Bruce Davis

ON JULY 23rd, 18 members of National People’s Action from 9 states hand-delivered nearly 300,000 petition signatures to Director Richard Cordray and other top officials. NPA along with allies at AFR, USAction and Rootstrikers launched a petition calling on the CFPB to stand strong and stop payday loan shark attacks.  Nearly 300,000 signatures and personal stories were collected.

“As a young disabled veteran with 2 small children, I fell victim to payday loans and a title loan. Due to the inflated interest rates we almost became homeless! It infuriates me that these practices are still legal over 2 decades later!”

Raejean McDonald

Additionally, ON AUGUST 3rd, AFR, NPA & The Center for Popular Democracy hand-delivered to Director Cordray over 13,500 petition signatures and over 2,000 personalized birthday messages. The petition and messages expressed their support and gratitude for the Bureau’s efforts to safeguard American consumers, families and communities against the deceptive and abusive practices of big banks, credit card companies, and unscrupulous lenders. The above photo is from the petition delivery.

ON JULY 29th, Senator Jeff Merkley (D- OR) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) joined over 125 national, state and local advocates and leaders from across the country on a call to discuss the value of the CFPB over the past 5 years and the direction of upcoming Bureau actions, including crafting rules to rein in the predatory practices of payday, car title and other high cost consumer loans.

Senator Merkley and Representative Waters have been great allies in the fight for a strong and empowered CFPB and for fair practices in consumer lending. Today, both are working to help engage a large community in our work to #StopTheDebtTrap.

  • Senator Merkley, in July, released the above video, educating the public about the dangerous and predatory practices of payday loan sharks.
  • At a roundtable organized by Ranking Member Waters in July, the Congresswoman called on public employee retirement plans and university endowments to divest from a payday lending industry that traps families in a cycle of debt.  Read the full release here.