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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:19pm
Thu Jun 2, 2016

Federal Consumer Watchdog Proposes Crackdown On Payday Lending Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new regulations Thursday to crack down on the payday lending industry. 

Payday lending provides short-term access to credit, but usually comes with high interest rates, often in the triple digits, and expensive fees.

"The consumer bureau is proposing strong protections aimed at ending payday debt traps," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release. "Too many borrowers seeking a short-term cash fix are saddled with loans they cannot afford and sink into long-term debt. It's much like getting into a taxi just to ride across town and finding yourself stuck in a ruinously expensive cross-country journey. By putting in place mainstream, common-sense lending standards, our proposal would prevent lenders from succeeding by setting up borrowers to fail."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:17pm
Tue Aug 13, 2013

Family On The Brink Of Losing Their Home Asks For Mercy, Loan Modification: 'We're In Big Trouble' (VIDEO)

A family on the verge of homelessness due to foreclosure asked a Cook County Circuit judge on Tuesday if he would turn down TCF National Bank’s Motion for Order of Possession for their house.

Domynika Pawelczak-Gutierrez, 36, who has lived with her family in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood on the 5300 block of South Major Avenue for eight years, said the bank feels entitled to do business as usual, when the conditions under which she is losing her home are “anything but usual.”

The same week her husband lost his job in 2009, her teenage daughter, Hilary, underwent spinal fusion surgery, which forced her to be bedridden and required home care for roughly two months. Pawelczak-Gutierrez said the family was forced to rely on her income as a server to live and pay for Hilary’s medical expenses.

“We’ve been through a lot — I started using credit cards and getting myself more and more in debt. But we’re just starting to start over,” said Pawelczak-Gutierrez, who added that she filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. “I’m running out of options, I don’t know where we’ll go or what we’ll do if we lose the house.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:05pm
Tue Jul 9, 2013

Bank Of America Customers Seek Loan Modifications Amid Whistleblower Scandal (VIDEO)

In light of recent whistleblower allegations from former employees detailing Bank of America’s purported loan modification and foreclosure abuses, protesters descended upon a downtown Chicago branch Tuesday.

Organized by Action Now, two members of the grassroots community organization sought loan modifications from bank officials while a gathering of roughly two-dozen protesters marched and chanted outside.

“We’re trying to put pressure on the bank to do what they’re supposed to do — they’re supposed to help homeowners,” said Tim Rivard, foreclosure outreach coordinator for Action Now. “If we get the bank to start working with us, or working with people who are in trouble with their mortgages, this could set a good precedent.”<--break->

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
9:48am
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Consumer Advocates Highlight Need For Savings Account Programs For Low-Income Americans

Automatically transferring a small amount of money into a basic savings account every month is the easiest and most effective way for low- to moderate-income individuals to save money, according to a recent report by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

“It’s so very important to build up savings, even if it’s just couple hundred, and park it for emergencies,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the CFA, and author of the report, “Savings Accounts: Their Characteristics and Usefullness.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:11am
Fri Jun 7, 2013

Consumer Advocates Say Payday Lending Worsens Debt, Call For Federal Ban

Consumer advocates are calling for a ban on all types of payday lending, saying that without regulatory federal laws, millions of borrowers charged triple-digit annual percentage rates (APR) will continue to be trapped in never-ending cycles of debt.

“Payday lenders destroy wealth in the middle class,” said Robert Lawless, co-director of the University of Illinois Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:47pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Unite Here Workers Oppose Pritzker Nomination For Commerce Secretary

Senate confirmation hearings for Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker’s nomination for U.S. Secretary of Commerce are scheduled for Thursday, but workers from the her family-owned hotel chain are already voicing their opposition to the selection.

“This is not somebody we want in Washington; this is a lady whose business model hurts workers,” said Demetrius Jackson, 25, a lifelong Chicagoan and convention service houseman at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for six years.

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