A Historic Day for Payday Lending Reform

From Paul Leonard – CA Director, Center for Responsible Lending


Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announce proposed new guidelines to end the debt trap (abuses in payday, car title, and high-cost installment lending) held a field hearing on payday lending at the Richmond Convention Center, in Richmond, VA, to. As you know, CRL has been poised for this event as a significant step in reining in wealth-draining consumer loans.   I’ve attached our same-day first cut summary and analysis of the proposals as well.

The press seized upon this announcement and CRL’s proactive media work yielded good coverage in: USA Today, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, NPR, LA Times, McClatchy, and International Business Times. This morning CRL President Mike Calhoun was quoted in Huffington Post that strict enforcement of the ability to repay provisions “will help millions of borrowers avoid dangerously high-cost payday and other abusive loans.” Calhoun and Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights Executive Director (and CRL Board Member) both gave testimony at today’s Richmond hearing.

Additionally, President Obama is scheduled to discuss payday lending this afternoon at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, underscoring the importance of stronger consumer protections and increased transparency. The practice is legal in Alabama where vulnerable citizens have been especially hard-hit by triple-digit interest loans. A strong national rule will negate all remaining state authorizations, rendering payday lending illegal in all fifty states.

This is just the first step towards national reform of high-cost payday and car title loans. The CFPB is submitting the proposal to a Small Business Review Panel, and then will release a proposal for public comment. Once the CFPB finalizes a rule, it is expected that lenders will challenge the rule in court. It is critical that anti-predatory lending advocates engage in a steady, sustained drumbeat to ensure enactment of a meaningful, effective final rule in light of strong industry opposition.

Today’s announcement contains hopeful signs that the CFPB is gaining ground in protecting consumers. Of particular note are:

  • As CRL has urged, the proposal is broad in scope, covering short-term payday and car title loans, as well as longer-term, abusive installment loans where the lender has access to the borrower’s bank account or car title; and
  • The CFPB starts with the inclusion of a strong ability to repay standard that requires lenders to review a borrower’s income and financial obligations before making the loan. CRL’s research on the debt trap has clearly shown that this approach is central to effective reform.

CRL does, however, have concerns regarding the proposal. One key concern is that it offers an alternative to the ability to repay assessment for short-term loans that would permit multiple rollovers, and a weak underwriting standard for longer-term loans that does not consider the borrower’s expenses. While limiting repeat short-term loans is an important backstop to address the debt trap, it has flaws as well. These loopholes in the proposal risk undermining the basic principle that lenders should underwrite a borrower’s ability to repay every loan and run the risk of setting the tone for debates at the state level as a federally- approved guideline.

We will continue to mobilize and speak out against the scourge of triple-digit interest rates for as long as it takes. Without effective and continued opposition, payday lenders and other predatory players will attempt to derail the rule and use its failure as an excuse to weaken other measures at both the state and national level. CRL will also delve deeply to analyze the potential impacts of this rule, while reiterating that improvements are needed as well.

Your investment in CRL’s work has helped advance this historic milestone. In 2014, we launched the Campaign to Stop the Debt Trap to generate a tough, comprehensive national rule, continuing more than a decade of policy and research attacking the payday business model while calling attention to the plight of troubled borrowers.

On behalf of CRL and millions of Americans we hope will benefit from regulatory reform, thank you for your steadfast support and for your commitment to ending predatory payday lending. We will keep you updated in the months ahead and welcome your thoughts. In the meantime, please contact me with questions or comments.

For more information click here.


Paul Leonard

CA Director, Center for Responsible Lending

On The Study of African Americans In San Francisco 1960-1990

Monday, March 23, 2015 – by Zenophon A. Abraham

“In 1992, I was employed by Polaris Research and its President Dr. Noel Day in San Francisco, and to be the research economist for a study simply called “African Americans In San Francisco 1960 To 1990″. The study was commissioned by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and it’s “Committee on African American Parity”.

And yes, it was ran by the same Ed Lee who’s now Mayor of San Francisco.

The problem then, as now, was the decline in black population in San Francisco, only at that time it was down to 10 percent, and not the 6 percent of today. (It was at a study period high of 13.4 percent in 1970.)”

Full article here.

Click here for the full PDF report.

Survival School in the Bayview – Next week!

CaptureJoin Senior and Disability Action for Senior and Disability Survival School with Network for Elders! Learn More about community resources, your rights and advocacy!! 


March 25th, April 1st, April 8th and

Monday, April 13, 2015

1:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Bayview Branch of the San Francisco Public Library

Over the course of four weeks, through presentations and interactive activities, we will cover information about benefits, housing, transportation, healthcare, and many other important issues and community resources. Seniors and people with disabilities in the Bayview are especially encouraged to attend.

To register, please contact Sarah Jarmon at 415. 546.1333 x 307 or Beverly Taylor at 415.822.8655

Classes are free of cost, and healthy snacks will be served. The site is wheelchair accessible. To request accommodations for a disability please contact Sarah Jarmon at least 72 hours before the class to help to ensure availability.

Senior and Disability Survival School is a program of Senior and Disability Action.

This class is co-sponsored by Network for Elders. Below is a map of the location, the Bayview Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.


5075 3rd Street is accessible by the T Muni Train, The 23, 24, 44 and 54 Muni Buses service the nearby area. Call 311 for more information about Muni service.


Patient Navigator Training March 19 & 20, 2015

This intensive and complete two-day training held March 19-20, 2015, presented by Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness (formerly Black Coalition on AIDS), will be taught by Dr. Harold Freeman, nationally recognized founder of the “Patient Navigator” concept, a cutting-edge intervention for improving health outcomes in African American communities that was initiated nearly 20 years ago. The training addresses the following:

  • How to connect underserved communities to much needed healthcare services and support.
  • How to navigate the continuum of Outreach, Prevention, Diagnosis and Supportive Care.
  • How to grow more adept at managing the complexities of the current healthcare landscape

For the application and more details, please click here.

The target audience for the training includes health professionals and community members interested in becoming health leaders. Course fee is $995. The training also qualifies for CE units. Questions may be directed to maxine@rafikicoalition.org or (415) 580-0687.

The February 2015 Qualified Pool List for CS-316: As-Needed Community Benefits Professional Consulting Services and Support

The February 2015 Qualified Pool List for CS-316: As-Needed Community Benefits Professional Consulting Services and Support is attached and is also posted on our  webpage: http://www.sfwater.org/bids/bidDetail.aspx?bidid=2904.

You can view the CS-316 As-Needed Community Benefits Professional Consulting Services and Support RFQ: Qualified Pool as of 2/27/2015, by clicking here.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is seeking Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from qualified firms, consultants, and/or non-profit organizations to provide community benefits professional consulting services on an as-needed basis for the Community Benefits Division of the SFPUC External Affairs Bureau.  Qualified organizations will be eligible to apply and compete for future contracts to assist the SFPUC in implementing its Community Benefits and Environmental Justice Policies across the agency, including implementation through the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a 20-year, multi-billion dollar citywide investment to upgrade the ageing sewer system.

Proposers with relevant experience, expertise, and qualifications in one or more of the task categories noted below are encouraged to submit SOQs for each relevant task category. This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will create a pre-qualified list (“Pool”) of consultants, firms, and/or nonprofit organizations, from which the SFPUC may choose prospective contractors on an as-needed basis. Once pre-qualified and in the Pool, consultants will be eligible to apply and compete for future Request for Proposals (RFPs) that will be issued under the task categories defined in this RFQ.  Up to a total of $8 million dollars is available over seven years for these as-needed community benefits professional consulting services.

Task Categories

  • General Community Benefits Services
  • Adult and Youth Workforce Development
  • Arts and Culture
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Environmental Justice
  • Land Use and Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Corporate Social Responsibility, In-Kind Contributions, and Volunteerism
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Stakeholder and Community Involvement
  • Public Policy

More information regarding the Community Benefits program, the task categories, desired technical expertise areas, and minimum qualifications can be found in the RFQ and supporting documentation, available on the SFPUCs Contracts and Bids webpage: http://www.sfwater.org/bids/bidDetail.aspx?bidid=2904.  SOQs will be accepted on a rolling basis until December 31, 2021.

Please direct all questions to Simone Combs or Sailaja Kurella.