05-22-2018  4:58 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Springfield settles lawsuit with fired dispatcher for K

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The city of Springfield has agreed to pay ,000 to settle a 2014 lawsuit by a dispatcher who said she was wrongly fired after accusing officers of inappropriate conduct.The Register-Guard reported Sunday that a joint statement from the city and the former dispatcher,...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Seattle, family reach M settlement for deadly crash

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of a couple killed in 2013 by a drunk driver has settled with the city of Seattle for million.KOMO-TV reported Monday that the family of Dennis and Judy Schulte settled with the city last month.Prosecutors say Mark Mullan was drunk when his pickup hit the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese judge sentenced a Tibetan shopkeeper to five years in prison on Tuesday for inciting separatism, based on his comments in a New York Times documentary in which the man talked about the erosion of his culture and language in the tightly secured region.Tashi Wangchuk's...

Voters choose nominees in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas

ATLANTA (AP) — Four states will cast ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Voters in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky hold primaries, while Texans settle several primary runoffs after their first round of voting in March. Some noteworthy story lines:IN THIS #METOO MIDTERM,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sony buys most of EMI Music, to spend B on image sensors

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spend [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion acquiring an additional 60 percent stake in EMI Music Publishing, home to the Motown catalog and contemporary artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.Sony already owns...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

Despite Spotify change, R. Kelly's streams still intact

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer's music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.Spotify made the bold declaration on May 10, but R. Kelly's streaming...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Experts disclose new details about 300-year-old shipwreck

BOSTON (AP) — A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of...

Palestinians ask ICC for 'immediate' probe against Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Palestinian foreign minister asked the International Criminal Court on...

Economists see potential nightmare in new Italian government

MILAN (AP) — The prospect of a populist government in Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, has...

The Latest: Explosion kills 16 in Afghan city of Kandahar

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):4 p.m.An Afghan...

Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces raised their flag over the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus on...

Charlene Crowell
Charlene Crowell NNPA Columnist

For years deceptive and predatory lenders have bilked millions of trusting consumers from their hard-earned monies, while consumer advocates have fought back for fair and transparent lending. On February 11, another contentious round of exchanges on debt-trap lending occurred on Capitol Hill. Unlike previous forums, however, this one came with an open bias.

A subcommittee of House Financial Services, held a hearing named, “Short-term, Small Dollar Lending: the CFPB’s [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] Assault on Access to Credit and Trampling of State and Tribal Sovereignty.”

With a title like that, the presumption of objectivity took a holiday. Committee members and most panelists criticized the consumer protection agency for proposing rules to rein in abusive practices in the payday loan market.

“I find it offensive that you would say that people aren’t smart enough to make decisions for themselves,” said Rep. Mia Love of Utah, believed to be the first Black representative in Congress from the state.

Subcommittee colleagues who spoke after Rep. Love ironically asked questions that suggested they did not understand how the payday loan industry works. For example, many talked about meeting the needs of the ‘unbanked’ when payday lenders do not make loans to these consumers. A payday lender is assured that a borrower will repay monies loaned due to their direct access to borrowers’ bank accounts. By being first in line to be repaid, little is left to pay for food, rent, utilities and other household living expenses.

Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, one of a few voices for fair lending rules later remarked, “If the Financial Services Committee and this Congress want to help the unbanked, let’s have that conversation. But providing misleading cover for predatory lenders will not help the unbanked. It will hurt those fighting to stay in the financial mainstream.”

More defense of the payday industry came from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Dennis Shaul, chief executive officer of the Community Financial Services Association of America. Both defended the industry and their so-called ‘best practices’ that have turned a blind eye to lenders’ triple-digit interest rates that inevitably trap financially vulnerable borrowers into long-term debt.

“CFSA member companies are licensed and regulated, and they adhere to a code of Best Practices,” said Shaul.
If all of these claims were true, there would have been no need for the Department of Justice to indict and arrest a payday lender just one day before the hearing.

Scott Tucker, operator of one of the nation’s largest internet payday loan enterprises and Timothy Muir, his lawyer, were charged and arrested on February 10 with violations of both the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, more commonly known as RICO.

The criminal indictment alleges that the two ran a $2 billion payday business in violation of state laws that capped interest rates on loans. The loan rates offered by Tucker and Muir were as high as 700 percent and affected over 4.5 million consumers from at least 1997 to 2013.

Additionally, because the payday lending monies are held in bank accounts owned by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a Native American tribe, the tribal corporation agreed to forfeit $48 million. The non-prosecution agreement between the tribe and DOJ also acknowledges that a tribal representative filed false factual declarations in multiple state court actions.

If convicted on the charges of conspiring to collect unlawful debts in violation of RICO, the two defendants would face a maximum term of 20 years in prison. Both would also forfeit the proceeds and property derived from the alleged crimes including bank accounts, homes, an airplane and automobiles.
Just as consumers rely upon other federal agencies to protect the public from harmful products like pharmaceuticals, tainted food, or water, the nation’s financial health can and should be a national concern. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act created CFPB to do just that.

The lone hearing panel member to speak in support of consumers and against payday lenders was Dallas’ Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes III.

In a Dallas community, where 20 payday and auto-title loan stores were located within a five-mile radius of his and other local churches, Dr. Haynes shared how his congregation at Friendship-West Baptist Church now holds a federal credit union charter. The credit union offers “Liberty Loans,” up to $500 in value on six month terms and at an annual interest rate of 28 percent. After several years’ experience making these micro-loans, not a single borrower has defaulted on this lending alternative.

Commenting on Dr. Hayes’ community-based efforts, Rachel Anderson, CRL’s Director of Faith Affairs said, “Many churches do step in with affordable loans and other kinds of support to struggling households but these are a complement to, not a substitute for, just regulation of this industry,” said Anderson.

“We don’t want Jesus to say in the Judgment, ‘I was hungry and thirsty, and you gave me a payday loan,” noted Rev. Haynes.
Somebody ought to say ‘amen.’

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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