Category Archives: In the News

In The News: US agency says apps that let workers access paychecks before payday are providing loans (AP)

Christine Zinner, policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, said the paycheck advance products “are nothing more than workplace payday loans, with consumers (being) more easily preyed upon since the money is only a tap away on a cell phone.” “People can easily become trapped in a cycle of debt by re-borrowing, requesting advances 12 to 120 times each year, just to pay basic household expenses and make ends meet,” she said.

In The News: Big Tech Wants Your Paycheck (The Lever)

Although the ALEC bill offers some form of consumer protection from civil suits and collection agencies, it is really “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Christine Chen Zinner, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit focused on consumer protection and an ethical financial system. “I like to think of these as workplace payday loans, because that’s really what they are, they are a loan,” Chen Zinner told The Lever. “There’s an expectation to be repaid, there’s a consequence if they aren’t repaid, so it’s really a loan.”

In The News: Banks, Consumer Groups Tell US Regulators to Unify Merger Plans (Bloomberg)

The Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund said in an April 15 letter that the OCC is still too predisposed to approve deals, despite the focus on negative merger characteristics in the national bank regulator’s proposed policy statement. “The thematic flaw in the proposed policy statement is that its fundamental orientation is to approve mergers and not to evaluate merger applications,” the group said.

In The News: Conservatives set the stage for another CFPB funding fight (The Hill)

Christine Zinner, senior consumer policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, suggested that the financial services industry is “really scraping the bottom of the barrel” with the latest arguments. “Wall Street and predatory lenders will never give up trying to stop the CFPB,” she said in a statement. “An agency devoted to fighting such powerful interests will never be home free.”

In The News: Court Loss Leaves SEC With Tough Choices in Private-Equity Reform Push (WSJ)

“The Fifth Circuit has once again sided with Wall Street and its private-equity billionaires to block reasonable protections for both the public interest and workers saving for retirement,” said Andrew Park, a senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, which advocates for tighter controls in the financial sector. “The Supreme Court needs to reverse this outrageous decision.”

In The News: House crypto bill sows the seeds of the next financial crisis (The Hill)

The bill’s worst feature rewrites longstanding securities law for crypto’s benefit by exempting a large set of crypto products from the definition of “security” in the SEC’s authorizing law, even though many crypto products clearly are securities and should be regulated as such. This loophole would erode key protections for crypto buyers and create a roadmap for traditional Wall Street firms to evade existing rules, which could further fuel risky speculation and harm a wider array of investors, even if they never touch crypto.

In The News: Supreme Court rebuffs challenge to consumer protection agency (NBC)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who proposed that the bureau be created and helped set it up, welcomed the decision in a celebratory appearance outside the Supreme Court building… Consumer advocates and financial services industry critics expressed relief about Thursday’s ruling. “This decision removes a major threat to the agency’s work and reaffirms the independence that allows it to continue standing up for the public interest against abusive financial practices,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund.

In The News: Commentary: Crisis at Steward Health highlights private equity’s threat to healthcare (The Dorchester Reporter)

“Steward is a prime example of private equity’s business model of extracting short-term profits from entities before selling them off,” said Robert Seifert, senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform. “In the case of health care, this can leave critical service providers worse off financially, with more money going to Wall Street and less toward long-term viability, hospital staffing, and patient care,” he added.