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Author Archives: ProPublica

M&T Bank Accused of Discriminating Against Black, Latino and Asian Homebuyers

Bank

by Nikole Hannah-Jones ProPublica, Feb. 9, 2015, 11:06 a.m. One of the nation’s largest banks discriminates against black, Latino and Asian homebuyers by offering lesser qualified white borrowers higher loan amounts and using hidden racial criteria in one of its loan programs, according to a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Manhattan. The suit also accuses the bank ... Read More »

    Republican Senator Tells Hospitals to Stop Suing Poor People

    It might not be right but it is what it is. Debt collectors and others know how to get you to do what they want by pushing your fear buttons. They do it because it works.

    by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Chris Arnold, NPR, Jan. 22, 2015, 5 a.m. This story was co-published with NPR. Sen. Charles Grassley said nonprofit hospitals could be breaking the law when they sue poor patients over unpaid bills and issued a stern warning to one Missouri hospital that he hopes reverberates nationwide. Citing a ProPublica and NPR report, Grassley, R-Iowa, ... Read More »

      For Nonprofit Hospitals Who Sue Patients, New Rules

      medical-bills

      by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Jan. 15, 2015, 10:33 a.m. Last month, ProPublica and NPR detailed how one nonprofit hospital in Missouri sued thousands of lower income workers who couldn’t pay their bills, then seized their wages, all while enjoying a big break on its taxes. Since then, the IRS has released long-awaited rules designed to address such aggressive debt collection ... Read More »

        Illinois Revokes License of Temp Agency Check Cashing Store

        Check - Bad

        by Michael Grabell ProPublica, Jan. 6, 2015, 8 a.m. Illinois regulators revoked the business license last month of a check cashing store featured in a ProPublica investigation of temp agencies and labor brokers in Chicago. The revocation order is the latest in a string of government and legislative actions taken in response to a ProPublica series on the growth of ... Read More »

          Virginia Based Military Members Now Safer from Long-Distance Lawsuits

          Military Flag

          by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Dec. 26, 2014, 11:25 a.m. Federal regulators reached a settlement last week with the owners of two high-priced lenders over what they alleged were illegal debt collection practices against service members. The Virginia-based companies were featured in a ProPublica story last summer. The action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which enforces federal consumer laws, is ... Read More »

            Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection

            Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.54.22 AM

            by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Chris Arnold, NPR, Sep. 16, 2014, 5 a.m. This story was co-published with NPR. Like any American family living paycheck to paycheck, Conrad Goetzinger and Cassandra Rose hope that if they make the right choices, their $13-an-hour jobs will keep the lights on, put food in the fridge and gas in the car. But every ... Read More »

              Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

              Moving Up

              by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Chris Arnold, NPR, Sep. 15, 2014, 5 a.m. This story was co-published with NPR. Back in 2009, Kevin Evans was one of millions of Americans blindsided by the recession. His 25-year career selling office furniture collapsed. He shed the nice home he could no longer afford, but not a $7,000 credit card debt. After years ... Read More »

                USA Discounters Agrees to Refund $5 Charge Collected in What Feds Called A “Fee Scam”

                man terrifying woman

                by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Aug. 15, 2014, 9 a.m. USA Discounters, a retail company that caters to service members, has agreed to refund $350,000 collected as part of what federal regulators termed a “fee scam.” The company also agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to settle an inquiry by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a $5 fee charged to ... Read More »

                  Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship

                  black-hole

                  by Kara Brandeisky ProPublica, May 9, 2014, 12 p.m. At ProPublica, we’ve heard from a lot of unpaid interns. You’ve told us about walking your boss’s dog, fact-checking for magazines and even doing the same work as federal prosecutors 2014 all for little or no pay. If you think you might be entitled to minimum wage for your work, you ... Read More »

                    Why You Should Never Pay Sticker Price for College

                    black-hole

                    by Marian Wang ProPublica, Jan. 2, 2014, 9:27 a.m. You know all those seemingly great sales during the holidays? It turns out, they are often a “carefully engineered illusion.”  A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal defines what it calls “retail theater,” noting that often the discounts being offered to bargain-conscious consumers are carefully planned out by retailers from ... Read More »

                      When Lenders Sue, Quick Cash Can Turn Into a Lifetime of Debt

                      payday loan

                      by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Dec. 13, 2013, 10:47 a.m. A version of this story will be published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday. Five years ago, Naya Burks of St. Louis borrowed $1,000 from AmeriCash Loans. The money came at a steep price: She had to pay back $1,737 over six months. “I really needed the cash, and that ... Read More »

                        Payday Lenders in Texas Try to Dodge Law

                        payday loan

                        by Paul Kiel ProPublica Alarmed by the explosion of high-cost lending in the state, cities across Texas have passed ordinances to prevent the cycle of debt that short-term, high-cost loans can create. But some big lenders are finding clever ways around the laws — like giving away cash for free. TitleMax promises to “make getting cash easy!” To get a ... Read More »

                          How Payday Lenders Fight to Stay Legal

                          payday loan

                          by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Aug. 2, 2013, 9 a.m. A version of this story was co-published with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the Rev. Susan McCann stood outside a public library in Springfield, Mo., last year, she did her best to persuade passers-by to sign an initiative to ban high-cost payday loans. But it was difficult to keep her composure, ... Read More »

                            Bank of America Employees Allegedly Rewarded for Foreclosing

                            Business Meeting

                            Paul Kiel ProPublica Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees. The employee statements were filed late last week in federal court in Boston as part of a multi-state class action suit brought on behalf ... Read More »

                              Soldiers Wounded by Debt, Not Bullets

                              Military Flag

                              by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Mitchell Hartman, Marketplace, May 15, 2013, 5:50 a.m.by Paul Kiel and Krista Kjellman Schmidt, ProPublica, May 15 This story was co-produced with Marketplace. Listen to their coverage. Seven years after Congress banned payday-loan companies from charging exorbitant interest rates to service members, many of the nation’s military bases are surrounded by storefront lenders who charge ... Read More »

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