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Author Archives: ProPublica

How Installment Lenders Put Borrowers in a World of Hurt

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by Paul Kiel ProPublica This story was co-produced with Marketplace. Listen to their coverage. One day late last year, Katrina Sutton stood at a gas pump outside Atlanta and swiped her debit card. Insufficient funds. But that couldn’t be. She’d been careful to wait until her $270 paycheck from Walmart had hit her account. The money wasn’t there? It was ... Read More »

    Dead Son’s Student Loans Still Haunt Father

    Student Loan Corkboard Concept

    by Marian Wang ProPublica It’s been four long years for Francisco Reynoso. The California gardener whose son died in a car accident in 2008 left him buried in grief u2014 and in student debt. At last, the bereaved father is getting some resolution. As ProPublica reported in June, Reynoso was saddled with six figures in student loans that he had ... Read More »

      Chase Bank Alleged Fraud Executive Responsible for Foreclosure Victim Compensation

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      by Paul Kiel ProPublica An executive who the Justice Department says facilitated a scheme to defraud Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is now spearheading JPMorgan Chase’s role in the government’s program to compensate victims of the big banks’ abusive foreclosure practices. The executive, Rebecca Mairone, worked at Countrywide and Bank of America from 2006 until earlier this year, when she ... Read More »

        Student Loan Servicers Suck

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        by Marian Wang ProPublica, The parallels between the mortgage market and the student loan industry have been frequently noted. Both involve big borrowing and have a history of lax underwriting by lenders. But the two are also strikingly similar in another way: When it comes to both mortgages and student debt, the servicers, or companies that handle loan payments, sometimes ... Read More »

          Doubts Spread About Independent Foreclosure Reviews

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          by Paul Kiel ProPublica The idea behind the Independent Foreclosure Review seems simple. During the peak of the foreclosure crisis, the banks broke laws and made errors that hurt homeowners. In response, the government mandated they compensate the victims. But there is growing evidence some banks are playing a major role in identifying the victims of their own abuses, raising ... Read More »

            ProPublica Raises Concerns Over Bank of America’s Foreclosure Review Process

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            by Paul Kiel ProPublica Late last year, the country’s bank regulators launched a massive program to evaluate millions of foreclosure cases and compensate homeowners who fell victim to the banks’ flawed or illegal practices. Regulators dubbed it the “Independent Foreclosure Review” to emphasize that the banks would not be making key decisions about loans they had made or serviced. But ... Read More »

              Student Loan Disability Discharge Process Improved

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              Sasha Chavkin, Special to ProPublica The Education Department proposed new rules on Tuesday to revamp its troubled program for forgiving the federal student loans of borrowers who become disabled. The new regulations came after an investigation last year by ProPublica found that the department’s dysfunctional system for evaluating disability was keeping many genuinely disabled borrowers buried in student debt. Under ... Read More »

                Big Foreclosure Compensation, But Only for the Right Wrongs

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                by Paul Kiel ProPublica Can you put a price on the damage caused by a wrongful foreclosure? Banking regulators have. And it’s $125,000. Or $60,000. Or $15,000. Or2026 it’s unclear. Last November, banking regulators launched a process to force the big banks to compensate homeowners victimized by their foreclosure abuses. Many crucial details remained unclear, including how much victims might ... Read More »

                  Father Struggles to Pay Dead Son’s Student Loans

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                  by Marian Wang, ProPublica, A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling. “They would say, ‘We don’t care what happened with your son, you have to pay us,'” recalled Reynoso, a gardener from Palmdale, Calif. Reynoso’s son, Freddy, had been the pride of his family and ... Read More »

                    Foreclosure Victim Guide on How to Get Compensation You Are Entitled To

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                    by Paul Kiel ProPublica, If you’re a victim of banking abuses during the foreclosure crisis, the government says it’ll make sure you receive compensation from your bank. It’s a simple idea. But for victims, determining who’s eligible, how to apply, and when you might get a check in the mail isn’t simple at all. So we built a list of ... Read More »

                      Billion Dollar Foreclosure Settlement Money Goes Elsewhere

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                      by Paul Kiel and Cora Currier ProPublica States have diverted $974 million from this year’s landmark mortgage settlement to pay down budget deficits or fund programs unrelated to the foreclosure crisis, according to a ProPublica analysis. That’s nearly forty percent of the $2.5 billion in penalties paid to the states under the agreement. The settlement, between five of the country’s ... Read More »

                        Student Loans Getting Shuffled All Over. Leaves Many Confused.

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                        by Marian Wang ProPublica The Department of Education has been transferring large batches of federal student loans to new loan-servicing companies — leaving in the lurch some borrowers who are suddenly encountering problems with their loans, such as payments that are mysteriously adjusted up or down. The switch, which has been going on for months and will ultimately include millions ... Read More »

                          Foreclosure in America. The All Too Common Story of How Dreams Turn to Dirt.

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                          by Paul Kiel ProPublica Sheila Ramos’ grandsons, 10 and 13, started crying. They wanted to know where the house was. There wasn’t one. There was only a tent. They had flown from Florida, after Ramos had fallen hopelessly behind on the mortgage for her three-bedroom home, to this family-owned patch of rural land on Hawaii’s Big Island. There, on a ... Read More »

                            Ron Paul Reported to be Really Serious About Tracking Campaign Cash

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                            by Kim Barker ProPublica This story was co-published with Yahoo! News. He may be in last place when it comes to delegates, but when it comes to filing expense reports with the FEC, Ron Paul beats everyone. His campaign’s hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical. Every bank fee, every 22 cents at a FedEx, every $1 toll on the Florida ... Read More »

                              Republican Presidential Candidates Not Specific on Help for Struggling Homeowners

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                              by Lois Beckett ProPublica As we’ve detailed, President Obama’s plans to help homeowners have come up short time and again. We recently looked at Obama’s latest proposals, most of which are unlikely to make a major dent in the crisis. So, how about the Republican presidential candidates: What do they say should be done about the foreclosure crisis? They don’t ... Read More »

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