Banking and Credit

Banking and Credit

Since the Great Depression, Congress has passed a series of laws to preserve stability in the banking and credit industries, protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices and make affordable credit available to middle class and low-income families and small businesses.  Beginning in the 1980s, the deregulation of financial institutions has fed speculative booms and devastating busts. Privatization of low-cost government credit for student loans and mortgages and weaker consumer protections has driven up the cost of credit and put consumers at risk.

Commentary

Information is power… and that’s the problem

May 02, 2012

Why #OccupyWallStreet?

October 07, 2011

The Truth in Lending Act, 1968: Don't Confuse People With Information

May 18, 2011
Debt burden

Credit Card Sharks Crying Wolf

May 20, 2009

Cry Wolf Quotes

There are also subsidies to certain types of mortgages. The Community Reinvestment Act bans so-called ‘red lining’ -- requiring banks to offer mortgages in the entire geographic area in which they operate, not just to do business in suburbs. Loans in profitable areas were then used to subsidize loans in areas where banks were losing money.

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John Lott Jr., Fox News

The CRA has created opportunities for rent seeking and financial and logistical burdens for all lenders. The Act forces lenders to spend money, time, and resources on documentation, PR, and other compliance costs.

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Michelle Minton, Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Community Reinvestment Act should be repealed--not reformed or restricted but repealed! For no conceivable set of regulations on a bank is consistent with the objective of the Act to meet ‘the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operation of such institution.’ The Community Reinvestment Act was the wrong solution to a genuine problem, for the most part created by other government regulations. Until recently, federal restrictions on interstate banking and state restrictions on intrastate branching severely restricted bank competition in local markets and the potential for geographic diversity of loan portfolios. These restrictions have been substantially reduced, promising a more competitive banking system that is more responsive to the interests of both depositors and borrowers and less vulnerable to adverse economic conditions in specific regions...Don't try to fix the Community Reinvestment Act. It can't be done. Repeal it.

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William A. Niskanen, Chairman, Cato Institute. Testimony, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, House Committee on Banking and Financial Services

The roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when government officials, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites. The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods." Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans.

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Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

A Timeline of the CARD Act

An interactive timeline of credit card reform.

Resources

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition works against unfair lending and banking practices, particularly those targeted towards low and middle income families.