Mortgages

How To Report Predatory Lenders

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 22 minute read

The Robinsons were looking to refinance their mortgage when they found an attractive offer from a local bank with manageable monthly installments. However, the bank representative’s smooth presentation obscured the fact that there would be a balloon payment due on the loan in five years. 

The Robinsons were unprepared and unable to pay it; as a result, their lender offered to refinance their loan once again, this time at a higher interest rate, with greater fees, and with yet another round of closing costs. They ended up with payments they could hardly afford rather than having extra money in their budget.

Although this is a made-up tale, the Robinsons’ plight does highlight a very real and critical issue; namely, predatory lending. The word “loan sharking” encompasses a wide variety of dishonest and sometimes criminal loan practices that benefit lenders at the expense of borrowers. 

Loan sharks intentionally mislead and deceive borrowers into taking out unaffordable loans by taking advantage of their lack of financial literacy.

How Does Predatory Lending Work?

Mortgage relief scams are a type of predatory lending. Con artists in mortgage relief schemes promise help for homeowners who are drowning under their mortgage payments, but then disappear with the victims’ money. 

To be clear, predatory loans are legitimate credit options, but they come with extremely onerous conditions for the borrower. There are some lending products out there that are naturally predatory, and payday loans are one of the worst offenders. 

Loans like these are extremely challenging to repay because of their exorbitant interest rates and limited repayment periods. Typically, however, it is not certain goods but rather particular business methods that constitute predatory behavior. 

For instance, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are a legitimate kind of debt financing that can be helpful for certain borrowers. 

However, bait and switch financing occurs when a lender gives you an ARM without indicating that your interest rate would increase after the introductory period. It’s not the loans themselves that are predatory, but the dishonesty involved.

Predatory Lending Techniques

Predatory lending can refer to a wide variety of actions. But they all share one similar trait: they trap people into loans they can’t afford because they deceive them into signing for terms they don’t fully understand.

To name a few examples of predatory lending:

  • Capitalization on Assets. When determining the size of a loan, a lender will typically consider the borrower’s monthly income. A predatory lender, on the other hand, can offer you a larger loan based on the value of your assets, such as your home. There is a danger of defaulting and losing your property to foreclosure because the payments are too high. Equity stripping is another term for this scheme.
  • Use of misleading or deceptive language. Loan sharking occurs when a lender advertises one type of loan but provides another. A lender, for instance, could decide to drastically increase your interest rate several payments or years into the loan, making it impossible to repay. Inadequate disclosure, sometimes known as bait and switch, occurs when a lender conceals important information, such as the loan’s true cost, risk, or terms.
  • Prepayment in the Form of a Balloon Payment. In a balloon loan, the first payments are small, but the loan is repaid in a single large sum at the end of the loan term. Even though the term “predatory lending” is often used to describe balloon loans, there are acceptable situations in which they are used. But a predatory loan is one where the borrower is surprised by a large balloon payment right before closing.
  • Swapping out a loan for another one. You may be encouraged by your lender to repeatedly rollover your loan. And every time you do, they get to start charging you again. Each new loan is designed to be just as unaffordable as the one before it so the lender can keep you in a perpetual cycle of refinancing. Payday lenders frequently do this.
  • Packaging a Loan. Some loans are “stuffed” with fees for a wide variety of unnecessary extras. Credit insurance, which would repay the loan in the event of your death, is the most typical add-on. Predatory lenders may often make you believe that you need credit insurance in order to get a loan, whereas in fact there is nothing illegal about giving credit insurance as part of a loan agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Depreciation in Value. Interest-only payments on mortgages can be very costly. In this scenario, you are only ever able to pay off the interest on your debt, never reducing the total balance owed. Furthermore, with negative amortization loans, your monthly payments aren’t even enough to cover the interest. Unpaid interest is added to the principal balance every time you make a payment, which means that your debt will become substantially larger over time.
  • Costs associated with making a prepayment. A prepayment penalty is a cost charged for paying off a loan before it is due. This is common with home and auto loans. Financial institutions implement this fee because they stand to gain less income from prepayment. Two percent of the principal or six months’ worth of interest payments is a common prepayment penalty. On the other hand, predatory lenders frequently impose substantially stiffer prepayment penalties in an effort to prevent customers from switching to other loans offering more favorable rates and terms.
  • Cancel out Redlining. Redlining refers to the practice of discriminating against residents of low-income or minority areas by not providing them with credit or insurance. In 2018, the Chicago Tribune stated that numerous financial institutions remained engaged in this activity despite the fact that it was unlawful. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous lenders out there who actively seek out low-income communities to promote their services. The residents of these areas, even those with excellent credit and access to better rates elsewhere, are charged extortionate premiums.
  • Value at Risk. Borrowers with low credit scores will always face higher interest rates. They have to take these precautions because borrowers with poor credit histories present a greater risk of not repaying their loans. Predatory lenders, however, take this to an extreme. They seek out the riskiest borrowers, the ones most traditional financial institutions would never touch and charge them astronomical interest rates.

Predatory lending victims

Anyone can fall victim to a predatory lender, but there are some populations who are more prone to be singled out. 

These are some of them:

  • Credit Risky Borrowers. Borrowers with subprime ratings have low incomes and credit scores (usually below 630). As was previously said, predatory lenders frequently target such borrowers specifically to exploit them for a higher interest rate.
  • Families on a Tight Budget. Even if their credit is excellent, low-income households often pay more for loans. This is because practices like reverse redlining might push otherwise qualified borrowers into unfavorable loans. Furthermore, a 2015 research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) notes that low-income borrowers are disproportionately prone to employ payday loans, auto-title loans, and bank overdraft fees, all of which are inherently abusive. In addition, low-income families are disproportionately inclined to send their children to for-profit universities, where they incur more debt and receive a worse return on investment.
  • Individuals of color. Loan rates for minorities like African-Americans and Latinos are typically higher than those for white borrowers with identical credit scores. CRL found that persons of color are charged an extra 0.25% to 0.35% in interest on auto loans and are more than three times as likely to acquire high-cost home loans. African Americans have a much higher propensity to use payday loans and attend for-profit universities than whites.
  • The Elderly. Predatory mortgage lenders frequently prey upon the elderly who are homeowners. In many cases, these homeowners’ fixed incomes are insufficient to pay unexpected expenses like major renovations, medical bills, and child care. The National Consumer Law Center has published a fact sheet detailing the ways in which lenders prey on the elderly by promising to help them meet their financial obligations through the use of home equity loans, only to offer these borrowers disadvantageous interest rates and repayment schedules.
  • Individuals serving in the armed forces. In many cases, members of the military are the intended victims of predatory lending practices. Many people in the armed forces are young and have low credit scores, limiting their access to credit and loan choices. With the constant upheaval of deployments and transfers, the financial stability of older military members with families can be tenuous at best. The Department of Defense published a study in 2006 stating that predatory lenders frequently set up shops near military bases and extensively advertise their services to military personnel, especially payday loans, automobile title loans, and unsecured installment loans.
  • Those who are experiencing a financial crisis. Finally, predatory lenders frequently target those who need quick cash due to unexpected expenses. A loss of income, expensive repairs to the property, or an unexpected medical expenditure are all examples.
  • Lenders will employ a wide range of tactics to lure in new customers. They tend to target areas that are disproportionately home to people of color, the elderly, and those with lower incomes. They flood these communities with advertisements across all mediums, including television, direct mail, phone calls, and even door-to-door sales, all of which highlight the low payments and interest rates associated with their loans. Advertising in Spanish or another language spoken widely in the area is a frequent tactic used to entice potential borrowers from underrepresented groups.

How Harmful Predatory Lending Is

The harmful effects of predatory lending on borrowers and on society as a whole are well-documented. Some of the most significant issues associated with these loans are highlighted in the CRL report.

  • The rate of default is extremely high. It’s more common for abusive loans to result in repossession or foreclosure. People who finance their vehicles through dealerships, which are known for their predatory lending tactics, are twice as likely to have their vehicles repossessed as those who financed their vehicles through a bank or credit union.
  • Lower Credit Ratings. When borrowers fail to repay predatory loans, they suffer severe and lasting consequences to their credit scores. They may be charged extra for future loans and may even have trouble renting an apartment or securing insurance. It is estimated that one in seven people who apply for a job and have poor credit are rejected because of the results of a credit check.
  • Money traps. Borrowers who start down the path of taking out an abusive loan are far more likely to need to take out yet another loan to get by. Their indebtedness may also restrict their access to alternative forms of financing. Payday loan borrowers who have trouble making their payments frequently overdraw their accounts. Too many of these occurrences will result in the closure of their bank account, leaving them no choice but to resort to more expensive fringe financial goods, such as check-cashing services.
  • Dwellings Abandoned. In addition to being a financial and emotional setback, losing your house to foreclosure can also affect your mental health. It not only makes you move out of your home quickly but also prevents you from gaining financial stability through home appreciation. According to the CRL analysis, on average, households who lost their houses during the subprime mortgage crisis were $18,000 worse off financially than those who did not. Some people end as homeless after losing their homes to foreclosure.
  • Value declines in real estate. When homes are foreclosed upon, it affects more than just the homeowners involved. Foreclosures have a negative impact on the entire neighborhood’s value. The average value of a home drops by about $23,150 in regions with high rates of foreclosure, which tend to be low-income and minority neighborhoods.
  • Those places where people live are weaker. When this $23,150 in lost income is multiplied by all of the residences in a neighborhood, a substantial amount of money is being siphoned out. Less money is available for investing in things like public services, local businesses, and schools, all of which are essential to a thriving community. As a result, predatory lending can hasten the decline of economically unstable areas.
  • Repercussions for the Economy. Caused by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, the Great Recession cost the United States economy around $10 trillion and 8.4 million jobs. Debt from student loans now appears to be a similar drag on economic growth, especially for young families.
  • Enhanced Disparity. While the impoverished are the primary targets of predatory lending practices, the wealthy investors who own stock in major banks benefit from the practice. In this way, the already-existing issue of wealth and income disparity is exacerbated by these loans. Growing inequalities between the wealthy and the poor, and between whites and minorities, are harmful to everyone in the country. People in nations with more wealth disparity tend to be less happy on average, according to studies in happiness economics, and a 2015 report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed this.
  • Consequences for the Banking Sector. Predatory lending is bad for both the bank’s consumers and the bank’s profit line. During the past recession, CRL discovered, banks with questionable credit card operations routinely lost more money than their counterparts. Of course, it’s not always the predatory lenders themselves who wind up paying the price. Many borrowers who have to deal with predatory lenders end up falling behind on their payments or even defaulting on their other debts because they just can’t afford to. In addition, when more people become aware of predatory loans and their consequences, their faith in the financial system as a whole decline. Because of this, they are less likely to use banking services and are instead inclined to make use of cash.

Customer Protections

Several safeguards have been adopted by the U.S. government over the years to reduce the likelihood of lenders exploiting borrowers. 

Among these are:

  • Truth in Lending Act (TILA). This regulation from 1968 mandates that borrowers receive written information about the terms of their loan before they sign any paperwork. The loan amount, APR, fees, repayment schedule, and total cost must all be disclosed in writing by the lending institution. Within three days of signing the loan agreement, the law allows borrowers to revoke their commitment to the refinancing if they so want.
  • This law is known as the Credit CARD Act. Limits on many harmful credit card activities were enacted by the Credit CARD Act of 2009, also known as the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act. The CRL estimates that the act has eliminated over $4 billion in abusive fees and saved consumers $12.6 billion annually. This includes requiring credit card issuers to notify users about interest rate increases, prohibiting the application of new rates to existing balances, and requiring fees and penalties to be reasonable.
  • An Act to Promote Fair and Equal Treatment in the Credit Markets (ECOA). The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which was passed in 1989, mandates that all borrowers with similar credit histories be treated the same. Lenders are prohibited from discriminating against borrowers on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of public assistance.
  • HOPE Act – The Homeownership and Equity Preservation Law (HOEPA). As a change to the TILA, this law entered into effect in 1994. Practices like equity stripping, which are common in high-interest mortgages, are now illegal under this law. High-cost loans are defined under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and are subject to more stringent disclosure standards than traditional loans.
  • The Military Servicemembers’ Relief and Readjustment Act (MLA). This regulation, originally passed in 2006 and revised in 2012, makes it illegal for lenders to impose interest rates on any loan to military members that exceed 36%. It also forbids refinancing loans made to active-duty military members.
  • Dodd-Frank. The CFPB was founded by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to regulate the financial services sector. Consumers can access resources and a complaint form to report unscrupulous lenders.
  • Regulation by individual states’ legislatures. Many state statutes additionally prohibit predatory behavior, in addition to the federal statutes listed above. Debt.org reports that 25 states have regulations against predatory lending and that 35 states cap prepayment penalties on mortgages.

How to Stay Away From Predatory Loans

The following rules have made it more difficult for predatory lenders to operate freely, but they have not eliminated the problem altogether. There are numerous loan companies that skirt the law or even actively break it. Reverse redlining is one such practice that violates the ECOA yet is nonetheless commonplace.

What’s more, Trump appointees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are chipping away at a lot of consumer protections. For instance, very recently, the CFPB conducted frequent audits of military lenders to ensure they were following the MLA. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has previously conducted periodic audits of financial institutions, but in August of 2018, it said it will stop doing so and instead only investigate lenders in response to consumer complaints.

A month later, 14 state attorneys general protested the CFPB’s decision to no longer enforce the ECOA. Furthermore, The Hill reported in February 2019 that the new director of the CFPB, Kathy Kraninger, was working to undo restrictions placed on payday loans by the Obama administration.

To avoid being victimized by loan sharks, you need to take matters into your own hands. That involves being aware of the red flags that indicate a potentially harmful loan, exercising extreme caution anytime you take out a loan, and being familiar with viable alternatives to predatory lending.

Predatory Loan Warning Signs

You need to know the signs of a predatory loan in order to stay away from them. These are the most critical warning indicators to keep an eye out for, according to financial experts:

  • Too Good to Be True. Poor credit or no credit is an afterthought for the predatory lenders that prey on the unwary with guarantees of quick money, instant approval, and rock-bottom rates. These types of offers may seem appealing at first, but they typically have some sort of catch, such as excessive fees, interest rates that skyrocket after a few months, or the need you put up collateral like a car or house. If you come across a deal that sounds too good to be true, make sure you read the fine print.
  • The Price Is Confidential. Lenders who follow industry standards will always be transparent about all of the fees, interest rates, and other terms of a loan before you choose to take it out. However, predatory lenders would intentionally hide fees in order to maximize their profits. Avoid working with a lender that is vague or evasive about key aspects of the loan you’re considering.
  • Prices and Charges Appear Exorbitant. Loan interest can’t exceed 36% APR, as mandated by the MLA and several individual states’ legislation. If it is greater than that, or if it is low at the outset but could increase considerably down the road, the loan is likely to be unaffordable. Be wary of prepayment penalties that are too high, interest rates that are too high, and “bundled” services like credit insurance that amount to more than the loan itself.
  • Not a Licensed Lender. Don’t trust loan offers that come to you via the mail, the phone, or a knock on the door. This is not the typical method of promotion used by reputable lending institutions. Do a fast search on the lender to make sure it’s licensed to operate in your state if you’re interested in looking into the offer anyhow. If it isn’t, then you’re probably dealing with a loan shark because private money lenders aren’t governed by the same regulations as banks.
  • Your Credit Score Will Not Be Considered By The Lender. Most loan providers will look at your credit history before deciding how much of a loan they would grant you. If the lender doesn’t do this, they clearly don’t care if you can afford to repay the loan. They’ll charge you extortionate interest and fees, use your car as collateral, or hack into your bank account to get money from you in some other way. That leaves the lender in a comfortable position regardless of whether or not they are repaid.
  • You Won’t Be Able to Improve Your Credit Score with This Loan. Any reputable lender worth their salt will disclose your loan payments to the credit bureaus. But many predatory lenders, including payday loan services, don’t bother with this. A loan from them won’t help your credit, but a failure to repay could result in a negative mark being placed on your report by the collection agency. Unfortunately, there is no way out of this jam.
  • Lender Prefers Digital Transactions. Many lenders provide automated payments, which necessitates giving them access to your bank account thus the emphasis on “needs”. Keep an eye out if the lender insists on a certain method of payment, though. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account to make a payment, these lenders will likely keep trying to withdraw the same amount until they succeed, charging you a steep overdraft fee each time.
  • The forms are incomplete; there are empty spaces. This should serve as a massive warning sign. Only after you’ve signed a contract with a lender will they fill in the blanks with clauses they know you didn’t read or understand. Don’t sign anything with a blank space in it.
  • There Is No Clear Response. Untrustworthy lenders frequently pressure their clients into signing paperwork without giving them adequate opportunity to study them thoroughly or ask any questions they may have. Lenders who refuse to explain confusing clauses in contracts are likely trying to hide something from their borrowers.
  • There have been complaints about the lender from other customers. Investigate the lender’s reputation before signing any paperwork, just as you would read up on a computer’s reputation before making a purchase. Your first stop should be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database and the FTC’s Scam Alerts page. Then you should head on over to the BBB to read some testimonials and ratings from previous clients. No lender is perfect, and everyone has had an unpleasant experience at some point or another, but if the negative comments outweigh the positive, you should look elsewhere.

How to Secure Yourself

If you want to discover a trustworthy lender, you need to do the exact opposite of what was suggested above. Lenders who care about their customers will look at your credit history and won’t give you more money than you can afford to repay. 

It won’t try to coerce you into anything and will be up-front about any fees and other charges. There won’t be many problems reported either. But it is still wise to exercise caution and read the fine print, especially when dealing with a respectable lender. 

Listed below are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Realize your financial limitations. Determine how much debt you’ll be able to handle comfortably before looking for a loan. Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can be calculated by subtracting your monthly payment on debt from your gross monthly income. If the new loan will put you above the 36% mark, you should look into other financing options.
  • Try a few different stores. Similar to when you’d hire a contractor for a home improvement project, you should receive loan quotations from multiple sources before deciding. It is important to verify the legitimacy of any potential lenders.
  • Just keep questioning things. Once you’ve chosen a lender to work with, it’s time to get familiar with the fine print. Find out whether there is a prepayment penalty, if your monthly payments may fluctuate, and if there are any additional costs included in your loan payment that you need to be aware of. Investigate whether the loan you’re considering comes with a cancellation period of three days. Do not be afraid to question any extra charges that seem excessive.
  • Go at Your Own Pace. If the lender tries to pressure you into signing a release of rights or another document prematurely, refuse. To avoid any unpleasant surprises at closing, acquire your home loan settlement statement three days before the scheduled closing date and study it carefully.
  • Check for Warning Signs. Even if you’re on the verge of closing, you should walk away from the deal if the lender asks you to sign a waiver of rights or gives you a contract with blank areas. If you’re stuck in a predatory debt for years to come, it’s preferable to just start over.

Predatory Loan Alternatives

You may have a hard time locating a trustworthy lender willing to extend a loan to you at a reasonable interest rate if you have poor credit. However, you still have choices, including those that do not entail any form of borrowing. 

Check out your options before giving in and accepting a financially abusive loan:

  • A Substitute for Payday Loans. Payday alternative loans (PALs) are small, short-term loans offered by the majority of federal credit unions. After joining the credit union and paying the required membership fee for at least a month, you will be eligible to borrow between $200 and $1,000 for a period of one to six months. Fees for applying for one of these loans cannot exceed $20, and neither may the annual percentage rate (APR) exceed 28%. You can’t get stuck in a never-ending cycle of debt thanks to the impossibility of rolling over these debts. Plus, the majority of credit unions will record PAL payments to credit agencies, so this form of loan might actually help you improve your credit score.
  • Cash Advances on Future Paychecks. If you’re short on cash and can’t wait until your next paycheck, you might ask your employer for a paycheck advance. This is not a loan; rather, it is paid in advance for services rendered. Whether your company is unable to provide you with a cash advance, you may want to see if you can apply for one through your Chime bank account. If you use direct deposit, you can potentially receive your paycheck two days early.
  • Friend and family loans. If you can’t find a bank that will work with you, the “bank of Mom and Dad” may be able to help you out. But if you have problems repaying loans from loved ones, it can strain your relationships. If you want things to go more smoothly, it helps to lay out in detail why you need the loan and to put together a loan agreement, just like you would with a bank. Make a plan to repay the entire loan, plus interest, in a predetermined time frame, and keep to it.
  • Support from the state or nonprofit organizations. Instead of applying for a loan to make ends meet, you should check into emergency help programs. Numerous government and non-profit organizations exist to assist those in need with housing, food, utilities, healthcare, and education costs that cannot be covered by a person’s current income level alone. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is only one of the many groups available to assist people in learning to better manage their money and eliminate debt.
  • Debt Reduction Talks With Lenders. It may be more prudent to negotiate with your creditors rather than take out a loan to cover other bills. Lenders are usually amenable to working out alternative payment schedules with borrowers or even accepting partial or even full payments in the form of lump sums. This eliminates the possibility of your filing for bankruptcy and leaving them with nothing owed to them.

Responding to predatory loans

Some folks will be unable to escape a predatory loan until it is too late. You need to know how to escape from one if you find yourself in one. Getting out from under a predatory loan is more difficult than avoiding one, but there are options available.

1. Notify the lender

If a lender has sold you a predatory loan, you should report them first. Make a formal complaint to the CFPB and to the banking office in your state; the latter can be located on the CFPB webpage. 

You can file a fraud complaint with the FTC if your lender knowingly provided you with false or misleading information regarding your loan.

Even if you didn’t end up borrowing money from a predatory lender, you still have the right to denounce them. You will be preventing further harm to other consumers from their exploitative activities.

2. Make use of your revocation rights

All HELOCs and HELOC lines of credit and many refinance loans, come with a cooling-off period per TILA. If you change your mind about the loan within three days of signing, you won’t have to pay any penalties. 

A Notice of Rescission, which informs borrowers of their right of rescission and details the procedure for exercising it, is required by the TILA and must be provided by lenders to borrowers. If your Notice of Rescission does not specify how to cancel the loan, you must do it in writing to the bank within the three-day timeframe.

Predatory lenders, however, often wilfully conceal this information. In the event that your lender did not provide you with a Notice of Rescission, or if that Notice was not accurate, the entire Loan Agreement may be null and void. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that you would have three years to revoke your agreement after signing, instead of the standard three days. Get legal advice if you think this applies to you.

3. Sue the Lender

You may have legal recourse if the conditions of your loan arrangement are in clear violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or any other federal or state lending legislation. It has been stated in “Mortgage 101” that if you sue over a predatory mortgage loan, you may be able to recoup two times the number of finance charges the lender imposed on you. 

Have a discussion with an attorney about filing a lawsuit and the associated costs to see if this is something you want to do. However, you should know that predatory lenders frequently include a required arbitration language in the loan deal to protect themselves from lawsuits. 

The lender is immune from any claims of fraud or misrepresentation under the terms of this article. The alternative is to take your case before an arbitrator hired by the firm, which is a process that is intended to be unfair to you.

4. Loan Refinancing

To get out of a predatory secured loan like a mortgage or auto loan, refinancing is often the best option. Simply said, a refinance is the process of obtaining a new loan in order to repay an existing loan that is being used in an abusive manner. 

With this option, you can exchange your current loan for a new one with more advantageous terms, such as a reduced interest rate or fewer fees. Predatory lenders may try to dissuade you from doing this by imposing heavy fees if you prepay your loan. 

It’s possible that the cost of paying the penalty will be less than the expense of continuing to make high-interest payments on your current loan. Find alternative loan providers, and have them do the math on how much you’d pay in interest over the course of the loan.

SoFi is a potential choice you could make. They provide several different types of loans, including home equity loans, student loans, and personal loans, all of which can be refinanced. These are sometimes the best option for bringing down astronomically high-interest rates.

Bottom Line

It is possible to safeguard oneself from predatory lending in many ways. Predatory loans are something you may either avoid entirely or learn to escape from using a variety of methods.
On the other hand, it is considerably more difficult to stop the harm that predatory lenders cause to our economy and culture. 

The most effective strategy for this is to enact stricter legal safeguards for borrowers and to increase the enforcement of existing regulations. The government, unfortunately, appears to be doing the reverse at the moment, taking back current protections and making less effort to enforce them.

To combat this trend, citizens must stop thinking and acting like consumers. Keep up with the news and contact your senators and representative anytime you come across a proposed bill that could have an impact on consumers, either positively or negatively. And when the next election comes along, be sure to vote based on each candidate’s stance on consumer issues.

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