President Obama Takes Moves to Protect Service Members & Families from Predatory Lending
July 21, 2015
President Obama is expected to announce today a significant expansion of regulations under the Military Lending Act designed to protect U.S. military service members and their families from predatory lending practices, making it harder for financial firms to charge higher interest rates under current laws.
• President Obama is expected to announce today a significant expansion of regulations under the Military Lending Act designed to protect U.S. military service members and their families from predatory lending practices, making it harder for financial firms to charge higher interest rates under current laws. President Obama is aiming at loopholes that have allowed some financial institutions to charge interest rates in the triple digits, forcing service members and their families deeper into debt. Such lending practices hurt military readiness, distract service members, and in some cases, force some service members with dire financial problems out of the military altogether. The changes essentially expand the kinds of credit products that now must comply with a 36% cap. [WSJ]
• Seattle’s program giving street-level police the option to send repeat nonviolent offenders to social-service instead of jail has been embraced by the White House and is drawing interest from officials across the country. The program, begun four years ago, is part of a broader effort by political leaders, law-enforcement officials, and others to repair frayed relations between police and communities after the past year’s violent confrontations in places such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore. It also highlights a debate over whether traditional crime-fighting methods, emphasizing arrest and incarceration, need to change. Supporters say the Seattle program, known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), aims to break a common cycle where a person is repeatedly arrested and jailed for nonviolent crimes related to narcotics or alcohol addiction. Instead, under LEAD, the person can be sent directly by police to a social-service worker who helps arrange drug treatment, housing, and other services. President Obama has signaled that overhauling criminal justice will be on his agenda during his remaining time in office. This month, the White House hosted a gathering to discuss the LEAD program in local communities, with many cities planning to launch their own LEAD programs by year-end. [WSJ]
Economic Indicators & News
• A new report on child welfare found more U.S. children living in poverty than before the Great Recession. Twenty-two percent of American children were living in poverty in 2013 compared with 18 percent in 2008, according to the latest Kids Count Data Book, with poverty rates nearly double among African-Americans and American Indians, largely concentrated in the South and Southwest. The report, released today from the child advocacy group the Annie E. Casey Foundation, did show some slight improvement, including high school graduation rates at an all-time high and a falling percentage of uninsured children. [Yahoo]