FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2020
CONTACT: Jenna Severson, 616-914-2844, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG, 312-983-2789, email@example.com
Advocates Praise Governor Pritzker for Protecting Consumer Financial Security, Call for Further Action
CHICAGO: Consumer advocates praised Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for timely actions, and called for further action to protect the financial security of Illinois residents as Illinois residents faced with lost jobs and decreased incomes grapple with first-of-the-month rent, mortgage, utility, car and other loan payments.
Today, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) released guidance for its regulated financial entities including state banks, credit unions, installment lenders, payday lenders, title loan lenders, sales finance lenders (including auto loans), currency exchanges, student loan servicers, mortgage servicers, and collection agencies concerning their lending, servicing, and collection.
“Today’s guidance to state financial institutions is an important step” said Brent Adams, Senior Vice President of Policy & Communication at Woodstock Institute. “We hope the Governor will take additional steps to protect consumers from predatory lenders by making clear to the industry that APRs over 36%, 100%, and higher will not be tolerated during this time of crisis.”
The state’s guidance to banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions is one of several noteworthy actions by Governor Pritzker’s administration to assist consumers during a time of increased uncertainty. On Saturday, Governor Pritzker released Executive Order 2020-16, placing a moratorium on car repossessions and starter interrupters, or “kill switches,” through which a lender can remotely stop a borrower from being able to start a car or truck after falling behind on payments.
“We thank Governor Pritzker and his Administration for the initial steps they have taken to protect Illinoisans’ cars and financial well being, and we urge them to continue to do everything in their power to support Illinois workers and families, who are struggling to pay their bills during this immense crisis,” said Jody Chong, Associate Director of Research & Policy for Heartland Alliance.
Consumer advocates have encouraged the Governor’s office and IDFPR to take these actions, and more, including placing temporary interest rate caps on payday and other high interest loans, suspend wage garnishments, assignments and bank freezes, and providing consumers with tools to lessen the impact of negative credit reporting during the pandemic.
“Thank you Governor Pritzker for taking action to protect the public health and financial security of Illinois residents,” said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Director. “We encourage the Governor to build upon these important actions by following the lead of New York, California, and other states who have demonstrated the many ways states can lessen the negative financial impact of the pandemic on Illinois residents.”
Illinois PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being. www.illinoispirgedfund.org
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights – Heartland Alliance, one of the world’s leading antipoverty organizations, works in communities in the U.S. and abroad to serve those who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. It provides a comprehensive array of services in the areas of health, housing, jobs and justice – and leads state and national policy efforts, which target lasting change for individuals and society. www.heartlandalliance.org
Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of equitable lending and investments, wealth creation and preservation, and safe and affordable financial products and services. Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity.