LIHS joins Commitment to Consumer Protections for New Yorkers

New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL), a statewide coalition of more than 180 consumer protection and fair lending groups, reaffirmed its commitment to the goal of financial justice for all New Yorkers and pledged to be a “firewall” against any federal backsliding on consumer financial protection, fair lending and marketplace oversight under the Trump administration. Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS) is a member of the executive board of NYRL.  New Yorkers for Responsible Lending logo

“Now more than ever before—and especially given changes on the national scene—we call on our legislators and policy makers to band together to solidify prior successes and head off any attempts to weaken protections that could harm New Yorkers,” the Coalition said.

Formed in 1999, NYRL promotes economic justice as a matter of racial and community equity, through legislative and policy advocacy, public education, media advocacy, and organizing campaigns.  Representatives from many of its member groups attended the annual conference in Albany on December 2, 2016, to review accomplishments of the past year, discuss upcoming challenges, and set priorities for 2017.

Members of NYRL praised the passage of key legislation in 2016 that creates the Community Restoration Fund to preserve affordable housing, strengthens the foreclosure settlement conference process, gives foreclosure defendants opportunities to avert default judgments, ensures better pre-foreclosure notices for distressed homeowners, and tackles the problems associated  with “zombie foreclosures.”  Ken Stevens of Foreclosure Resisters said that “thanks to NYRL’s hard work, New York continues to be a leader in protecting homeowners and keeping communities intact.”

In addition, in 2016 NYRL successfully led the efforts to block another attempt by the payday lending and check casher lobby to evade New York’s strong usury laws.  Carolyn Coffey of MFY Legal Services stated that: “As a result of NYRL’s tireless campaign against this dangerous legislation—which would have opened the doors to predatory and abusive lending—low-income and working New Yorkers will continue to enjoy New York’s strong consumer protection laws.”

At the annual meeting, NYRL also heralded achievements in expanding state regulation of out-of-state schools, educating regulators about student loan servicing issues and advocating for affordable, nondiscriminatory auto and homeowners insurance.  NYRL recommitted to supporting protections for subprime auto borrowers, robust compliance with the recently passed mortgage laws, and heading off the payday loan industry by backing constructive alternatives.

NYRL members expressed unflagging support for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its progress in making the marketplace fairer for low-income consumers. As Kirsten Keefe of the Empire Justice Center said, “NYRL believes it is critical for the CFPB to remain a strong force for consumers and continue in its efforts to better regulate the debt collection industry nationwide, ban forced arbitration, and ensure fair mortgage and other lending and consumer practices.”

Speakers at the meeting expressed great concern that the incoming Trump administration will attempt to eviscerate the CFPB and erode other consumer protections. NYRL is forming a working group to monitor and participate in legislative and regulatory developments at the federal level. NYRL’s top priority for 2017 is developing an action plan in New York to ensure that the results of the recent election do not lead to negative consequences for New Yorkers.

facebook button  NYRL is a statewide coalition of more than 180 groups, which promotes access to fair and affordable financial services and the preservation of assets for all New Yorkers and their communities. NYRL members represent community-based organization and financial institutions, affordable housing groups, labor unions, advocates for seniors, legal services organizations, and community reinvestment, fair lending, and consumer advocacy groups. (A member list is attached to this press release.)