"The Poverty Business" (5/21/2007)
In this first article of a series, reporters Brian Grow and Keith Epstein explore businesses that provide financing to the working poor. Using increasingly sophisticated ways of evaluating risk, companies put cars, computers, credit cards, homes, and funds for education in reach, and "essentially use products as the bait to hook less-well-off shoppers on expensive loans."
"Fresh Pain for the Uninsured" (Online 11/21/2007; Print edition 12/3/07)
Reporters Brian Grow and Robert Berner look at how healthcare providers are converting their patients' medical debt into consumer debt through third-party financing companies.
--------"The Poverty Business" and "Fresh Pain for the Uninsured" are part of a series of articles published by BusinessWeek in 2007 that explored the proliferation of consumer credit, the companies that profit from it and the potential abuses in the system.
Additional reporting from the series:
"Prisoners of Debt," By Robert Berner & Brian Grow (11/12/2007)
When a forgiven debt isn't forgotten.
"The Ugly Side of Microlending," By Keith Epstein and Geri Smith
(Online 12/13/2007; Print edition 12/24/2007)
The "poverty business" goes global as big banks profit from small loans.
The series has won numerous national journalism awards including a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, a Society of American Business Writers and Editors award ("The Poverty Business"), a National Press Club Award, an Excellence in Health Care Journalism Award from the Association of Health Care Journalists ("Fresh Pain for the Uninsured"), and a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism.
In 2008, BusinessWeek continues its investigative reporting on the imbalance in power between issuers of credit and their customers.
"Banks vs. Consumers (Guess Who Wins)," By Robert Berner and Brian Grow, (Online 6/5/2008; Print edition 6/16/2008)
Consumers are losing when they go into arbitration to resolve credit-card disputes.