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Neither a borrower, nor a lender

When you owe money, there are plenty of businesses out there ready and willing to help you pay it back … for a price. But are those companies, and the contracts they offer, always on the up-and-up?One of the principal agencies charged with helping U.S. consumers navigate the troubled waters of consumer debt was supposed to have been the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This was the agency created by last year’s Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act. This fledgling agency, which is the brainchild of former Harvard law professor and longtime consumer rights advocate Elizabeth Warren, officially began operating in July of this year. But like so much else in Washington, the consumer bureau is itself a victim, paralyzed by Washington gridlock.

To help understand the type of situations that this bureau was designed to address, we wanted to bring you the story of one military family who took on more debt than they could handle. When they tried to pay it off, they took on even more. This report is another of our collaborations with our colleagues at the Center for Public Integrity and its iWatch News Project. The print reporter on this story was Jason McLure.

Jeff Madrick on the politics of protecting consumers

Borrower Nightmares: Navy pension signed over as collateral for costly quick cash (iWatch News)

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

  • thumb
    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
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      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.


  • guest

    Neither a borrower, nor a lender ?
    We need  qualified persons to handle and manage loans and mortgages, someone who is really good with numbers and has excellent communication skills. We do not need stand-up comedians like countrywide who ruined everything in this nation, misleading other lenders and borrowers. That is why we see so many Foreclosures and Loan Defaults. 
    We need someone who is accountable and who will stay till the task is accomplished.
    Then only the Country will prosper, Company will grow,  and the Consumers will regain Confidence.

  • Kevin Parker

    the loan was not a fixed rate and they were charged about 25% or more . the funny  thing is that every one is only getting 1.1% from the banks and they are getting more than us . is that funny .

  • absurdist

    Just try to get a loan at a reasonable rate if you’re in business for yourself and looking for a jumbo loan. And almost all loans in California in good neighborhoods were formerly, but not worth it now, jumbo loans. Extra points, harsher terms/only variable rates, and all for trying to build our own businesses…to create what everybody seems to be looking for…JOBS. My dad said to never borrow money. Great idea. Harder than ever to execute.

  • guest

    Banks including mortgage companies need Deregulation. Only then the economy will change for the better and stabilize. We have to reorganize by replacing the present Executives with highly qualified, sincere, and dedicated professionals. If we did that earlier, we could have prevented many of the failing mortgage companies such as countrywide, indymac, merryl Lynch from further financial disaster. We must regain what has been lost by the previous executives,  the consumers confidence