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The New York Times: Trump Appointees Manipulated Agency’s Payday Lending Research, Ex-Staffer Claims

The New York Times, April 29, 2020: Trump Appointees Manipulated Agency’s Payday Lending Research, Ex-Staffer Claims

Last summer, on his final day of work at the nation’s consumer finance watchdog agency, a career economist sent colleagues a blunt memo.

He claimed that President Trump’s appointees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had manipulated the agency’s research process to justify altering a 2017 rule that would have sharply curtailed high-interest payday loans.

The departing staff member, Jonathan Lanning, detailed several maneuvers by his agency’s political overseers that he considered legally risky and scientifically indefensible, including pressuring staff economists to water down their findings on payday loans and use statistical gimmicks to downplay the harm consumers would suffer if the payday restrictions were repealed. A copy of the memo was obtained by The New York Times from a current bureau employee.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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