Mon, May 18, 2015
On Monday, May 11, the Advocacy Team attended the ‘Middle Class Prosperity Project,’ hosted by Rep. Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). This Congressional Forum was the fifth in a series launched by the members in February 2015. The event received heightened attention and media coverage given the recent tragedy and unrest in Baltimore which received national attention. The forum’s overall goal is to raise awareness and focus attention on the lack of economic opportunities and financial services in many urban areas and communities.
- This forum, “Access and Opportunity: Predatory Financial Practices and Economic Injustice,” focused on how some financial providers are not fully engaged in their communities and not meeting the needs of many in the middle class and other traditionally underserved audiences for basic financial services like check cashing and small dollar loans. It also examined how this market is often filled by “alternative” service providers that sometimes employ predatory practices to trap consumers in a cycle of high fees and debt. The roles of stakeholders – including mainstream institutions such as credit unions, alternative financial service providers, and the federal government – were examined, with panelists discussing steps to protect vulnerable communities from being further victimized.
- The forum was held at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law in Baltimore. As responsible lenders serving the Baltimore community, credit unions were involved and included association member Maynard Hurd, Vice President of Lending for Securityplus FCU. In addition, the panel included Robin McKinney, Director of the Maryland CASH Campaign. The Association’s Advocacy team worked closely with the CASH Campaign during the recent legislative session in Annapolis on the successful passage of the Savings Promotion Raffles Bill, more commonly known as ‘Prize-Linked Savings, which was signed into law by Gov. Hogan several weeks ago. The panel was further rounded out by representatives of the Center for Financial Services Innovation and Center for Responsible Lending.
Previous forums have examined the stagnation in middle class wages, the conflicts of interest in financial retirement advice, and student debt. The Advocacy team will keep our members and stakeholders updated other upcoming Middle Class Prosperity Project forums, especially ones held in Maryland or the DC metro area.
For additional information: Glen Cooney – VP, Advocacy & Legislative Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 443-325-0775.