Financial Fairness for Oregon's Families

Senator Jeff Merkley
2013-02-07 12:50:47
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley THE OREGON REPORT <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2f> Visit merkley.senate.gov <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2f> February 7th, 2013 <merkley.senate.gov/email/images/spacer.gif> Giving Oregon Consumers a Fair Shake Last week, Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley, a leader on consumer financial protection in the Senate, introduced a series of bills to protect consumers and ensure financial fairness for Oregon families. Last Monday, Jeff introduced legislation to prohibit companies from using paid off or settled medical debt in assessing consumer credit scores. The Medical Debt Responsibility Act could help as many as 75 million Americans lower their cost of borrowing. Currently, medical debt collections can significantly damage a consumer's credit score for years, even after the debt has been settled or paid off. As a result, consumers can be denied credit or pay higher interest rates when buying a home, obtaining a credit card, or applying for a small business loan. On Tuesday, Jeff introduced the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act. The SAFE Lending Act would crack down on the worst practices of the online payday lending industry and give states more power to protect consumers from predatory loans. Many of these short-term payday loans involve exploding interest rates, eventually accruing interest of 500 percent or higher. When Jeff was Speaker of the Oregon House, the state legislature ended these abusive practices in the state, but since then payday lenders have increasingly moved online, out of the reach of state governments. Jeff's bill requires all lenders, including banks, to abide by state rules for the small-dollar, payday-like loans they may offer customers in a state. And then on Wednesday, Jeff introduced the Deceptive Loan Check Elimination Act, which would prohibit companies from sending "live" loan checks to consumers. In these schemes, financial institutions send unsuspecting customers a check made out to them. Customers often assume that their financial institutions have sent refunds or some other business-related sum and unknowingly deposit the checks. In small fine print, however, these institutions lay out that this "check" is actually a predatory loan with a very high interest rate. Jeff's bill will prohibit financial institutions from sending a "live" loan check unless the consumer requested such a check in writing, and consumers would not be liable for any debt incurred in violation of the Act. This common sense solution protects consumers without constricting credit for consumers who want it. Predatory mortgages and other tricks and traps of the financial system have devastated too many working families. We need to take on these egregious abuses and ensure that all Americans are protected from unfair and deceptive practices. Renewing the Violence Against Women Act This week, the Senate is acting to renew and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds key programs to combat domestic and sexual violence. Since 1994, when VAWA became law, domestic violence has gone down more than 50 percent. The reauthorization the Senate is working on this week will expand this successful program. No longer will LGBT men and women be turned away from domestic violence shelters. No longer will violence against Native American women, who face higher rates of domestic and sexual violence, be ignored. Law enforcement will now have additional tools they need to take on these monstrous acts of violence against women. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives refused to pass a strengthened VAWA last year and it has expired. It is crucial that women across Oregon and America have the services and resources available to them when they are faced with domestic and sexual violence. Once the Senate passes VAWA, the House should take up the bill and send it to President without delay. Town Halls Want to meet Jeff? Have questions or comments on issues in Congress or thoughts on how to move our country forward? Come to one of his town halls. Jeff holds a town hall in every county, every year. Find out if there is a town hall scheduled near you at merkley.senate.gov/Oregon/townhalls. <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww merkley.senate.gov%2foregon%2ftownhalls%2f> Senator Merkley<merkley.senate.gov/email/images/sidebar-placeholder.png> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2ftownhalls%2f> Oregon Townhalls <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2ftownhalls%2f> <merkley.senate.gov/email/images/sidebar/bottom-border.png> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2fask_jeff%2f> Ask Jeff a Question <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2fask_jeff%2f> <merkley.senate.gov/email/images/sidebar/bottom-border.png> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2fstoryboard%2f> Share Your Oregon Story <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2foregon%2fstoryboard%2f> <merkley.senate.gov/email/images/sidebar/bottom-border.png> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww facebook.com%2fjeffmerkley%23!%2fjeffmerkley> Like Jeff on Facebook <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww facebook.com%2fjeffmerkley%23!%2fjeffmerkley> <merkley.senate.gov/email/images/sidebar/bottom-border.png> <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2ftwi tter.com%2fsenjeffmerkley> Follow Jeff on Twitter <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2ftwi tter.com%2fsenjeffmerkley> Visit merkley.senate.gov <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2f> | Contact Jeff <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2fcontact%2f> | Unsubscribe <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx merkley-iq&crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fmer kley.senate.gov%2funsubscribe%2f> Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address. <iqs3.solutions.lmit.com/iqextranet/Customers/quorum_merkley-iq/ iqtrk.gif?crop=15924.11285980.6724439.7791867>
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley THE OREGON REPORT

Giving Oregon Consumers a Fair Shake

Last week, Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley, a leader on consumer financial protection in the Senate, introduced a series of bills to protect consumers and ensure financial fairness for Oregon families.

Last Monday, Jeff introduced legislation to prohibit companies from using paid off or settled medical debt in assessing consumer credit scores. The Medical Debt Responsibility Act could help as many as 75 million Americans lower their cost of borrowing. Currently, medical debt collections can significantly damage a consumer's credit score for years, even after the debt has been settled or paid off. As a result, consumers can be denied credit or pay higher interest rates when buying a home, obtaining a credit card, or applying for a small business loan.

On Tuesday, Jeff introduced the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act. The SAFE Lending Act would crack down on the worst practices of the online payday lending industry and give states more power to protect consumers from predatory loans. Many of these short-term payday loans involve exploding interest rates, eventually accruing interest of 500 percent or higher.

When Jeff was Speaker of the Oregon House, the state legislature ended these abusive practices in the state, but since then payday lenders have increasingly moved online, out of the reach of state governments. Jeff's bill requires all lenders, including banks, to abide by state rules for the small-dollar, payday-like loans they may offer customers in a state.

And then on Wednesday, Jeff introduced the Deceptive Loan Check Elimination Act, which would prohibit companies from sending “live” loan checks to consumers. In these schemes, financial institutions send unsuspecting customers a check made out to them. Customers often assume that their financial institutions have sent refunds or some other business-related sum and unknowingly deposit the checks.

In small fine print, however, these institutions lay out that this “check” is actually a predatory loan with a very high interest rate. Jeff's bill will prohibit financial institutions from sending a “live” loan check unless the consumer requested such a check in writing, and consumers would not be liable for any debt incurred in violation of the Act. This common sense solution protects consumers without constricting credit for consumers who want it.

Predatory mortgages and other tricks and traps of the financial system have devastated too many working families. We need to take on these egregious abuses and ensure that all Americans are protected from unfair and deceptive practices.

Renewing the Violence Against Women Act

This week, the Senate is acting to renew and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds key programs to combat domestic and sexual violence. Since 1994, when VAWA became law, domestic violence has gone down more than 50 percent. The reauthorization the Senate is working on this week will expand this successful program. No longer will LGBT men and women be turned away from domestic violence shelters. No longer will violence against Native American women, who face higher rates of domestic and sexual violence, be ignored. Law enforcement will now have additional tools they need to take on these monstrous acts of violence against women.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives refused to pass a strengthened VAWA last year and it has expired. It is crucial that women across Oregon and America have the services and resources available to them when they are faced with domestic and sexual violence. Once the Senate passes VAWA, the House should take up the bill and send it to President without delay.

Town Halls

Want to meet Jeff? Have questions or comments on issues in Congress or thoughts on how to move our country forward? Come to one of his town halls. Jeff holds a town hall in every county, every year. Find out if there is a town hall scheduled near you at

Senator Merkley
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Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address.