June 17, 2015
AS CLERGY, our lives revolve around the religious calendars. For our Jewish brothers and sisters, September's Yom Kippur is a time of quiet reflection and atonement, followed by the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Christians follow the familiar rhythms of the liturgical calendar, celebrating Christmas every December and Easter every spring. And nearly every spring for the last three years, clergy from across Pennsylvania sent urgent pleas to Harrisburg to stop predatory payday lenders who are seeking permission to charge usurious, triple-digit interest rates in the Keystone State.
July 9, 2013
FRIENDS, YOU CAN'T make this stuff up. Just when you think your opinion of Pennsylvania politics has hit rock bottom, our "leaders" drill down to find new levels of ineptitude and wastefulness. I'm talking about the Legislature that ended its annual budget season by doing nothing, nothing and nothing, then left until late September, now returning to Harrisburg to finish the budget we were told was done. Why? Oh, you missed it over the holiday break? You were distracted by lawmakers and top-of-the-pyramid (or, to critics, bottom-of-the-barrel)
July 8, 2013
Reports of the demise of bipartisanship have been exaggerated. Consider Harrisburg's recent remarkable display of unity in the service of getting almost nothing done. The Capitol had been virtually convulsing with activity through last weekend as the end of the fiscal year approached, all in the supposed service of addressing major policy problems such as the state's extensive transportation needs, its underfunded pensions, and its backward booze ministry. But when the shouting subsided and the dust cleared last Sunday, all our leaders had produced was a budget - the bare minimum required of them by law. Harrisburg's reflexive, cynical brand of partisanship is beginning to make Washington look pragmatic.
June 15, 2012 |
Daily News Staff Writer After a string of courtroom victories this year, the Occupy Philly movement felt the sting of defeat Wednesday, when 12 members were found guilty of defiant trespassing and conspiracy, stemming from a November sit-in protest at a Center City Wells Fargo Bank. After a more than five-hour trial, Municipal Judge Marsha Neifield said she believed that prosecutors had proved their case, then announced the sentences for the 12 defendants: each is to pay a $500 fine plus court costs.
June 14, 2012 |
After a string of courtroom victories this year, the Occupy Philly movement felt the sting of defeat Wednesday, when 12 members were found guilty of defiant trespassing and conspiracy, stemming from a November sit-in protest at a Center City Wells Fargo Bank. After a more than five-hour trial, Municipal Judge Marsha Neifield said she believed that prosecutors had proved their case, then announced the sentences for the 12 defendants: each is to pay a $500 fine plus court costs.
June 12, 2012
Re: "This is a president who loves to blame": First of all, Mr. Baronofsky, the economy started declining when President Bush and Vice President Cheney spent President Clinton's left over trillions of dollars, as well as other program dollars, on a deceptive war with Iraq. And, the economy started descending on Bush's watch. President Obama's stimulus package was a success on many counts: Let's start with the auto industries that have bloomed and paid back the bail-out loans; and don't forget the banks that benefited from the stimulus package and are profiting from it. Oh, yes, how about the Recovery Act — investing in the infrastructure, Wall Street reform — empowering the consumer and investors, stopping predatory lending; middle-class tax cuts, credit-card reform, building a clean-energy economy, affordable health-care act, children's health-insurance expansion (SCHIP)
November 1, 2011
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ordered Thomas Richter, the owner of a Bala Cynwyd lender that specialized in financing taverns, to pay $668,951 to seven borrowers "for damages, humiliation and suffering caused by illegal predatory lending," plus $10,000 in civil penalties to the state. The order was dated Oct. 24, but Richter said Tuesday that he had not seen the order and was "totally shocked" to hear about it. "I've been dealing with this case for a couple of years.
November 14, 2010 |
A Mortgage Bankers Association-financed study that challenged the statistical models used to accuse lenders of discrimination and predatory lending prompted me to ask you for your opinions on its findings. The study, by George Washington University economics professor Anthony Yezer, said that none of the models on which such accusations were based included the borrower as a determining factor, and that "mortgage rates and the probability of rejection are the result of choices of both the applicant and the lender.
September 19, 2010 |
I recently suggested here that, based on the response to an article I had written about predatory lending, few people seemed to know what it was. Of course, that brought reaction from both sides to what was simply an observation gleaned from a large harvest of e-mails and phone calls after a relatively tiny story that appeared deep inside a Wednesday Business section. To clear things up - personally, I consider even solicitations from credit card companies predatory - I provided an academic definition from the Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.
August 29, 2010 |
A few weeks back, I wrote a brief article for the daily Business section about a complaint filed against Wells Fargo by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which accused the lender of engaging in predatory-lending practices, primarily in Philadelphia's African American neighborhoods. Wells Fargo denied the accusation and promised to "vigorously defend" itself against the commission's claim. In the days that followed, I was inundated with responses from people across the country who wanted to tell me their stories about Wells Fargo and other lenders.