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Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel
Read Paul Kiel's e-book, The Great American Foreclosure Story, on your Kindle or mobile device.

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Paul Kiel covers consumer finance for ProPublica.

Recently, his focus has been on debt collection and high-cost lending. His work in 2013 was honored as a finalist for both a Gerald Loeb Award and a Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

His work on the foreclosure crisis was featured in The Best Business Writing 2013. It also won SABEW Best in Business awards in both 2011 and 2012 and a 2011 Scripps Howard Award for business/economics reporting.

He’s produced stories for the Washington Post, USA Today, Slate and American Public Media’s Marketplace, among others.

Articles

Old Debts, Fresh Pain: Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection

Critics say the 1968 federal law that allows collectors to take 25 percent of debtors' wages, or every penny in their bank accounts, is out of date and overly harsh.

Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

A new study provides the first-ever tally of how many employees lose up to a quarter of their paychecks over debts like unpaid credit card or medical bills and student loans.

USA Discounters Agrees to Refund $5 Charge Collected in What Feds Called A “Fee Scam”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s action addresses one small aspect of the company’s business practices which also includes thousands of lawsuits against service members who fall behind on their payments.

Senators Push For Investigation of USA Discounters’ ‘Aggressive’ Tactics

The Defense Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are urged to see whether service members are able to defend themselves against lawsuits while on active duty.

USA Discounters Responds to ProPublica Article

The company says ProPublica “inaccurately” portrayed its policies regarding military customers, but cites no errors.

For Lenders, Gaps in Federal Law Make Suing Soldiers Easy

Courts are required to appoint attorneys for service members if they are sued and can’t appear. But the law says little about what those lawyers must do. Some companies have taken advantage.

Thank You for Your Service: How One Company Sues Soldiers Worldwide

With stores near military bases across the country, the retailer USA Discounters offers easy credit to service members. But when those loans go bad, the company uses the local courts near its Virginia headquarters to file suits by the thousands.

Insta-Loophole: In Florida, High-Cost Lender Skirts the Law

Despite a ban on high-interest car title loans, the nation’s largest title lender has opened 26 Instaloan stores in Florida, offering a refashioned version of the loans that effectively charge the same sky-high rates the law was designed to stop.

To Protect Service Members, Defense Department Plans Broad Ban on High-Cost Loans

Acknowledging that a previous law did not go far enough, Defense Department said it needs to expand rules to protect service members from high-cost lenders.

High-Cost Lender World Finance Target of Federal Probe

The investigation follows a ProPublica story that detailed the company’s lending practices.

When Lenders Sue, Quick Cash Can Turn Into a Lifetime of Debt

High-cost lenders exploit laws tipped in their favor to sue tens of thousands of Americans every year. The result: A $1,000 loan grows to $40,000.

To Dodge Law, High-Cost Lender Offers Cash for Free

TitleMax, one of the fastest growing high-cost lenders in the country, has found a clever way around laws passed by several Texas cities: offer an initial loan at zero percent interest.

How One State Succeeded in Restricting Payday Loans

Washington State passed a payday loan reform bill that merely limits the number of loans a person can take in a year. Here’s what happened.

Whack-a-Mole: How Payday Lenders Bounce Back When States Crack Down

In state after state that has tried to ban payday and similar loans, the industry has found ways to continue to peddle them.

The Payday Playbook: How High Cost Lenders Fight to Stay Legal

Last year, activists in Missouri tried to limit what high-cost lenders can charge. The ensuing fight exposed something that rarely comes into view so vividly: the high-cost lending industry’s ferocious efforts to stay legal and stay in business.

Senator Presses Consumer Bureau on Installment Lender World Finance

Citing our investigation, Sen. Ron Wyden asked a top official from the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau about what can be done to address abuses by installment lenders.

Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

Former Bank of America employees gave sworn statements that the bank lied to homeowners, denied loan modifications for bogus reasons and rewarded employees for sending homeowners to foreclosure.

On Victory Drive, Soldiers Defeated by Debt

A federal law is supposed to protect service members from predatory lending. But lenders exploit loopholes, trapping military personnel in high-interest debt.

Map: Lenders Line up on Victory Drive

The 182 Percent Loan: How Installment Lenders Put Borrowers in a World of Hurt

Many people know the dangers of payday loans. But "installment loans" also have sky-high rates and work by getting borrowers — usually poor — to renew over and over. We take you inside one of the biggest installment lenders, billion-dollar World Finance.
Paul Kiel
Read Paul Kiel's e-book, The Great American Foreclosure Story, on your Kindle or mobile device.

Contact Info

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.

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