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Paul Kiel covers consumer finance for ProPublica.
Recently, his focus has been on debt collection. His work in 2014 was honored as a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award, a Scripps Howard Award, and a Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
His work in 2013 on high-cost lending was honored as a finalist for both a Gerald Loeb Award and a SABEW Best in Business Award.
He’s produced stories for the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and American Public Media’s Marketplace, among others.
Aug. 14, 8 a.m.After a ProPublica investigation of USA Discounters’ lending practices last summer, a barrage of lawsuits, regulatory inquiries and changes to Defense Department policies followed.
March 27, 12:07 p.m.New rules put forward by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have a major impact on the high-cost loan industry. But if history is any guide, lenders will quickly find some loopholes.
Jan. 22, 6 a.m.Prompted by an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley asks a Missouri nonprofit hospital to explain why it seizes the wages of thousands of its patients.
Jan. 15, 11:33 a.m.Nonprofit hospitals get big tax breaks for providing care for patients who can't afford it. Under new IRS rules these hospitals must take extra steps to inform poor patients they may qualify for financial assistance.
Dec. 26, 2014, 12:25 p.m.In the latest move against companies targeting military customers, federal regulators prohibit two Virginia-based lenders from suing out-of-state debtors in Virginia courts. The companies were featured in a ProPublica story in July.
Dec. 22, 2014, 1 p.m.Public hospitals can be among the most aggressive in collecting debts from poor patients, not only garnishing their wages, but cleaning out their bank accounts. “It makes me sick,” said one legal aid attorney.
Dec. 19, 2014, 6 a.m.One Missouri hospital has sued thousands of uninsured patients who couldn't pay for their care, then grabbed a hefty portion of their paychecks to cover the bills. "We will be paying them off until we die," one debtor said.
Oct. 7, 2014, 2:21 p.m.USA Discounters, promising to change how it pursues military debtors, will now be known as USA Living.
Sep. 26, 2014, 3:05 p.m.Acknowledging that a previous law did not go far enough, Defense Department proposes new rules to protect service members from high-cost lenders.
Sep. 16, 2014, 5 a.m.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.
Sep. 15, 2014, 5 a.m.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.
Aug. 15, 2014, 9 a.m.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.
Aug. 6, 2014, 11:19 a.m.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.
July 28, 2014, 10:54 a.m.The company says ProPublica “inaccurately” portrayed its policies regarding military customers, but cites no errors.
July 25, 2014, 11 a.m.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.
July 25, 2014, 11 a.m.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.
July 25, 2014, 9 a.m.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.
June 4, 2014, 3:17 p.m.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.
March 13, 2014, 3:52 p.m.The investigation follows a ProPublica story that detailed the company’s lending practices.
Dec. 13, 2013, 11:46 a.m.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.
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