Paul Kiel

Reporter

Photo of Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel covers business and consumer finance for ProPublica. His focus this year is on the IRS and its ability to administer the nation's tax laws.

In recent years, his work has helped spur a $135 million settlement by a subprime lender for alleged abuses against service members, legislation in Congressa federal investigation of a high-cost lenderstate rule changes and the forgiveness of $17 million in medical bills by a nonprofit hospital.

Past areas of focus have included the foreclosure crisishigh-cost lending (particularly installment and payday loans), the widespread use of lawsuits and garnishments to collect consumer debts, and the consumer bankruptcy system.

His work has appeared in several newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has also produced stories for National Public Radio and American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as appeared on This American Life.

Among other honors, his work has been awarded a Philip Meyer Award by Investigative Reporters and Editors, a Scripps Howard Award, a Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Online News Association’s Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, and a National Press Club Award. His e-book on the foreclosure crisis was featured in The Best Business Writing 2013.

In the South, Bankruptcy Is Different, Especially for Black Debtors

Only in the South is Chapter 13 the predominant form of bankruptcy. We mapped Chapter 13’s usage to show that it breaks not only along regional, but also racial lines.

Data Analysis: Bankruptcy and Race in America

An in-depth discussion of racial patterns in bankruptcy filings and outcomes

How the Bankruptcy System Is Failing Black Americans

Black people struggling with debts are far less likely than their white peers to gain lasting relief from bankruptcy, according to a ProPublica analysis. Primarily to blame is a style of bankruptcy practiced by lawyers in the South.

In Nebraska, New Bill Proposes Protections Against Rampant Debt Collection

Bill seeks to block collectors from cleaning out debtors’ bank accounts over medical debts of a few hundred dollars.

Trump’s Treasury Pick Excelled at Kicking Elderly People Out of Their Homes

When Steven Mnuchin ran OneWest, the bank aggressively and in some cases, wrongly, foreclosed on elderly homeowners with reverse mortgages. The bank had a disproportionate share of such foreclosures.

In Major Settlement, States Gang Up to Strike Deal with Soldier-Suing Company

The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.

Company That Sued Soldiers Settles Colorado Lawsuit

The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.

In Bill, Lawmakers Propose New Limits for Seizing Workers’ Pay Over Old Debts

Last week, two lawmakers introduced a bill to put new limits on what debt collectors can take from debtors’ paychecks and bank accounts. It is the first legislation to address the issue in decades and follows a series of ProPublica stories about the widespread practice of garnishment.

Nonprofit Hospital Stops Suing So Many Poor Patients: Will Others Follow?

A story by ProPublica and NPR and a Senate investigation prompt a Missouri nonprofit hospital to change its policies and forgive thousands of patients’ debts. But without similar scrutiny, it’s unclear if other hospitals that sue the poor will change.

So Sue Them: What We’ve Learned About the Debt Collection Lawsuit Machine

ProPublica spent years gathering data to shed light on how debt collectors use the courts. Today, we run through the most important lessons we learned about a tactic that affects millions.

For Nebraska’s Poor, Get Sick and Get Sued

Cheap court fees and looser rules make suing over medical debts as small as $60 easy. Every year Nebraska collection agencies file lawsuits by the tens of thousands.

Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives

Due to the racial wealth gap, black families have far less in savings than whites. The consequences can be far-reaching and often severe.

At Capital One, Easy Credit and Abundant Lawsuits

A ProPublica analysis of state court filings reveals that Capital One sues its customers far more than any other bank.

To Address Race Gap, Missouri AG Pushes Debt Collection Fixes

Citing ProPublica’s reporting, Missouri’s attorney general proposed reforms to the state court rules to address the prevalence of debt collection suits in black neighborhoods.

What Can Be Done Right Now to Fix the Legal System for Debt Collection

America’s out-of-date, unfair laws for collecting debts could be dramatically improved by these simple steps.

The Color of Debt

The black neighborhoods where collection suits hit hardest

The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

In a first-of-its-kind analysis, ProPublica reveals that the suits are far more common in black communities than white ones.

How We Analyzed Racial Disparity in Debt Collection Lawsuits

An explanation of how we analyzed whether debt collection lawsuits disproportionately impact black communities.

Company That Sued Soldiers Closes Its Stores

After a ProPublica investigation of USA Discounters’ lending practices last summer, a barrage of lawsuits, regulatory inquiries and changes to Defense Department policies followed.

Let The Game of Whack-A-Mole Begin: Feds Put Forward New Payday Rules

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.

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