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Paul Kiel

Reporter

Photo of Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel covers consumer finance for ProPublica.

In recent years, his work has helped spur a $135 million settlement by a subprime lender for alleged abuses against service members, legislation in Congress, a federal investigation of a high-cost lender, state rule changes, and a nonprofit hospital to renounce its past aggressive collection of low-income patients’ debts and forgive millions of dollars’ worth of medical bills.

Past areas of focus have included the foreclosure crisis, high-cost lending (particularly installment and payday loans), and the widespread use of lawsuits and garnishments to collect consumer debts. His current area of focus is 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 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.

Doubts About Independent Foreclosure Review Spread

Evidence emerges that the largest banks might be influencing the determination of who was victimized by their own practices.

Is BofA’s Foreclosure Review Really Independent? You Be the Judge

Bank of America and federal regulators say the Independent Foreclosure Review is just that — independent. But documents and interviews indicate it's not.

Foreclosure Fail: Study Pins Blame on Big Banks

A study by government and academic researchers finds that approximately 800,000 homeowners missed out on mortgage modifications because of big banks' poor performance.

The Bailout: By The Actual Numbers

While Democrats paint a glowing picture of the bailout, our Bailout Tracker database tells the whole story. A look at the biggest losses and gains stemming from the TARP and Fannie, Freddie bailout.

Big Foreclosure Compensation, But Only for the Right Wrongs

Last month, the government released information on the compensation victims of the banks’ foreclosure practices might receive. For homeowners, it turns out that it’s crucially important just how the bank messed up.

Guiding You Through the Govt's Foreclosure Compensation Maze

The government promises that harmed homeowners will get compensated —but its programs are confusing. We help navigate them.

Billion Dollar Bait & Switch: States Divert Foreclosure Deal Funds

Under the foreclosure settlement with big banks, states got $2.5 billion to help homeowners. But a comprehensive, state-by-state breakdown shows that almost a billion is going to general use.

Where Are the Foreclosure Deal Millions Going in Your State?

We contacted every state to see how they are spending the money they received from the foreclosure settlement. Here’s the most comprehensive breakdown available anywhere.

Excerpt: At Goldman Sachs Servicer, 'Total Disaster'

An employee at a mortgage servicer that was owned by Goldman describes the internal chaos that harmed thousands of homeowners and undermined the government's flagship foreclosure prevention program.

The Great American Foreclosure Story: The Struggle for Justice and a Place to Call Home

The story of how one woman went from a three-bedroom home to a tent is the story of how America ended up in a foreclosure crisis that still drags down the economy.

Will Mortgage Settlement Avoid Repeating Obama’s Foreclosure Failures?

Yesterday's mortgage settlement aims to avoid the pitfalls of the administration's floundering foreclosure program, but enforcement is again a question.

Flaws Jeopardize New Attempt to Help Homeowners

The Independent Foreclosure Review seeks to compensate homeowners victimized by big banks, but key elements remain undecided, unclear or secret, while lawmakers and homeowner advocates have criticized some of the known features.

Our FAQ on The National Foreclosure Settlement and Independent Foreclosure Review

Regulators have provided a bare-bones website and frequently asked questions about the foreclosure reviews. But we thought things could be even clearer for readers, so we are providing this FAQ.

Surprise on Refi Revamp: Key Regulator Agrees to Major Program Reforms

Federal Housing Finance Agency chief Edward DeMarco had blocked earlier efforts to help struggling homeowners, but now he’s signed onto a major change to encourage banks to refinance underwater mortgages.

Email Warned That Bank Up For Bailout Was ‘Disastrous’

Anonymous tip warned Treasury that United Commercial Bank was troubled, but the bank still got almost $300 million. Now the bank has failed and two executives are facing criminal charges.

Secret Docs Show Foreclosure Watchdog Doesn’t Bark or Bite

Documents obtained by ProPublica suggest the government coddled mortgage servicers in its flagship foreclosure prevention program despite frequent and serious errors.

One Obstacle to Obama's New Plan to Help Homeowners: A Gov't Regulator

Obama wants to help hurting homeowners refinance into cheaper loans, but that hasn’t gone well so far, and efforts to fix it might be stymied.

Nevada Wallops Bank of America With Sweeping Suit; Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement in Peril

By vastly expanding its suit against Bank of America to include all major stages of the bank's mortgage practices, Nevada signals that the banks' mortgage troubles will likely continue to dog them.

Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose

An internal document obtained by ProPublica shows that when one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers sought to foreclose on a homeowner last year and lacked a crucial document, they just made one up. The case appears to be part of a larger pattern of deceptive filings to foreclose on homeowners.

Bank Errors Continue to Cause Wrongful Foreclosures

Banks continue to blindside homeowners by foreclosing when the homeowners are still awaiting word on their application for a mortgage modification.

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