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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.

Better Late Than Never? Gov’t Finally Penalizes Major Banks for Mortgage Mod Failures

After two years of arguing that it had little power to punish banks for breaking the rules of its mortgage modification program, the administration has decided it’s finally time to crack down. But the punishment won’t do much damage to banks that count their profits in the billions.

Profiles: Shoddy Bank Practices Continue Even After Mortgage Mods

Many homeowners have received a mortgage modification only to find themselves once again at risk of foreclosure because of errors by their mortgage company. ProPublica investigated six of these cases.

Even After Mortgage Modification, Shoddy Bank Practices Hurt Homeowners

Many homeowners have been granted a hard-fought mortgage modification only to have their mortgage company effectively pull a bait and switch.

In Fine Print, Banks Require Struggling Homeowners to Waive Rights

Some banks and others who handle mortgages have been forcing homeowners into a corner: You want a chance at saving your home? Then you’ll have to waive your right to sue.

As Regulators and Banks Review Foreclosures, We’ll Be Watching

As regulators launch an unprecedented plan to compensate victims of wrongful foreclosures, ProPublica will be watching closely.

Amidst Foreclosure Crisis, Proposed Budget Would Slash Housing Counseling

The recent budget deal struck between Republicans and Democrats would slash funding for housing counseling, a move that advocates say would force counseling agencies to lay off staff amid the foreclosure crisis.

Homeowner Wins Reprieve After ProPublica Story

OneWest is postponing the foreclosure of a homeowner we reported on yesterday.

Lawsuit Reveals How a Middleman Is Blocking Mortgage Modifications for Homeowners

The suit is a window into a broken system where even though the actual investors, when asked, say they want to allow mortgage modifications, the bank that acts as their representative has refused to allow them.

Behind Administration Spin: Bailout Still $123 Billion in the Red

The administration has been on a charm offensive about the TARP. We check in with our bailout database to show where things really stand.

Government Vows to Curb Banks' Foreclosure Practices, But Enforcement Still a Question Mark

Hosts of federal agencies and regulators, along with the 50 state attorneys general, are hard at work on laying out new rules for banks and mortgage servicers. But attempts to reform this process have failed before. Will banks abusing the system be held accountable?

By the Numbers: A Revealing Look at the Mortgage Mod Meltdown

We compiled the most compelling data we could find to show how the mortgage industry and the government's main effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), have failed homeowners.

Loan Mod Program Left Homeowners' Fate in Hands of Dysfunctional Industry

The Obama administration’s flagship foreclosure prevention program has gambled on the willingness and ability of a troubled industry to help homeowners.

Despite Finding Big Problems in Mortgage Industry, Regulators' Punishment Unclear

Federal regulators say they're going to crack down after finding "critical deficiencies" with how banks and mortgage servicers have been handling struggling homeowners. But it's an open question just what form a punishment will take.

Dems: Obama Broke Pledge to Force Banks to Help Homeowners

Candidate Obama pledged to support real change in bankruptcy laws to help foundering homeowners. But when it came time to fight for the measure, he didn’t show up. Some Democrats now say his administration actually undermined it behind the scenes.

Govt's Loan Mod Program Crippled by Lax Oversight and Deference to Banks

The Obama administration’s $75 billion foreclosure prevention program has been weakened, perhaps fatally, by a posture of cooperation—rather than enforcement—with the nation’s biggest banks.

Banks Modifying Tiny Percentage of Mortgages in Need

Mortgage modifications, both proprietary and HAMP, are just as rare as they were before the government’s mortgage modification program launched 19 months ago.

Gov’t Has Spent Small Fraction of $50 Billion Pledged for Loan Mods

Data obtained by ProPublica show how much has been spent through the government’s mortgage modification program (HAMP). Our data show how much has gone to each mortgage servicer.

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