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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 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.
Sep. 30, 2:43 p.m.The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.
Aug. 16, 7 a.m.The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.
July 12, 7 a.m.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.
June 1, 8:52 a.m.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.
May 5, 6:57 a.m.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.
April 28, 4 a.m.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.
Dec. 31, 2015, 8 a.m.Due to the racial wealth gap, black families have far less in savings than whites. The consequences can be far-reaching and often severe.
Dec. 28, 2015, 5 a.m.A ProPublica analysis of state court filings reveals that Capital One sues its customers far more than any other bank.
Dec. 3, 2015, 1:32 p.m.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.
Oct. 8, 2015, 10 a.m.America’s out-of-date, unfair laws for collecting debts could be dramatically improved by these simple steps.
Oct. 8, 2015, 7 a.m.The black neighborhoods where collection suits hit hardest
Oct. 8, 2015, 7 a.m.In a first-of-its-kind analysis, ProPublica reveals that the suits are far more common in black communities than white ones.
Oct. 8, 2015, 7 a.m.An explanation of how we analyzed whether debt collection lawsuits disproportionately impact black communities.
Aug. 14, 2015, 7 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, 2015, 11:07 a.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, 2015, 5 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, 2015, 10:33 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, 11:25 a.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, NoonPublic 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, 5 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.
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