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What Americans Owe and Why

Impact of Our Reporting

Ohio Lawmakers Seek Strict Rules for “Clean Energy” Lending

A statewide clean-energy lending program in Ohio stalled last year before making any loans. Lawmakers want to add consumer protections in case the program resurfaces.

Michigan’s Largest Utility Faces Pushback on Debt Sales and Shut-Offs as Company Asks for Rate Hike

As DTE Energy pushes for a rate increase, the state is taking a closer look at its sale of customer debt to collection agencies. The company’s use of shut-offs and response to outages are also drawing criticism.

Local Reporting Network

Driven Into Debt

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Proposes Further Traffic Ticket Reforms to Help Low-Income Motorists

In 2018, ProPublica reported on how vehicle tickets in Chicago disproportionately harm low-income, Black residents. This latest set of reforms proposes lowering ticket costs and providing debt relief for low-income residents.


141 stories published since 2015

Are Colorado’s Efforts to Curb HOA Foreclosures Working?

HOA Foreclosures Are a “Lose-Lose” Game for Coloradans, but These Lawyers Win Regardless of the Outcome

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Fines TitleMax $15 Million for Predatory Lending

Inside the Controversial Sales Practices of the Nation’s Biggest Title Lender

How Title Lending Works

How Title Lenders Trap Poor Americans in Debt With Triple-Digit Interest Rates

Ohio Lawmakers Seek Strict Rules for “Clean Energy” Lending

Michigan’s Largest Utility Faces Pushback on Debt Sales and Shut-Offs as Company Asks for Rate Hike

Colorado Legislature Passes HOA Foreclosure Reform Bill

Colorado HOA Foreclosure Reform Legislation Moves Forward

They Faced Foreclosure Not From Their Mortgage Lender, but From Their HOA

A Return to Robo-Signing: JPMorgan Chase Has Unleashed a Lawsuit Blitz on Credit Card Customers

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Proposes Further Traffic Ticket Reforms to Help Low-Income Motorists

Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Borrowers Was 10 Years in the Making

The Education Department Will Forgive $5.8 Billion in Student Loans for Disabled Borrowers

Cities in Ohio Want to Use the Same Clean-Energy Financing Company That Saddled Missouri Homeowners With Debt

Some Hospitals Kept Suing Patients Over Medical Debt Through the Pandemic

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Reforms to Controversial Clean-Energy Loan Program

Clean-Energy Loans Trapped Black Homeowners in Debt. The Legislature Just Started Trying to Fix the Problem.

State-Supported “Clean Energy” Loans Are Putting Borrowers at Risk of Losing Their Homes

There’s Only One State Where Falling Behind on Rent Could Mean Jail Time. That Could Change.

Feds Investigating Lender That Sued Thousands of Lower-Income Latinos During Pandemic

Thousands of Illinois Drivers Would Get Their Licenses Back Under a Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Donald Trump Built a National Debt So Big (Even Before the Pandemic) That It’ll Weigh Down the Economy for Years

A Lender Sued Thousands of Lower-Income Latinos During the Pandemic. Now It Wants to Be a National Bank.

JPMorgan Chase Bank Wrongly Charged 170,000 Customers Overdraft Fees. Federal Regulators Refused to Penalize It.

The Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped This School District From Suing Parents Over Unpaid Textbook Fees

New Bill Proposes Stopping Unemployment Agencies That Make Mistakes From Demanding Money Back

Nonprofit Hospital Almost Never Gave Discounts to Poor Patients During Collections, Documents Show

A Guide to Navigating the Texas Unemployment System During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Fed Saved the Economy but Is Threatening Trillions of Dollars Worth of Middle-Class Retirement

Help Us Investigate Collection Practices at Virginia Colleges and Universities

Debt Collectors Have Made a Fortune This Year. Now They’re Coming for More.

What Happens After a Debt Collection Machine Grinds to a Halt

La empresa prestamista que demandó a miles de latinos de bajos ingresos durante la pandemia

Cómo determinamos cuántas demandas de cobranza de adeudos presentó Oportun Inc. durante la pandemia

The Loan Company That Sued Thousands of Low-Income Latinos During the Pandemic

How We Found Out How Many Debt Collection Lawsuits Oportun Inc. Filed During the Pandemic

She Was Sued Over Rent She Didn’t Owe. It Took Seven Court Dates to Prove She Was Right.

Demandaron a miles de prestatarios durante la pandemia, hasta que comenzamos a hacer preguntas

They Sued Thousands of Borrowers During the Pandemic — Until We Started Asking Questions

The Eviction Ban Worked, but It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready.

Capital One and Other Debt Collectors Are Still Coming for Millions of Americans

These Hospitals Pinned Their Hopes on Private Management Companies. Now They’re Deeper in Debt.

This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family.

This Billionaire Governor’s Been Sued Over Unpaid Bills. A Judge Just Ordered Him to Pay More.

A Closer Look at Federal COVID Contractors Reveals Inexperience, Fraud Accusations and a Weapons Dealer Operating Out of Someone’s House

The Billionaire Governor Who’s Been Sued Dozens of Times for Millions in Unpaid Bills

See Who’s Taken Gov. Jim Justice to Court Over Unpaid Bills

The Financial Catastrophe That Coronavirus Brought to Small Towns