Current Issues, CLNJ Positions, and Consumer Information

International Issues
* Child Labor

National Issues
* Bank privacy
* Bankruptcy
* Credit cards
* Rent to own
* Truth in Lending Act
* Pay-day lenders

New Jersey Issues
* Civil usury law needed
* Rent to own
* Child Labor laws

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National Issues

* Rent to own Hotline: US House subcommittee votes to legalize unlimited interest for rent to own, prohibit disclosure of the Annual Percentage Rate!
* Federal Reserve threatened your bank privacy,
* Bankruptcy "reform" punishes the middle class,
* Low cost credit cards-National List
* Preserve the Truth in Lending Act
* National rent to own bills
* Pay-day lenders who charge loanshark rates

New Jersey Issues

* Civil usury law is the cornerstone of consumer credit in N.J., Usury laws protects state against "pay day" lenders and "car title pawns,"

* Rent to own bills would legalize interest over 100% APR for poor and urban consumers: what is A.G. John Farmer doing??

* CLNJ Supports A1711 to bolster enforcement of Child Labor laws in NJ

Child Labor
Consumers League supports international efforts to end child labor, which exploits the world's chilren with low wages, unhealthy and dangerous conditions, and robs them of education. Children should not be working full time- they should be in school, and their parents should be earning wages sufficient to support a decent standard of living (not just the local minimum wage).

The National Consumers League backs a coalition of groups working on child labor. A Canadian youth has started Free the Children, an inspiritional campaign for children by children, which fights child labor and other serious problems (see N.Y. Times, 4/17/99 pB1). In New Jersey, CLNJ backs a bill to increase state spending to investigate child labor here at home.

National Rent to Own bills
Consumers League opposes HR1701 and any industry-written bills in Congress which would legalize rent to own sales with minimal disclosures to consumers. CLNJ believes that disclosure of the Annual Percentage Rate ought to be required by Congress, so consumers know how badly they are being taken. No one can be said to "agree" to a contract, when one side has hidden the most important term, the Annual Percentage Rate. The Federal Reserve Board had no business in attempting to exempt RTO from Truth in Lending disclosure. The maximum interest rate should also be regulated, because the usury laws are the first consumer protection laws. The cash price should be the fair market value of the goods. Government has an obligation to protect its people. Click here for an extended discussion of rent to own, and our rent to own educational campaign.

"Pay day" lenders charge loanshark rates
Pay day lenders, the scourge of states like Tennessee and Florida, want to invade your state too. The lenders make small loans, secured by a post-dated check, due on your pay day, for small amounts with large fees. A loan of $100 for two weeks, with $15 interest, is really an Annual Percentage Rate of 390%! (7.5% per week times 52 weeks = 390%). Such loans should not be allowed in a civilized society. So far, New Jersey has resisted this scourge, because New Jersey has a civil usury law (with a 16% limit) and a criminal usury law (30% maximum for licensed lenders). Please see CLNJ's testimony on a N.J. bill A.2355 which would weaken this protection.

The Consumer Federation of America has a fine nationwide study of the outrageous interest charged by pay day lenders Please note that the otherwise excellent CFA study overlooked that New Jersey has usury laws which make pay day loans illegal here (if they charge more than 16% interest).

Click here for a list of background articles and testimony about pay day lending from major consumer organizations.

Federal Reserve Board proposes weakening Truth in Lending, affecting all consumers
The Federal Reserve Board, charged with protecting all consumers in every type of consumer loan, has floated some bad proposals to water down the Truth in Lending disclosures you get when you mortgage your home, inter alia. The National Consumer Law Center has an excellent commentary on this proposal at the NCLC website.

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