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A Consumer Rights “Merger”: Public Citizen Joins Americans for Fairness in Lending Consumer Coalition

May 29, 2007

A Consumer Rights “Merger”: Public Citizen Joins Americans for Fairness in Lending Consumer Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen and Americans for Fairness in Lending   (AFFIL), a national collaboration of 25 leading consumer advocacy and civil rights groups, announced today that Public Citizen is joining the AFFIL campaign to raise public awareness of dangerous and damaging lending industry practices.

The addition of Public Citizen will strengthen the growing AFFIL partnership, which speaks directly to consumers to expose widespread abusive lending practices and builds a supportive environment for consumer advocacy organizations calling for reform and regulation of the credit and lending industries. AFFIL’s nationwide campaign, especially its consumer-focused Web site, www.affil.org, provides information to help consumers fight back, educates the public and policymakers about the need for reform and demands action to assist debt-burdened Americans.  AFFIL unites the efforts of the nation’s leading consumer advocates, providing people with a one-stop resource to take action to better build and protect their assets.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit advocacy organization that represents a range of consumer interests in government – including the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts. As an AFFIL partner, Public Citizen contributes its considerable experience with consumer advocacy, its large network of members and activists, and its expertise on the escalating use of binding mandatory arbitration. Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division has issued reports debunking the myth that arbitration offers consumers any benefit in resolving their disputes. 

“Public Citizen is pleased to officially join forces with our colleague advocacy organizations,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “Together, we will protect consumers and stand up when there are attacks on consumer rights.”   Future plans include the joint promotion of the DVD release of the documentary Maxed Out, a compelling examination of debt in America.  Public Citizen will also soon publish a report on how consumers are being hurt by the abuse of binding mandatory arbitration clauses in credit card agreements.

“We are thrilled that Public Citizen, one of the first and strongest watchdogs for consumers’ rights, is joining AFFIL,” stated Kirsten Keefe, executive director of AFFIL. “The ability to seek redress in a court of law is fundamental to consumers’ rights, and Public Citizen is a leader in ensuring that this right cannot be contracted away.”

Public Citizen joins the original Americans for Fairness in Lending partner organizations: ACORN, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Community Change, Center for Responsible Lending, CFED, Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Demos, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, United Professionals, USPIRG and Woodstock Institute. Also involved in AFFIL are AARP, AFL-CIO, Center for American Progress, International Union UAW, NAACP, National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Council of La Raza, National League of Cities and National Urban League.