Americans for Fairness in Lending records, 2000-2010
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Brief Description:

The Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) records (2000-2010) consists primarily of memos, reports, web data administration, research correspondence (emails and letters), artifacts, and publicity (print and electronic) generated by a non-profit organization (NPO) underwritten primally by large grants from the Beldon Russonello & Stewart, Ford, and the Annie Casey Foundation to advocate for changes in state and federal laws governing business lending practice.

The records, collected into seven boxes, have been arranged to reflect the organization's multifaceted public relations campaign against unfair lending practices in tandem with consumer state and national-level events, including the release of independent film documentaries, the rise of social media programs, the 2008 presidential election, the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act and the 2010 passage of the Dodd-Frank Bill, which created the federal Consumer Protection Bureau. The collection is organized into four series: 1) Administrative Files; 2) Meetings; 3) Research; 4) Publicity.

The Administrative Files Series (2004-2010) consists of two boxes of correspondence (print and email), handbooks, grant applications, meeting minutes, letters of agreement, and employee notes relating to organizational growth. They are arranged in alphabetical order by subject. Some noteworthy items relating to the internal structure of the organization, including the "All About AFFIL" handbook, the search for outside funders, notes relating to conference calls with consumer movement experts, and the organization's strategic plan for the 2008 election cycle. Another key feature of this series includes AFFIL's agreements with the Ford foundation, the public relations firm of Benesen Jansen Advertizing, the National Consumer Law Center, and Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) project agreements.

Finally, researchers of social media, such as Youtube and blogs, will also find several topics in this series of special interest, including the development of the organization's website, the tracking of web statistics, the creation of electronic contented targeting internet users, and the on-line outreach initiatives.

The Meetings Series (2005-2010) spans two boxes arranged in alphabetical order by subject and by date, containing correspondence, notes and annotated research utilized in the planning and execution of discussions concerning different issues concerning the organization. The majority of the files in this series concern the formulation and execution of AFFIL's public interest policies.

Several folders relate to the division of administrative tasks and the formation of business policies for committee assignments, partners, contractors, consultants, the press, and the general consumer movement community, including AFFIL's general principles, field outreach strategy sessions as well as staff meetings and periodic discussions with the National Consumer Law Center. Other files contain documentation related to the organization's periodic updates to funders concerning their ongoing activities, including the Ford Foundation and the Annie Casey Foundation. Still other files concern conversations between the organization and Magnolia Studios in trying to create a public relations campaign to promote AFFIL issues through the release of their a documentary on American predatory lending business practices, Maxed Out.

Other sections of this series include files relating to conversations between employees and the Federal Reserve Board, whistle-blowers, lending victims, and members of the military. Finally, this series also collects material and advice provided in conversations with outside firms, such as Benesen Jensen, focus groups reviewing advertizing campaigns, the National Council of La Raza, and web-based providers.

The Research Series encompasses two boxes of reports, newsletters, internet data, court documents, whistle blower, witness, and victim case files, government documents, and internally generated public relations campaign data.

Arranged in alphabetical order by date, these files comprise the heart of the collection, revealing the sources, data, and political focus of the Americans for Fairness in Lending. Some folders contain information generated by the United States government, including the Federal Reserve Board, National Usury Cap Legislation, S.500, 2009, and the California Reinvestment Act.

Other folders collect documents relating to different aspects of credit card and intermediary lending company operations, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, medical debt, the Navy Federal Credit Union, the case files of whistle blower, witnesses, and victims, Ritzen v Chase court files, and a brief history of the practice of usury. Still other folders collect lending information generated by the entertainment industry, consumer groups and noted AFFIL associates, including the television show Boston Legal, ACORN, AARP, the Legal Aid Society, the NAACP, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and the Consumer Federation of American.

Several folders also contain information collected by AFFIL contractors, including focus group data, Kansas district voting patterns, marketing statistics, and targeted population demographics. Finally, this series also contains accumulated consumer lessons from different sources on a wide variety of topics, including Christmas holiday tips, lending and collection abuse guides, mortgage advise, student loans, and payday provisions.

The Publicity Series spans three boxes, collecting the artifacts, posters, and media related to the organization's public relations campaigns. Several folders collect documents generated for Maxed Out Screenings, including fliers, questionnaires, house party lists. Other files hold fact cards, business cards, fliers, press kits, and reports, which AFFIL distributed at consumer conferences.

Some of the artifacts collected in this series also include promotional folders, hats, and visors. The strength of this series, however, remains the collection of DVD, CD, microcassette, VHS recordings of AFFIL videos and advocate interviews on several news magazine programs, including Nightline, Fox Business, and 60 Minutes. Finally, a number of small and large posters depicting lending and mortgage horror stories featured as part of AFFIL's on-going campaigns have been retained for preservation in this series. P. Thomsen April 6, 2011 Rev. April 11, 2011

Held at:
Morse Department of Special Collections
Email: libsc [at] ksu.edu
Volume: 10.5 Linear Feet
Arrangement: The collection is organized into four series: 1) Administrative Files; 2) Meetings; 3) Research; 4) Publicity.
Rights/Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Acquisition Notes: In 2010, Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections at Hale Library, Kansas State University, became the repository for the records of the Americans for Fairness in Lending  Donation
PreferredCitation: Americans for Fairness in Lending Practices papers, Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.