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Americans for Fairness in Lending records

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Administrative Files

Meeting Files

Research

Publicity



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Americans for Fairness in Lending records, 2000-2010 | Morse Department of Special Collections

By P Thomsen (April 2011)

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Collection Overview

Title: Americans for Fairness in Lending records, 2000-2010Add to your cart.

Extent: 10.5 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The collection is organized into four series: 1) Administrative Files; 2) Meetings; 3) Research; 4) Publicity.

Abstract

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 (AFFIL) organization which was based out of the 77 Summer Street, Boston, Massachusetts between 2006 and 2010.

Originating with a small office staff as an offshoot from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) in 2006, AFFIL heavily utilized web managers, media relations, polling firms and other consumer groups to raise public "awareness of predatory lending practices." In 2008, AFFIL tightened their focus towards achieving "a dream of a federal regulator wholly devoted to consumer finance."

They supported the 2008 Presidential Election by promoting then-Senator Barack Obama's campaign for financial/bank reform and attacking his Republican challengers, Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. They were also instrumental in the final passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Bill, which established an independent consumer protection bureau within the Federal Reserve to protect borrowers against abuses in mortgage, credit card, and other types of lending. Several of AFFIL's files include such companies as Mac, Lehman Brothers, HSBC, Fair Isaac Corporation, MNBA, and Saturn.

The arrangement of these records reflect the non-profit organization's multi-faceted approach to raising national awareness on dubious lending practices and the means with which to end them. They are organized in the following manner: 1) Administrative Files; 2) Meetings; 3) Research; 4) Publicity.

The Americans for Fairness in Lending Records (2000-2010) provides researchers with an in-depth perspective of a consumer group and their development of an issue-centric national campaign against special interest groups to affect a change in congressional legislation and the outcome of a presidential election.

Specializing in unfair lending practices, these papers contain the memos, reports, web data administration, correspondence (emails and letters), grant proposals, meeting minutes, legal agreements, artifacts, publicity (print and electronic), trademark certificates, and research of a non-profit organization (NPO). Some of the subjects include specious credit card payment schemes, mortgage lending, refund anticipation loans, and pay-day loans as well as both student and military family loans.

The papers also include the organization's relationship with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), NCLC, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), Care 2, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the Annie Casey Foundation, AARP, Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), the Sunlight Foundation, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), the Ford Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, the Federal Reserve Board, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), Travis Plunket, and Elizabeth Warren. The Americans for Fairness in Lending Records has been assigned Accession Number P2011.03

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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

Collection Historical Note

2004 Oct.7-8; The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) organizes a conference on      "Changing Attitudes, Reforming Policy in the Credit Market at Cleveland State University with the assistance of several consumer groups, including ACORN, the Center for Responsible Lending, and the Consumer Federation of America                

Dec; NCLC offers a proposal to the Annie Casey Foundation for a grant to fund an      exploration of ways to "reduce the devastation from unfair lending and excessive debt on      low income families" through the creation of a public relations campaign

2005 Oct; NCLC submits a similar proposal to the Ford Foundation for a public relations      campaign to "stop predatory lending" 2005 May 18; 60 Minutes airs an episode on Payday lending as part of their weekly news      magazine show

2006 August 31, With the granted funds, NCLC creates Americans for Fairness in Lending      (AFFIL) and houses the small organization in their 77 Summer Street, Boston,      Massachusetts office building.   Kirsten Keefe serves as a part-time Executive Director,      working out of Albany, New York. They adopt a set of Principles of Fairness in lending      from related consumer groups as their standard, called AFFIL's Six Principles of Fairness      in Lending Sarah Byrnes is appointed as a full time Campaign Manager for AFFIL's Boston,   Massachusetts office    

June; AFFIL hires Washington, D.C based research firm Beldon Russonello & Stewart      and Benenson Janson to conduct focus groups in Chicago on public perceptions of      lending and case stories to be used in forthcoming campaigns, including "American      Tragedies" and "Family in the Woods"    

Nov; Cathy Lesser Mansfield chairs the first Board of Directors meeting. The  Board      begins to oversee AFFIL's finances and organizational structure, leaving the vision and      mission of the campaign to the partners    

Dec.; Bari George of By George and Company is contracted as part of  AFFIL's forming      team of media specialists and writers to work as a  communications consultant, working      closely with Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Entertainment, Simon and Schuster, and James      Scurlock to coordinate events around the release of the documentary and book "Maxed      Out"

2007 March; The first public relations campaign begins in 2007, which included a print ad      campaign, website, and collaboration with the release of "Maxed Out," including hosting      public screenings, sponsoring house parties, and lending copies for home viewership      Sept; Senator Barrack Obama becomes the first major party candidate for president to      endorse the AFFIL's Six Principles of Fairness in Lending to "empower more Americans      in the fight against consumer fraud"

2008 Elizabeth Warren and Travis Plunket testify before the United States Congress regarding unfair lending practises

Feb; AFFIL is featured on Fox Business, CNN, ABC, and Nightline; AFFIL begins working in conjunction with the Consumer Union to devise a credit card work plan. For this purpose, the Consumer Union grants $7,500 to jointly publish a reporter's guide to credit rates and the five states deepest in credit card debt, including Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's state of Alaska. AFFIL begins a "Kiss Credit Card Rip-Offs Goodbye" postcard writing campaign, featuring 40,000 activists lobbying congress to support the passage of  Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD)

May; Kate Columbo video campaign begins; AFFIL creates a policy and  procedures guide for media relations    

June 9; AFFIL holds a board meeting and staff retreat with Elizabeth Renuart to      brainstorm and coordinate activities over the next year AFFIL begins collaborating with web-based non-profit organization Care2

2009 Sarah Burns is appointed Executive Director of AFFIL. The internal staff grows to three members. When Sarah Burns takes maternity leave, AFFIL is led by Jim Campen.    

Feb; The United States Senate begins debating the S.500 National Usury Cap  legislation      and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)In coordination with Consumer Federation of America, AFFIL begins a district  level public relations campaign targeting Midwest and Plains states with  legislators resistant to lending reforms   

May; President Obama signs the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD) into law AFFIL partners with Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), a Washington based coalition of over 250 consumer groups. Together, they lobby for a broad overhaul of the nation's financial system through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

2010 July; The Dodd-Frank bill passes, creating an independent consumer protection bureau within the Federal Reserve to protect borrowers against abuses in mortgage, credit card, and other types of lending AFFIL lobbies for the Arbitration Fairness Act     

Sept 30; Americans for Fairness in Lending terminates operations

Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Acquisition Source: 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

Acquisition Method: Donation

Appraisal Information: The Americans for Fairness in Lending Records (2000-2010) provides researchers with an in-depth perspective of a consumer group and their development of an issue-centric national campaign against special interest groups to affect a change in congressional legislation and the outcome of a presidential election. Specializing in unfair lending practices, these papers contain the memos, reports, web data administration, correspondence (emails and letters), grant proposals, meeting minutes, legal agreements, artifacts, publicity (print and electronic), trademark certificates, and research of a non-profit organization (NPO). Some of the subjects include specious credit card payment schemes, mortgage lending, refund anticipation loans, and pay-day loans as well as both student and military family loans. The papers also include the organization's relationship with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), NCLC, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), Care 2, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the Annie Casey Foundation, AARP, Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), the Sunlight Foundation, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), the Ford Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, the Federal Reserve Board, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), Travis Plunket, and Elizabeth Warren.

Preferred Citation: Americans for Fairness in Lending Practices papers, Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Processing Information:

Archon Processing by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, April 2015.

HTML finding aid written by P. Thomsen 11 April 2011.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files],
[Series 2: Meeting Files],
[Series 3: Research],
[Series 4: Publicity],
[All]

Series 4: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Box 6: Print/Visual MediaAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Business CardsAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Campaign Plan, 2005Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Give Me Back My Credit FliersAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Maxed Out Screening NamesAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Maxed Out Screening Questionnaires and AnswersAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: New York Times Letter to the Editor, Draft, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 7: PamphletsAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Portland Conference Publicity, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Press ClipsAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Public Service AnnouncementsAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Report-Lending and Debt in the United States, 2005Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Report-Lending Patterns, Massachusetts Amnesty and Bank CouncilAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: SNARF Identity Theft CardsAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Pursuit of the Dream: Cars & Jobs in America, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: OverdrawnAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: You've Been Fooled, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: You've Been Fooled, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Payday Lending 400%, 60 Minutes Wednesday, 5/18/05, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Jim Campen on Fox Business, CDAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Awareness, DVD-RAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Americans for Fairness in Lending, Press Kit, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: "Keep it in Your Pants" Contest Finalists, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: Videos, 24 September, 2008 DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 25: Kate Columbo/Phil Santoro Videos, AFFILAdd to your cart.
Folder 26: House of Cards Promotional Videos, DVD RWAdd to your cart.
Folder 27: Maxed Out, Nightline, 14 March, 2007 VHSAdd to your cart.
Folder 28: Fox Business, 14, February, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Truly Indie, Maxed Out TrailerAdd to your cart.
Folder 30: Media Training, Jerry-Cote, Geoffrey Knox and Associates DVD, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Men Age 46-65, Focus Group, DVD, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Women Age 25-45, Focus Group,  DVD, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Women Age 25-45, Focus Group, DVD, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Women Ages 46-65, Focus Group, DVD, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Payday Borrowers: Trapped in a Cycle of Debt, Center for Responsible Lending, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 36: Kate Interview, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 37: Beeped Video, Censored, DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 38: Fairness in Lending Press Kit, Benenson Janson-National Consumer Law Center Inc., DVDAdd to your cart.
Folder 39: Maxed Out, Wall Street, January, 2008, DVD (1)Add to your cart.
Folder 40: Maxed Out, Wall Street, January, 2008, DVD (2)Add to your cart.
Folder 41: Disaster, CDAdd to your cart.
Folder 42: Slide Project Dunning Panel, CDAdd to your cart.
Folder 43: Debt Hits Hard, CDAdd to your cart.
Folder 44: "Its Always Xmas Time at Visa", Consumer Union Xmas Lending Clip, CD, 2007Add to your cart.
Folder 45: "Maxed Out" Wall Street Interviews, 1/29/2008, Digital Video CassetteAdd to your cart.
Folder 46: Americans for Fairness in Lending Publicity PortfolioAdd to your cart.
Box 7: Promotional MaterialAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Promotional FolderAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Promotional Hats (3)Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Promotional Visor (1)Add to your cart.
Folder 4: FEESA Promotional Giveaways (2)Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files],
[Series 2: Meeting Files],
[Series 3: Research],
[Series 4: Publicity],
[All]


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