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
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
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 papers, 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.
April 6, 2011
Rev. April 11, 2011
Box Folder Series I Administrative Files Administrative Files 01 01 501c Form, 2007 02 Advertisement 03 Agenda, 2007 04 Agenda, Legal, 2009 05 All About AFFIL Handbook, 2008 06 Allies 07 Ally Drive, 2008 08 Ally Talking Points, 2008 09 Anne Casey Foundation, 2004 10 Benenson Janson Meeting, March, 2005 11 Benenson Janson Hours, 2006 12 Benenson Janson Letter of Agreement, 2005 13 Benenson Janson Contract/Obligations, 2006-2007 14 Benenson Janson Invoices and Estimates, 2006 15 Board Retreat, June 2008 16 Campaign Review 17 Care 2 Financial Agreement 18 Check Requests 19 Cleveland, 2004 20 Cleveland Attendee List Conference Call 21 Conference Call and Firm Opinions, Cleveland Conference, January, 2005 22 Conference Call Meetings 23 Conference Call Umbrella Group, 2004 24 Contracts, 2007-2009 25 Corporate Funding 26 Credit Cards 27 Curbing Predatory Lending Viral Video 28 Dennis Dorgan 29 Endorsement Campaign 30 Economic National Underprivileged Foundation, 2005 31 Email Alerts, Text, and Index, 2005 32 Emails, 2005 33 Emails, 2010 34 Emails American Institute for Social Justice 35 Emails, Expanded Cleveland Group 36 Emails, Ford Foundation, 2005 37 Emails, General Information, 2005 38 Emails, Possible Funding Sources 39 Emails Sent, 2007-2008 40 Emails Umbrella Group 41 Fair Mortgage Collaboration, 2010 42 Field Mobilization and Outreach, 2009 43 Filing Complaints 44 Financial Statement, 2009 45 Financial Product Safety Commission, 2008 46 Ford, May, 2008 47 Ford, September, 2008 48 Fund-raising Consultant and Proposals, 2008 49 House Party Supplies 50 Google Grants 51 Geoffrey Knox and Associates Training 52 Grant Reports and Requests 53 Ideas, 2004 Administrative Files/Meeting Agendas 02 01 Interested Individuals, 2004-2007 02 Insurance, 2007 03 Intern, 2008 04 Kaiser Family Foundation, 2006 05 Legislation center, 2008 06 Lobbying Efforts, 2009 07 Logo 08 Margo Kelly 09 Media 10 Member Surveys, 2008-2009 11 Membership Committee, 2006 12 Miscellaneous 13 Models 14 Models, Losers 15 National Consumer Law Center, 2009 16 National Consumer Law Center Agreement, 2000 17 National Endowment for Financial Education 18 New Partners 19 Operations, 2008 20 On-line Outreach/Blog Advertisments,2008 21 On-line Reports, Final Drafts, 2008-2010 22 Partners 23 Partner Web Resources 24 PDF Tool Kits 25 Perspective, 2004-2006 26 Public Interest Project Agreements, 2010 27 Public Service Announcement Experts 28 State Pages, 2008 29 Strategic Plan, 2008 30 Sunlight Foundation, 2008 31 Tides Foundation 32 Trademarks, 2008-2009 33 Unsubscribers, 2007 34 Video Interviews 35 Web Development 36 Web Financial Reform, 2010 37 Web Outlines 38 Web Progress, 2007 39 Web Review, 2008-2009 40 Web Stats, 2007 Series II Meeting Files 40 American Financial Future Meeting Agenda, 2009 41 Staff Meetings, 2009-2010 42 Auto Finance Meeting, May, 2008 43 Demos Conference, May, 2008 44 General Meetings, 2006-2008 45 Partners Meeting, May, 2008 46 Philadelphia Meeting, September, 2009 47 National Consumer Law Center Meeting, 2006 48 Valentine's Day, 2008 49 Washington Event, 2007 50 Washington Meeting, July 2008 51 Web Notes 52 Willing to Buy Meeting Notes Meeting Agendas 03 01 Administrative Meeting, Sept 6, 2006 02 Administrative Meetings, Sept. 2006-Oct. 2006 03 Administrative Call Notes, 2006 04 Ally Mailing, November, 2006 05 American Financial Reform Wind Down Meeting Notes, 2010 06 Benenson Janson Call Notes, 2006 07 Board Retreat, June, 2009 08 Campus Project 09 Casey First Conversation with Irene for Maxed Out, 2007 10 Casey Notes, May, 2009 11 Center for Community Changes 12 Center for American Progress Event 13 Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, 2007 14 Consumer Federation of America Conference and Payday Summit, 2008 15 Corporation for Enterprise Development 16 D.C. Coalition 17 Design Management Institute 18 Federal Reserve Board, 2008 19 Federal Reserve Board Comments 20 Field Outreach, 2009 21 Focus Groups Notes and Analyses , 2006 22 Forum Launch, 2007 23 Ford Foundation Meeting, September, 2005 24 Ford Foundation, January, 2007 25 March-April, 2007 26 May, 2007 27 General Principles 28 Magnolia and Landmark Conversations on Maxed Out, 2006-2007 29 Maxed Out Screening Cities, 2007 30 Miami, 2006 31 Military Meeting, June 14, 2005 32 Miscellaneous 33 Mortgage Coalition, 2007 34 National Consumer Law Center Meetings, 2007-2009 35 October Meetings, 2006 36 National Council of La Raza, 2007 37 Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, 2005 38 Overdrawn 39 Partner's Meeting, December 4, 2006 40 Partner's Call Notes 41 Public Research Interest Group 42 Regional Partners 43 SDC Media Group, Inc. 44 Staff Meetings, 2005 45 Staff Meetings, June-July, 2007 46 Story Notes 47 Strategy and Structure, March, 2007 48 Structure, April-June, 2007 49 Summer, 2009 50 Supporters 51 Swank Motion Picture Exhibition Forms 52 Web Committee 53 Web Training, Original Notes 54 Whistle Blowers Conversation Notes 55 Video, Columbo Interview, 2008 56 Viral Video, 2008 Series III Research Research Files 04 01 ACORN, 2005 02 AARP, 2005 03 Ad Council, 2005 04 Articles, Website, 2004-2006 05 Arbitration, 2009 06 Auto Financing, 2007 07 Bank Complaints, 2009 08 Blog Reading, 2010 09 Boston Legal Script, 2005 10 Bibliography, 2005 11 California Reinvestment Act, 2008 12 Center for American Progress, 2005 13 Center for Responsible Lending 14 Champaign County Health Care 15 Coalition on Human Needs, 2006 16 Community Reinvestment Act 17 Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina 18 Comparative Consumer Law, 2005 19 Complaints 20 Consumer Action, 2007 21 Consumer Federation of America, 2005 22 Consumer Financial Protection Agency, 2008 23 Consumer Financial Protection Agency, 2009 24 Consumer Union, 2005 25 Credit Cards, 2008 26 Credit Card Campaign, Summer, 2008 27 Credit Card Case File, 2007 28 Credit Card Project of the St. Paul Foundation, 2004 29 Credit Card Reporter's Guide 30 Credit Card Research, 2008-2009 31 Credit Card Stories, 2009 32 Credit Reporting, 2008 33 Credit Union, 2008 34 Debt Collection, 2008 35 Demos, 2005 36 Derivatives, 2009 37 Digital Credit Union, 2008 38 Election Endorsements, 2008 39 Expanding the Network, 2006 40 Equal Justice Foundation 41 Faith Based, 2006 42 Federal Regulation of Consumer Credit, 2005 43 Federal Reserve Board 44 Federal Reserve Board Comments, General 45 Federal Reserve Board Comments, California, 2008 46 Illinois, 2008 47 New York, 4th District, 2008 48 New York, 6th District, 2008 49 New York, 7th District, 2008 50 New York, 12th District, 2008 51 Focus Group Transcripts, June, 2006 52 Focus Group, United States Public Research Interest Group, 2007 53 Focus Group, University of Massachusetts, 2007 05 01 Foolproof, 2008 02 Fannie Mae 03 Freddie Mac 04 Holiday Tips 05 Identity Theft Affiant Rules 06 Ideas, 2005 07 International Consumer Law, 2005 08 If It Ain't Broken, Fix It, Conference Plan, 2004 09 Benenson Janson Advertizement Campaign, 2005 10 Spitfire Strategies,2004 11 In Debt We Trust Campaign, 2006 12 Issues Campaign, 2005 13 Indiana, 2008 14 Jewish Council on Public Affairs, 2008 15 Judge Advocate General's Office, 2004 16 Kansas Federal Comments, 2008 17 Kansas Third District, 2007-2008 18 Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance 19 Legal Aid Society of Cleveland 20 Legislation, 2004 21 Lending and Collection Abuse at a Glance 22 Maxed Out House Parties 23 Showtime Premier, 2008 24 Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition 25 Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, 2004 26 Media Research, 2005 27 Medical Debt, 2009 28 Military, 2005 29 Miscellaneous 30 Moneywise 31 Mortgage 32 Mortgage Advisor/Expert Witness, 2009 33 Mortgage/Housing, 2009 34 Most Happening House Parties 35 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 36 National Association of Consumer Advocates 37 National Association of Consumer Advocate Agencies 38 National American Indian Housing Counsel 39 National Community Reinvestment Coalition 40 National Usury Cap Legislation, S. 500, February, 2009 41 Naval Officer Loan Complaint 42 Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society 43 Navy Federal Credit Union 44 National Training and Information Center 45 Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation 46 New America 47 New Coalition 48 Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project 49 One Thousand Churches Connected 50 Organization for a New Equality 51 Organizational Structure 52 Overdraft 53 Payday 54 Penn Public Interest Research Group 55 Providence Asset Building 56 Proposed Partner Letter, Fall 2005 57 Partner Meetings Presentation Scheduling 58 Pre-presentation Contacts and Preparations 59 Public Interest Law Office, Rochester 60 Questions for Firms, 2005 61 Radio Spots 62 Random Press material, 2007-2008 63 Refund Anticipated Loans, 2007 64 Real Bank Reforms 65 Ritzen v. Chase, 2008 66 Rethos 67 Rosham Bankruptcy Case 68 Service Employees International Union 69 Sojourner 70 Statistics 71 Story Project 72 Student Loans 73 Targeting, 2009 74 Targeted Populations, 2008 75 Transcripts from Videos 76 Transition Management Team 77 Unions, 2008 78 United for a Fair Economy 79 United States Public Interest Research 80 Urban League 81 Woodstock Institute 82 United States Coast Guard 83 United States Marine Corps 84 Usury History Series IV Publicity Print/Visual Media 06 01 Business Cards 02 Campaign Plan, 2005 03 Give Me Back My Credit Fliers 04 Maxed Out Screening Names 05 Maxed Out Screening Questionnaires and Answers 06 New York Times Letter to the Editor, Draft, 2008 07 Pamphlets 08 Portland Conference Publicity, 2008 09 Press Clips 10 Public Service Announcements 11 Report-Lending and Debt in the United States, 2005 12 Report-Lending Patterns, Massachusetts Amnesty and Bank Council 13 SNARF Identity Theft Cards 14 Pursuit of the Dream: Cars & Jobs in America, DVD 15 Overdrawn 16 In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts DVD 17 You've Been Fooled, DVD 18 Basic Black Discriminatory Lending, WGBH, DVD 19 Payday Lending 400%, 60 Minutes Wednesday, 5/18/05, DVD 20 Jim Campen on Fox Business, CD 21 Awareness, DVD-R 22 Americans for Fairness in Lending, Press Kit, DVD 23 "Keep it in Your Pants" Contest Finalists, DVD 24 Videos, 24 September, 2008 DVD 25 Kate Columbo/Phil Santoro Videos, AFFIL 26 House of Cards Promotional Videos, DVD RW 27 Maxed Out, Nightline, 14 March, 2007 VHS 28 Fox Business, 14, February, 2008 29 Truly Indie, Maxed Out Trailer 30 Media Training, Jerry-Cote, Geoffrey Knox and Associates DVD, 2008 31 Men Age 46-65, Focus Group, DVD, 2006 32 Women Age 25-45, Focus Group, DVD, 2006 33 Women Age 25-45, Focus Group, DVD, 2006 34 Women Ages 46-65, Focus Group, DVD, 2006 35 Payday Borrowers: Trapped in a Cycle of Debt, Center for Responsible Lending, DVD 36 Kate Interview, 2008 37 Beeped Video, Censored, DVD 38 Fairness in Lending Press Kit, Benenson Janson-National Consumer Law Center Inc., DVD 39 Maxed Out, Wall Street, January, 2008, DVD (1) 40 Maxed Out, Wall Street, January, 2008, DVD (2) 41 Disaster, CD 42 Slide Project Dunning Panel, CD 43 Debt Hits Hard, CD 44 "Its Always Xmas Time at Visa", Consumer Union Xmas Lending Clip, CD, 2007 45 "Maxed Out" Wall Street Interviews, 1/29/2008, Digital Video Cassette 46 Americans for Fairness in Lending Publicity Portfolio Promotional Material 07 01 Promotional Folder 02 Promotional Hats (3) 03 Promotional Visor (1) 04 FEESA Promotional Giveaways (2)