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Pinpointing THE one thing that did in conservative Democratic state lawmaker Jim Crawford in yesterday’s election is tough given the long list of progressive causes the Granville County state rep has angered through the years.

But here’s one issue that was clearly a significant factor: Crawford’s longstanding opposition to tougher consumer protection laws in the predatory lending arena.

For several years, Crawford has been one of the high-cost loan industry’s “go to” friends on Jones Street. Last year, he joined with Republicans to help pass industry-drafted legislation that would jack up already exorbitant interest rates (currently already above 50% per year) on consumer loans made by storefront lenders. The bill is pending in the state Senate.

Now, it appears Crawford’s close relationship with high-cost moneylenders has finally come back to bite him. Crawford’s opponents apparently distributed thousands of copies of a mailer during the latter days of the campaign connecting the dots (accurately, it turns out) between Crawford and the sharks.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Crawford’s demise has an impact on any of his soon-to-be former colleagues.

Hooray for Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen. Yesterday, this rather obscure public official had the guts to file a lawsuit against a goodly part of the American banking industry.  Here’s a link to the press release (also reproduced below) and other relevant documents.

Guilford County Sues To Clean Up Banks’ “Mess” at the Register of Deeds

Guilford County, ex rel. Jeff L. Thigpen, Guilford County Register of Deeds, filed suit today against LPS/DocX, MERSCORP, MERS, Inc., and numerous banks, loan servicers, and foreclosure specialists seeking to clean up the “mess” Defendants created in the County’s property records registry.   

“Our office uncovered an abundance of falsified, forged, and fraudulently executed mortgage documents,” said Thigpen.  “But our investigation only found the tip of the iceberg.  We need the banks to clean up their mess.”    Read More

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So, you think you understand the basics of the gambling industry and what it means for our government to partner with the corporations behind it?

Think again.

Despite industry attempts to sanitize what goes on in the casinos and betting parlors that are spreading across the national landscape, the hard truth is that the core of the business frequently boils down to this: Read More

U.S. Representative Brad Miller and Holly Petraeus with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were in Raleigh Monday to hear firsthand about the financial hardships facing military men and women.

Rep. Miller says it is troubling to hear cases of wrongful foreclosures involving active and reserve military in North Carolina.

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), mortgage servicers must follow special procedures when foreclosing on homes belonging to active-duty members of the armed forces.

But the Congressman notes that ten leading U.S. banks may have unlawfully foreclosed on the mortgages of nearly 5,000 active-duty members of the US military, according to data recently released by the Treasury Department. Read More