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On The Money: Consumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions | Five takeaways from PPP loan data | House Dems push $597M for police reform

On The Money: Consumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions | Five takeaways from PPP loan data | House Dems push $597M for police reform
© Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’re hoping for a Vine comeback if TikTok ends up banned. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

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THE BIG DEAL — Consumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Tuesday revoked rules that required lenders to ensure that potential customers could afford to pay the potentially staggering costs of short-term, high-interest payday loans.

The bureau released the final revision to its 2017 rule on payday loans, formally gutting an initiative with roots in the Obama administration that was aimed at protecting vulnerable consumers from inescapable debt.

The CFPB has now issued a new version of the regulation that scraps those underwriting requirements, in line with a proposal released in February 2019. The new regulation leaves in place the original regulation's restrictions on how frequently a payday lender can attempt to withdraw funds from a customer's bank account. I explain here.

 

LEADING THE DAY

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Five takeaways from PPP loan data: The Trump administration this week released data about recipients of loans under a key program created to help small businesses and their employees weather the coronavirus downturn.

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, revealed information on Monday about loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — an initiative that allows employers to obtain loans that will be forgiven if used to retain workers.

Here are five takeaways from the PPP loan data:

  • Wide array of businesses, nonprofits participated: Industries that have received the most money include health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; construction; manufacturing; accommodation and food services; and retail, according to the SBA.
  • Companies with ties to lawmakers received funds: Companies linked to lawmakers are not prohibited from participating in the program, and they make up only a small amount of the total number of loans, but the loans may come under scrutiny amid concerns about whether the funds ended up with businesses that have the greatest need.
  • Lobbying groups were among loan recipients: Lobbying firms that participated in the program include APCO WorldWide, Wiley Rein LLP, Miller & Chevalier Chartered and DCI Group LLC.
  • Loans benefited some prominent companies, celebrities: Several businesses that cater to some of the wealthiest and most powerful Americans also received aid through the program, including Washington, D.C.-area private schools Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Prep, as well as The Greenbrier Hotel and Sporting Club owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), several elite country clubs and private jet businesses.
  • Much remains unknown about PPP recipients: The average SBA loan size is about $107,000, according to the agency, which is well below the cutoff for the identity of business to be revealed. The SBA only made public the names of businesses that got loans of at least $150,000 — a group that consists of only 13.5 percent of all loans, though it makes up about 73 percent of the dollar amount distributed. 

Read more: Millions in coronavirus aid went to major Trump donors

 

House Democrats include $597 million for police reform in spending bill: House Democrats included a slew of police reforms, as well as $596.7 million in funding for reform programs, in a proposed spending bill for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins in October.

The 2021 appropriations bill for the departments of Commerce and Justice includes $400 million for initiatives that would boost independent investigations of law enforcement, fund pattern and practice investigations that look for systemic problems in policing, support community-based organizations seeking to improve law enforcement, and other initiatives.

It would also provide $50 million to train local law enforcement on certain best practices, $77.5 million to grant programs to boost police-community relations, $25 million for federal investigations into misconduct and $4 million for civilian review boards. 

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • New York’s Department of Financial Services has fined Deutsche Bank $150 million for what it says is negligence in its dealings with the late financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
  • A trade association representing major U.S. retailers on Tuesday urged state governors to issue orders requiring that people wear masks when shopping, arguing it would provide clarity for consumers and protect workers. 
  • The coalition of civil rights groups calling for an advertising boycott of Facebook on Tuesday condemned the company's leadership following a meeting that was meant to address its content moderation policies and efforts to police hateful speech. 
  • Levi’s plans to cut 700 non-retail and non-manufacturing jobs due to the economic downturn caused the coronavirus pandemic, the clothing company announced Tuesday.