Consumer Credit Research Foundation

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) states on its website that it was "formed to support economic research into the issues surrounding the availability, choice and cost of consumer credit for middle-class Americans and to educate the public regarding credit and the results of such research."[1]

Background

The organization's website contains several research works that are upbeat about the merits of payday lending and dismissive of criticisms of it. The first report the group produced, in December 2004, was what it claims is "a comprehensive explanatory primer that examines the rapid expansion of payday lending across virtually all of America".[2] The media release accompanying the report emphasized that users of payday lending included "educated, middle-income Americans" as, it claimed, such loans were "a better alternative to bounced check fees, utility shut-offs or other costs. In such circumstances, brief payday loans provide a practical option to consumers who may otherwise be denied credit from other lending institutions." CCRF oppose moves to tighten regulation of the sector.[3] Another report published by the CCRF criticized research done by the Center for Responsible Lending which argued that there was a a disproportonate concentration of payday loan firms in African American communities in North Carolina.[4]

While the group's website is still online, the last report issued by CCRF was in June 2006. It's most recent media release dates back to March 2007 when CCRF announced that Michael D. McEleney, a former director for the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, had been appointed as the group's executive director.[5]

In September 2007, McEleney made a $250 donation to the Tuesday Group political action committee[6], which presents itself as supporting the ideology of centrist Republicans.[7]

The domain name www.creditresearch.org was registered on February 24, 2004 and lists Hilary B. Miller as the administrative contact.[8]

Personnel

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based Organization's 2004 Form 990 lists three directors:

Its 2005 IRS return listed only Miller and Schwenke as directors.[9]

Funding

CCRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. On its website, CCRF provides no details about who funds the organization.

CCRF's 2005 IRS return states that the group had total revenue of $150,000 while total expenses were just $31,000 for "research honoraria".[10] The preceding year the group's first IRS return stated that it had income of $26,000 and expenses of just $15,000.[11]

Contact Details

Consumer Credit Research Foundation
P.O. Box 65732
Washington, DC 20035
Phone: (202) 955-6182
Fax: (202) 955-5328
Email: info At creditresearch.org
Website: http://www.creditresearch.org/

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, "About Us", accessed March 2008.
  2. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, "Research Projects", accessed March 2008.
  3. "Five Academic Economists Release: Payday Lending: A Practical Overview of A Growing Component of America’s Economy, Media Release, December 14, 2004.
  4. "Faulty Research Methods Discredit Center for Responsible Lending’s 'Race Matters' Report", Media Release, February 2006.
  5. "Former House Financial Services Committee Staffer McEleney to Head Consumer Credit Research Foundation", Media Release, March 7, 2007.
  6. Federal Elections Commission, "Schedule A: FEC Form 3X: Michael D. McEleney", September 28, 2007.
  7. Alexander Bolton, "Centrist House Republicans establish Tuesday Group PAC", The Hill, July 11, 2007.
  8. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, Joker.com, accessed March 2008.
  9. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, Form 990 2005 IRS return, page 5.
  10. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, Form 990 2005 IRS return, page 1 and 2.
  11. Consumer Credit Research Foundation, Form 990 2005 IRS return, page 1.

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