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The Best Attorneys for Fighting Back Against Predatory Lenders

Predatory lending practices can ruin lives. Unscrupulous lenders trap borrowers in loans with outrageous fees and interest rates they have no hope of repaying. When borrowers fall behind, lenders swoop in to foreclose on their homes. It’s an all-too-common story that ends with families out on the street.But borrowers don’t have to take this lying down. With the right lawyer by their side, they can fight back. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best attorneys around the country for going after predatory lenders and getting justice.

Knowing the Signs of Predatory Lending

Before getting into the attorneys, it helps to understand what defines predatory lending. The most common signs include:

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  • Excessive fees – We’re not talking reasonable origination fees here. Predatory lenders pile on charges for everything under the sun.
  • Balloon payments – After a few years of reasonable payments, the loan balance becomes due all at once. Few borrowers can afford this balloon payment.
  • Adjustable interest rates – Rates start low but can shoot up drastically overnight. Suddenly borrowers owe much more without their income changing.
  • Loan packing – This is where lenders sneak in overpriced add-ons like credit insurance that provide little value but cost a bundle.
  • Lending without regard to ability to repay – Lenders put borrowers into loans they can’t realistically manage given their income.

If a loan has some of these characteristics, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a predatory lender. That’s when it’s time to contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Attorney Spotlight – Catherine Austin Fitts

One of the most prominent warriors against predatory lending is Catherine Austin Fitts. As Assistant Secretary of Housing in the first Bush Administration, she saw predatory practices taking root and dedicated her career to exposing them.Catherine runs the Solari Report, which covers the interconnections between global finance, technology, and government. She provides hard-hitting investigative journalism into Wall Street corruption. Her coverage of the mortgage bubble bursting and 2008 financial crisis was award-winning.Today, Catherine consults and provides expert testimony for lawsuits against banks engaged in mortgage fraud. With her inside knowledge of the system, she can analyze loan documents and recognize where lenders misled or abused borrowers. If you feel trapped in a predatory loan arranged by a large national bank, Catherine is a great ally.

Fighter for the Little Guy – Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel of ProPublica has written extensively about predatory lending for over 15 years. He’s best known for his investigative reporting into abusive practices by America’s largest subprime lender, World Finance. His work triggered federal investigations into the company.Paul specializes in giving victims of predatory lending a voice. He takes the time to understand their stories and shed light on shady practices. If you feel your lender has targeted you unfairly but law enforcement isn’t interested, reaching out to Paul may help. He has a knack for bringing public pressure against bad actors.

State-Level Help

In addition to federal consumer protection laws, many states have their own statutes against predatory lending. State-level consumer attorneys can help borrowers understand their rights and whether lenders have violated state laws.

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New York – Linda Jun

In New York, Linda Jun of the Legal Aid Society is an expert on both federal and state lending laws. She heads up LAS’s Consumer Protection Unit and won a $1 million settlement against a predatory auto lender in Queens. Linda knows NY lending rules inside-out. If you feel trapped in an illegal high-cost loan from a NY lender, Linda can help.

California – Ossai Miazad

On the West Coast, public interest attorney Ossai Miazad is battling predatory lending and other dodgy practices. She’s currently leading a lawsuit against loan servicer PHH Mortgage for failing to properly administer loan modification programs. This resulted in thousands of California families losing their homes.Prior to joining her current firm, Ossai took on the notorious payday lender CashCall. She helped win $10 million in debt relief for borrowers. When it comes to forcing shady CA lenders to pay for their misdeeds, Ossai is the attorney to have on your side.

Florida – Alice Vickers

In Florida, Alice Vickers serves as lead attorney for the nonprofit Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection. She’s taken on various predatory mortgage schemes over her career. Most recently, Alice filed suit against Nationstar Mortgage for failing to honor loan modifications it offered borrowers experiencing hardship. This is a common scam that keeps families on the hook for unaffordable payments.Alice has a gift for breaking down complex mortgage agreements and identifying violations of state and federal consumer protection statutes. If you borrowed from a Florida lender who isn’t playing straight with your loan, Alice has the expertise to build a strong case against them. As this article shows, borrowers have allies who can help them seek justice when trapped in an illegal predatory loan. Unscrupulous lenders count on their victims feeling scared and helpless. They expect borrowers won’t have the resources to fight back against their abusive tactics. But by working with an experienced predatory lending attorney, borrowers can gain the upper hand.

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