AFFIL is an umbrella organization for groups working on lending and asset-building issues. Its official partners include: ACORN, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Responsible Lending, CFED, Community Reinvestment Association – North Carolina, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Demos, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, NEDAP, United Professionals, PIRG, Public Citizen and the Woodstock Institute. AFFIL also works with about one-hundred locally focused ally organizations throughout the country. AFFIL is based in Boston, Massachusetts at 7 Winthrop Square, 5th floor.
To spread its message about the need for the re-regulation of the lending industry, AFFIL has partnered with James Scurlock’s movie and book Maxed Out. Maxed Out was released in theaters in about thirteen cities in March and April 2007. It is currently available on DVD through Netflix.
AFFIL has also produced print ads, two short videos, and maintains a website at affil.org The website includes information about: mortgages, payday loans, credit cards, debt collection, credit reports, car financing, car title loans, rent to own, and tax refund anticipation loans. The website discusses how to avoid predatory loans and take action to stop predatory lending. AFFIL and its Partners also wrote “Six Principles of Predatory Lending” which consumers and presidential candidates have endorsed.
In 2004, a group of concerned advocates and organizations began talking about how to combat the growth of debt, bankruptcy, and home foreclosures. They determined that regulation of all lenders is necessary to prevent a race to the bottom and to ensure that rogue lenders do not profit more than the responsible. Because the AFFIL organizers realized that the public was largely uninformed about the tricks of the lending trade, they decided to mount a public awareness campaign to put credit and debt back on the national agenda. AFFIL officially launched on March 6, 2007, in New York City.