Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "high-interest" ...

  • The Mobile-Home Trap

    Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett controls a business empire that promises low-income borrowers affordable homes, but all too often unsuspecting families, particularly those of color, find themselves locked into ruinous high-interest loans and rapidly depreciating dwellings. http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/the-mobile-home-trap-how-a-warren-buffett-empire-preys-on-the-poor/
  • A new model for enterprise journalism in the digital age

    This non-traditional entry does not single out one project. Rather it identifies a process for not just maintaining but increasing high-quality investigative and enterprise efforts in an environment where many news organizations are cutting back. The collaboration is guided by a new statewide projects coordinator working with community news directors at “hubs” in 10 cities to identify high-interest topics. The position is unique in the company: combining the traditional roles of project editor, investigative reporter and back-end production coordinator. It was developed as MLive merged separate newspapers into a single entity that emphasizes content across many digital platforms, at the same time it wanted to boost watchdog and investigative reporting
  • The Real Estate Meltdown

    "Did Appraisers Juice the Market?" showed how appraisers overstated home values. Using disciplinary records and interviews, Shanklin and McClure found appraisers who exaggerated condo sizes, appraised homes without seeing them and stated that condos were worth the $240,000 sales price even though the price was padded with $40,000 of incentives. The "Subprime Mess" package was based on more than 2 million records and showed how unconventional loans moved from low-income, inner city neighborhoods to the burgeoning suburbs. "How Investors Helped Overheat the Market" explored the role of investors in Central Florida's real estate meltdown by analyzing hundreds of data records and found that sales of non owner-occupied homes grew from 25 percent of all local residential sales in 2002 to 70 percent in 2006.
  • Plagued By Debt

    An examination of federal data shows that in 2004, "people in rural areas were much likelier to sign mortgages with high interest rates, generally above 5 percent for a conventional loan at the time." These high-rate mortgages have led to a rise in foreclosures and bankruptcy for some families.
  • Matter of Interest

    This three-part series investigated payday loan stores that offered high-interest, short-term loans. A reporter took out loans at these stores and found that fees and interest charges ranged from 390 to 890 percent. These stores target low-income residents and were widely unregulated.
  • A Future Foreclosed

    This two-part investigation shows how Boshwit Brothers Mortgage Co, a longtime Memphis mortgage company specializing in loans to the poor, used Tennessee's lender-friendly foreclosure laws to take possession of 189 houses where it had made mortgages. It seized the property when the owners couldn't meet the high-interest payments. Many of the properties were converted to rentals and entered in a federal rent subsidy program that nets the firm $240,000 a year.
  • 'Easy Money': Georgia's payday-loan industry. Borrow $750, pay back $4,284. Critics say high-interest lenders growing fast by targeting desperate, low-income borrowers.

    "Payday lenders are doing a big, high-interest, unregulated and possibly illegal business in Georgia by exploiting desperate, low-income borrowers."
  • Payday Profiteers

    A Multinational Monitor investigation exposes the practices of the so-called "predatory lending," targeted to low-income workers. Some major findings are that payday loans' interest can reach up to 2000 percent per year, and that they can be rolled over more than 13 times for a 6-month period. The article examines different anti-usury state laws that ban or restrict predatory lending. The investigative package includes also stories on high-interest mortgages, car title loans and costly rent-to-own scams.
  • Foreclosing On Despair

    This five-part series by the Denver Post focuses on the dangers lurking in the Denver real eastate market. Some homeowners have been convinced to deed their houses to a special kind of investor who profits when they go broke; a prominent real estate investor's tactics are called into question; the Post shows a correllation between high-interest loans, forclosures and minority neighborhoods; and it reveals the prevalence of forgeries in the foreclosure system. Seller beware!
  • Deeper in Debt

    "A national lender accused of deceptive sales practices and charging outrageous fee while funded by one of the most prestigious banks on Wall Street was the focus of a joint ABC News-New York Times investigation of the First Alliance Mortgage Company. . . The team discovered that authorities in a number of states were investigating First Alliance, accusing it of using a slick but misleading sales spiel to lure thousands of elderly homeowners into loans that sucked away the equity they had built up in their homes. . . But what pushed the investigation beyond other earlier examinations of local abusive lending scandals was tracking the money behind First Alliance- all the way to Wall Street. The source of their funds was Lehman Brothers, the prestigious investment bank . . . that had raised hundreds of millions of dollars. High-interest mortgages were nevertheless bundled together by Lehman Brothers and sold to big Wall Street investors, who then received interest payments from the homeowners."