CHICAGO, IL – In a ceremony held at the Chicago Urban League, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) applauded as Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation she sponsored to protect borrowers from financial exploitation by both tax preparers who facilitate refund anticipation loans and mortgage lenders who burden low-income borrowers with unfair repayment terms. Senate Bill 1692 prohibits tax preparers from charging excess, hidden fees on refund anticipation loans (RALs) and also bans prepayment penalties, loan modification fees and balloon payments for high-risk home loans.


“This law represents yet another hard-won victory in the battle against all forms of financial exploitation, particularly those taking disproportionate advantage of low-income individuals and racial minorities,” said Sen. Collins, who chairs the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. “Through good times and bad, through booms and busts, the American dream remains just out of reach whenever people face discrimination, misinformation or predatory lending practices.”

Read more: Sen. Collins’ Protections for Borrowers Become Law

 SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) joined with 250 volunteers and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois at last Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for a playground built in a day. The playground, the one hundredth installed in Chicago by KaBOOM!, will give children attending before- and after-school programs at Auburn-Gresham’s Lots of Love Community Center a safe place for unstructured physical activity and imaginative play.


KaBOOM! works with community stakeholders and businesses like BlueCross, which donated the Lots of Love playground, to bring playgrounds to places where children have few opportunities for outdoor recreation. The building process, described as an “urban barn-raising,” brings together hundreds of local volunteers, community leaders and employees of generous businesses to install the playground in about six hours.

Read more: Sen. Collins, 250 Volunteers Celebrate 100th New Playground

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, surrounded by members of the Illinois State Association of Letter Carriers, looked on today as Governor Pat Quinn signed into law  measure she sponsored allowing judges to increase criminal penalties for those who assault or rob letter carriers.

“A recent rash of attacks on letter carriers in the Chicago area, including in my district, inspired this legislation, which received unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature,” Sen. Collins said. “We depend on postal workers to deliver our mail in all types of weather and under all kinds of adverse conditions, and we owe them our best efforts to ensure they are not targets of crime as they go about their essential work in our neighborhoods.”

Kenny Lewis, an Iraq War veteran employed by the Postal Service for the last 20 years, was delivering mail on West 80th Street in Gresham when he was brutally attacked by two men on May 1. They knocked him unconscious and stole his mail bag. He suffered loss of vision and severe headaches after the incident. In April 2011, a postal worker was robbed at gunpoint while delivering mail on the South Side. In December 2010, six attacks on Southeast Side letter carriers were reported within two days; one attacker pulled a knife on his victim.

Read more: Governor Signs Sen. Collins’ Law Protecting Postal Workers

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins has sponsored legislation tightening the regulation of mortgage lenders and protecting borrowers seeking loan modifications or short sales. Senate Bill 4521, now on its way to the governor’s desk, requires lenders to submit to background checks performed by a national industry standards group, increases licensing fees and fines for violators and prohibits lenders from charging homeowners in advance for loan modifications.

“In 2009, I co-sponsored the law that enrolled Illinois in the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry; today, we are taking another step toward an objective, transparent and accountable process for licensing and regulating the lenders who hold so much power in our economy,” Sen. Collins said. “Exercising vigilant oversight in the areas of loan modifications and short sales will be particularly beneficial as we work to slow the rate of foreclosure and protect distressed homeowners from financial exploitation.”

Read more: Sen. Collins Tightens Rules to Prevent Mortgage Fraud

Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607


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