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A payday loan shop in Raeford, North Carolina.

The influential $42 billion-a-year payday lending industry, thriving from a surge in emergency loans to people struggling through the recession, is pouring record sums into lobbying, campaign contributions, and public relations – and getting results. Read more»

Sheila Bair accepts the 2009 Hubert H. Humphrey Award.

Sheila Bair, one of the chief regulators overseeing Bank of America’s federal rescue, took out two mortgages worth more than $1 million from the banking giant last summer during ongoing negotiations about the bank’s bailout and its repayment. Read more»