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News From Georgia Watch

June 3, 2016
In This Issue
Annual Gala
Funds awarded to Georgia Watch
Health Improvement Convening
Quality Improvement Webinar
Quick Links
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Please Join Us: Annual Gala October 13!
Please plan to join Georgia Watch for our 
Annual Consumer Champion Award Celebration 
on October 13, 2016 

 Sponsorship opportunities are available

Contact Liz Coyle at 404-525-1085 or for more information.
Another win for Georgia consumers
Georgia Watch recently received a cy pres award of $54,480 from the case Lunsford v. Woodforest National Bank. These funds came from an unclaimed portion of the settlement of a class action lawsuit between Woodforest and a group of bank customers represented by Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC. This case settled a dispute between Woodforest and its customers about the bank's overdraft fee practices. Woodforest posted transactions in a way that made it more likely that customers would have to pay as many overdraft fees as possible. The settlement resulted in a common fund in the amount of $7,750,000 with payments made directly to customers who were harmed, without any claims process.

We are grateful to Judge Pannell and Webb, Klase & Lemond for including Georgia Watch in the award of residual funds from this settlement to support our work on behalf of consumers throughout Georgia.
CFPB issues proposed rules governing predatory lending
On June 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a proposed rule to address the cycle of debt caused by payday lenders and other high-cost, small dollar loans.  These predatory lending practices are designed to maximize lender profits, often forcing borrowers to take out additional loans to afford the incredibly high interest rates.

In 2004, Georgia passed legislation effectively banning payday lending in the state.  However, vehicle title loans and other potentially predatory lending practices are still allowed in Georgia.

Georgia Watch is committed to ensuring strong protections are in place for Georgia consumers and we will continue to comment on and monitor the rule's progression. "We want to ensure that the rule from the CFPB would enhance the state's ability to regulate auto title and other small dollar, high cost loans in Georgia," said Georgia Watch executive director, Liz Coyle.

Read more about CFPB's rule here>

Community Health Improvement Discussion - Join us on June 29th in Savannah
Please join Georgia Watch and partners for an event titled "Employers and Advocates Working Together to Improve Community Health" on June 29th from 10am-3pm at Savannah Technical College. Come learn about the impressive collaborative work happening in Savannah and join a conversation about how to initiate partnerships in your community to improve population health.  Register for this free event here.
Webinar on Healthcare Quality Improvement in Georgia
On May 19th, Georgia Watch, in partnership with Healthcare Georgia Foundation, conducted a webinar titled "Healthcare Quality Improvement Initiatives in Georgia."  Participating presenters included the Georgia Department of Public Health Chronic Disease Prevention Section, Georgia Department of Community Health Division of Medical Assistance Plans, and Alliant Quality (GMCF), the QIN-QIO for Georgia and North Carolina.  In case you missed it, you can watch the archived webinar here.