Puerto Rico is embroiled in a humanitarian crisis that is leading to a mass exodus from the island, with a planeload of people leaving with one-way tickets every day. Its unsustainable debt load, stagnating economy, astronomical cost of living, and high poverty rates have made it nearly impossible for many working families to remain on the island. Unfortunately, both the government of Puerto Rico and the US Congress have put the interests of bondholders ahead of residents by paving the way for harsh austerity measures to ensure that bondholders get paid. Our partners have written a series of reports exposing the Wall Street banks that targeted Puerto Rico with predatory and often illegal debt deals, the vulture hedge funds that are trying to profiteer off the crisis, and the public officials that are enabling this piracy.
The US Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) in June 2016, which created a Fiscal Control Board to oversee the Commonwealth’s finances. But in order for it to do its job fairly, the Control Board must understand how Puerto Rico came to be so deeply indebted in the first place. The ReFund America Project has conducted a yearlong investigation of Puerto Rico’s debt, releasing a series of reports about the banks that targeted the Commonwealth with predatory, and sometimes illegal, debt deals.
February 8, 2017
Wall Street banks targeted Puerto Rico with predatory financial deals like toxic swaps that helped pad bankers' bonus checks but added tremendous risk to the Commonwealth's debt portfolio. As the federally-appointed Fiscal Control Board decides how to restructure Puerto Rico's debt, it must put the interests of Puerto Ricans first. Click here to read the report.
Down the Wells
April 24, 2017
Wells Fargo sold Puerto Rico billions of dollars in predatory payday loans. Click here to read the report.