Chris Arnold

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996, and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.

Most recently, Arnold has been reporting on financial challenges facing millions of working and middle class Americans as the economy continues to recover from the worst recession in generations.

Arnold was honored with a 2017 George Foster Peabody Award for his coverage of the Wells Fargo banking scandal. His stories sparked a Senate inquiry into the bank's treatment of employees who tried to blow the whistle on the wrongdoing. Arnold also won the National Association of Consumer Advocates award for Investigative Journalism for a series of stories he reported with ProPublica that exposed improper debt collection practices by non-profit hospitals who were suing thousands of their low-income patients.

Arnold is now serving as the lead reporter and editor for the ongoing NPR series "Your Money and Your Life", which explores personal finance issues. As part of that, he's reporting on the problem of Wall Street firms charging excessive fees in retirement accounts: fees that siphon billions of dollars annually from Americans trying to save for the future. For this series, Arnold won the 2016 Gerald Loeb Award which honors work that informs and protects the private investor and the general public. UCLA calls the award the most prestigious in financial journalism.

Following the 2008 financial crisis and collapse of the housing market, Arnold reported on problems within the nation's largest banks that led to the banks improperly foreclosing on thousands of American homeowners. For this work, Arnold earned a 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for the special series, The Foreclosure Nightmare. He's also been honored with the Newspaper Guild's 2009 Heywood Broun Award for broadcast journalism. And he was a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Award.

Arnold was chosen for a Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University during the 2012-2013 academic year. He joined a small group of other journalists from the U.S. and abroad and studied economics, leadership, and the future of journalism in the digital age. Arnold also teaches Radio Journalism as a Lecturer at Yale University. And he was named a Poynter Fellow by Yale in 2016.

Over his career at NPR, Arnold has covered a range of other subjects – from Katrina recovery in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, to immigrant workers in the fishing industry, to a new kind of table saw that won't cut your fingers off. He traveled to Turin, Italy, for NPR's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics. He has also followed the dramatic rise in the numbers of teenagers abusing the powerful and highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin.

In the days and months following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Arnold reported from New York and contributed to the NPR coverage that won the Overseas Press Club and the George Foster Peabody Awards. He chronicled the recovery effort at Ground Zero, focusing on members of the Port Authority Police department, as they struggled with the deaths of 37 officers—the greatest loss of any police department in U.S. history.

Prior to his move to Boston, Arnold traveled the country for NPR doing feature stories on entrepreneurship. His pieces covered technologists, farmers, and family business owners. He also reported on efforts to kindle entrepreneurship in economically disadvantaged areas ranging from inner-city Los Angeles to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Arnold has worked in public radio since 1993. Before joining NPR, he was a freelance reporter working out of San Francisco's NPR Member Station, KQED.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting a record of nearly $13 trillion. And auto loans, home loans and credit card debt are all still on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That has some economists saying the lessons of the bubble of borrowing in the run-up to the Great Recession have already been forgotten.

Understanding your health plan benefits and what isn't covered is crucial for consumers. But that isn't always easy. Readers' questions this month center around what insurance companies need to tell customers about their benefits and when. For example, does my insurer have to give advance notice if it changes my benefits? And does my plan have to issue a written excuse if it denies coverage for services? What if the coverage doesn't meet federal health law standards? Here are some answers.

The Trump administration on Wednesday will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. And despite very tough talk about NAFTA during the campaign, it appears the administration has backed away from a major assault on the decades-old trade deal.

And that is a relief to businesses in all three countries.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump clearly tapped into frustration about workers who had lost jobs in manufacturing. And he painted NAFTA as one of the central villains responsible for stealing Americans jobs.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Every day, more than 10 Americans suffer amputations on what is by far the most dangerous woodworking tool: the table saw. Regulators in Washington, D.C., are moving closer to adopting a rule that would make new saws so much safer that they could prevent 99 percent of serious accidents.

Wells Fargo is back in the spotlight for another scandal. This time, for signing up 490,000 auto-loan customers for insurance they didn't need.

This comes less than a year after the bank generated a massive public outcry for opening millions of unwanted accounts for customers.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell this week said his company is making a striking shift in its thinking: It now expects oil prices to remain low forever. The global oil glut of recent years shows no sign of diminishing. Energy demand has leveled off. And if electric vehicles take off, oil prices could come under even more downward pressure.

Wells Fargo bank has struck a settlement to reimburse customers who were harmed when bank employees created unwanted accounts in their names. A federal judge has granted a preliminary approval for the settlement in the class action case.

Wells Fargo says compensation will depend on the financial harm customers suffered. Someone who paid an improper $35 dollar fee likely will receive less money than someone whose credit score was damaged and had to accept a home loan with a higher interest rate.

Home prices have finally clawed their way back to the peak of the housing bubble. That's on average nationally. The story is very different when you zoom in on different counties or cities in particular.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two things we know - interest rates are low; consumer confidence is high, which means the housing market should be hot. But it is not. It's just OK.

NPR's Chris Arnold has been asking, why?

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday night to rescind an Obama-era policy that allows states to offer retirement savings plans to millions of workers.

Retiree and worker protection groups say the move will hurt employees at small businesses.

Many small businesses say they can't afford to set up retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, for their workers. That's a big reason why so many Americans aren't saving, says Cristina Martin Firvida, the AARP's director of government affairs.

United Airlines says it will never again use police to forcibly remove passengers from overfull flights. But this week's public relations disaster for United highlights a problem that airlines face every day: how to entice people to give up their seats voluntarily.

NPR reached out to some of the top thinkers in the world of "game theory" who say they think the industry could be doing a much better job. Here are some solutions they offered.

Treat the problem as a game.

Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the administration has made a move that has some U.S.-China experts scratching their heads. The Commerce Department has quietly put a notice into the Federal Register stating that the U.S. will review a hot-button issue between the two superpowers.

The stock market's been charging higher lately. After the Dow Jones industrial average topped 20,000 for the first time in history in January, it kept surging to close above 21,000 earlier this week. So what's going on with the stock market and what does it mean for your retirement account?

Over the past two weeks, the Trump administration has taken steps to delay and perhaps scuttle a new rule designed to save American workers billions of dollars they currently pay in excessive fees in their retirement accounts.

Friday was the day that many homebuyers across the country were to start saving on average $500 a year on their loans. A fee reduction was set to go into effect at the Federal Housing Administration, lowering the cost of nearly 1 million FHA loans per year.

But that's not going to happen, at least for now, because in his very first hours in office, President Trump issued an order suspending that fee cut.

In a meeting with business leaders, President Trump on Monday made an eyebrow-raising claim.

As part of an effort to make America more business-friendly, Trump said: "We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent. Maybe more, but by 75 percent."

Republicans do seem serious about some kind of regulatory reform. But even conservative economists say that number is not believable.

It has been said that the president likes to have an adversary. And at the meeting, Trump took aim at government regulations that stifle business.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In the last days of the Obama administration, the federal government has reached multibillion-dollar settlements with Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse over their sale of toxic mortgage securities.

President-elect Donald Trump owes Deutsche Bank hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. So that deal removes a potential conflict of interest — where a Trump Justice Department would have been negotiating the settlement.

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