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Joe Valenti

Senior Strategic Policy Advisor

Areas of Expertise

Consumer finance, predatory lending, consumer protection, retirement security


Joe Valenti is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, where he works on consumer and investor protection issues including consumer debt, predatory lending practices, and access to safe and affordable financial products and advice.

Before joining AARP, Joe served as the director of consumer finance at the Center for American Progress, where he worked for nearly six years. He previously served as a Hamilton Fellow at the US Treasury Department, as a graduate intern for the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs under Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, and in various research and policy roles at the Aspen Institute and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. He has been quoted in publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist, in addition to appearing on National Public Radio.

Joe holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Columbia University, where he was a John Jay Scholar. He also attended the Institute of Political Studies, Paris, where he studied international relations and development, and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

Selected Publications

J. Valenti and E. Schultz, “How Predatory Debt Traps Threaten Vulnerable Families,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, October 2016.


J. Valenti, “The Case Against Mandatory Consumer Arbitration Clauses,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, August 2016.


J. Valenti, S. Edelman, and J. Gordon, “Lending for Success,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, July 2015.


J. Valenti and D. Bergeron, “How Qualified Student Loans Could Protect Borrowers and Taxpayers,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, August 2013.


J. Valenti, “The End of Cash: The Rise of Prepaid Cards, Their Potential, and Their Pitfalls,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, April 2013.

In His Words

“Prepaid cards have a good, bad and ugly to them,” said Joe Valenti, director of consumer finance at the Center for American Progress. Still, he noted, “the market is making progress, and prepaid cards are evolving away from ‘gotcha’ fees to enable more people to get access to the banking system.”

Liz Moyer and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, “RushCard Breakdown Affects Thousands of Prepaid Debit Card Users,” The New York Times, October 20, 2015, available at


“Proponents [of deregulation] will typically talk about freedom or access or choice,” said Joe Valenti, director of consumer finance for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “Nobody ever talks about whether it’s access to good credit or bad credit.”

Dante Ramos, “Consumer protection bureau isn’t doing much protecting,” The Boston Globe, March 14, 2018, available at


“Unfortunately it’s a fairly common practice.” That's Joe Valenti at the Center for American Progress. “Lenders try to do with fees the things they can’t do with interest either because it’s not legal under an interest rate cap or because it’s just something that looks excessive on its face.”

Michael Pope, “Federal Lawsuit Reveals Dark Underworld of Payday Loans in Virginia,” Virginia Public Radio, July 22, 2016, available at




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