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.

In recent years, Arnold has spent much of his time reporting on the financial crisis, its aftermath, and the U.S. economy's ongoing recovery. He has focused on the housing bubble and its collapse. And he's reported on problems within the nation's largest banks that have 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. He was chosen by the Scripps Howard Foundation as a finalist for their National Journalism Award, and he won an Excellence in Financial Journalism Award from N.Y. State's society for CPA's.

Arnold is also reporting on the now government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a series of stories in partnership with ProPublica, Arnold exposed investments at Freddie Mac that raised serious concerns about a conflict of interest between Fannie and Freddie's massive investment portfolios, and their mission to make home ownership more affordable. The stories generated widespread attention, and led to calls for an investigation by members of Congress.

Arnold was recently honored with 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, among other things, economics and the future of home ownership in America.

Prior to that, Arnold covered a range of other subjects for NPR – 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 – more than 1 out of 20 high school seniors report using the drug.

In the days and months following the Sept. 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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The State Of The American Small Business
3:57 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What Happens When The Pace Of Startups Slows Down

Is this coffee shop going to grow to be the next Starbucks?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:45 pm

Since the financial crisis hit five years ago, there aren't as many Americans starting new businesses. In uncertain economic times, it's harder for entrepreneurs and investors to take the risk.

And if you look back over the past 25 years, it turns out the overall trend is toward fewer new businesses getting started, too — and that's not good at all when the country needs more jobs.

The Next Google

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Economy
5:35 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Shutdown-Delayed Jobs Report Is Released

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the latest employment numbers and what they mean. The economy, we're told by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gained 148,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.2 percent. We're getting these numbers a couple of weeks late because of the government shutdown. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following the economy and the shutdown. He's on the line. Hi, Chris.

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NPR Story
4:47 am
Mon October 21, 2013

What To Know About The Tentative JPMorgan Deal

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:37 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The Justice Department is on the verge of a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. That would make it the biggest government fine involving a single company. It involves the allegedly improper sale of mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis of 2008. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following this and he joins us now. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Business
6:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Business Leaders Decry The Economic Cost Of Uncertainty

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 12:08 pm

Running a company is like driving a car. You need to be able to see what's coming down the road. The dysfunction in Washington has created a fog, and when driving in the fog, you have to slow down.

That's basically what's happening at thousands of companies around the country.

Bob Mosey, chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association, bemoans the "uncertainty of not being able to plan for the future."

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Economy
4:54 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Economists Say Fiscal Fits And Starts Hurt U.S. Growth

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Stocks surged on Wall Street after Senate leaders reached a deal that would avoid a U.S. default and reopen the government after 16 days of being partially shut down.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 7:45 pm

On Wednesday, the stock market cheered the debt ceiling deal in Congress. The Dow gained 206 points and all the major indexes closed higher.

Investors of course have been watching the showdown in Washington very closely, since a default could have been a global financial disaster. At the same time, economists are trying to figure out how much the jitters and uncertainty over all this has been hurting the economy.

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Economy
4:29 am
Mon October 14, 2013

U.S. Political Standoff Hangs Over IMF, World Bank Meetings

The world's top financial officials were in Washington, D.C. over the weekend for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The partial government shutdown and the debt ceiling standoff were hot topics among the visiting world financial leaders.

Economy
5:37 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Would-Be Homeowners In Limbo

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:58 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The longer the government shutdown continues, the more sectors in our economy are being affected. More and more, the housing market is feeling the pinch. Most economists think if the federal government reopens in the next few days, the damage won't be too bad. But already, some home sales are being delayed and even derailed, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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Business
5:06 am
Thu September 26, 2013

DOJ: 3 Brokers At ICAP Manipulated Libor Rate

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:31 am

Three former employees at the London-based brokerage have been charged by the Justice Department with participating in a criminal scheme to rig an interest rate that anchors the world's financial system. It's alleged that the three brokers from ICAP colluded with a trader at Swiss bank UBS.

Economy
5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Census Report Paints Troubling Economic Picture On Incomes

Raisa Ruiz (right) and her niece Mary Badels wait in line at the Manna Food Center, Gaithersburg, Md., on Sept. 13.
Chloe Coleman NPR

For the first year since the recession, median household incomes did not decline in 2012. But it's hardly a reassuring picture. Incomes were flat despite the economic recovery and big gains in the stock market. That's a troubling aspect about today's labor market. It's four years since the official end of the recession and many households are worse off than when it started.

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Economy
5:20 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Unemployment Rate Shrinks As Fewer People Look For Work

Job growth fell short of expectations in August. Employers added only 169,000 jobs to payrolls, and gains for June and July were revised downward. The question is whether the mediocre job growth of recent months is troubling enough to convince the Federal Reserve to delay its plans to dial back its stimulus of the economy.

Business
3:38 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Rates Come Down On Jumbo Mortgage Loans

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:40 pm

There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.

At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.

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Business
2:41 am
Thu August 22, 2013

As Housing Recovers, Lots Of Boats Rise In U.S. Economy

A worker at the Cataumet Sawmill in Falmouth, Mass., where the improved housing outlook has led to more hours for employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:02 pm

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

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Economy
7:56 am
Sat August 10, 2013

Housing Market Shows More Signs Of Life

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 7:43 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This week, the U.S. housing market showed a few more signs of life. New reports show home sales and prices rising. And those gains have been coming despite the recent rise in interest rates. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke out about changes he'd like to see in the mortgage market. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold who's been keeping an eye on all of this. Hi, Chris.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Hey, Celeste.

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Business
5:20 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Fannie Mae Posts $10 Billion Profit In Second Quarter

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced it made a $10 billion profit this past spring. That's a remarkable turnaround considering the government had to bail out Fannie Mae, along with Freddie Mac, when the housing bubble burst five years ago. It's certainly good news for taxpayers. It's also good news for homebuyers who count on the two companies to back most of the country's home loans.

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Media
5:24 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Boston Hopes Red Sox Owner Can Turn Around 'Globe'

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 6:52 am

In Boston, a billionaire entrepreneur is buying the Boston Globe. John Henry is currently the owner of the Red Sox baseball team. He says he isn't interest in trying to influence the news — including the baseball coverage.

Law
7:25 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

DOJ Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Justice Department is bringing civil charges against one of the nation's largest banks. The government alleges Bank of America made false statements about the quality of $850 million worth of home loans. Those loans were then sold to investors. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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Law
4:59 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

After Five Years, Why So Few Charges In Financial Crisis?

Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, testifies before Congress about the program in 2010. Barofsky now says of the financial crisis: "The folks responsible for this incredibly painful economic damage that struck our economy have gone free."
Harry Hamburg AP

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:01 pm

In the latest in a string of insider trading cases, federal prosecutors this week indicted SAC Capital, one of the most prominent and profitable hedge funds in the world.

But when it comes to the 2008 financial crisis that sent the economy into a tailspin, criminal prosecutions have been few and far between.

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Business
12:18 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Government Charges SAC In Insider Trading Case

Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against one of the most famous and successful hedge funds in the world. The government alleges that SAC Capital Advisors is criminally responsible for insider trading that went on at the firm.

Economy
5:55 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Ahead Of Obama's Economic Speech, A Look At Key Indicators

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Later today, in the college town of Galesburg, Illinois, President Obama will make one in a series of speeches about the nation's economy. The move, in part, seems aimed at raising pressure on Congress to avoid gridlock and partisan showdowns.

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Business
5:26 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Federal Judge Green Lights Suit Against Private Equity Firms

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:00 am

The investor lawsuit claims the companies, including Blackstone, Carlyle and Bain Capital, colluded to drive down prices on hundreds of billions of dollars in takeovers.

Politics
5:07 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Congress Takes Renewed Aim At Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 7:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For the first time since the housing crash, lawmakers are getting serious about dismantling the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They were rescued with $190 million bailout. Two prominent senators - a Democrat and a Republican - have a bill that's attracting some bipartisan support. A separate Republican bill is being introduced in the House today and a third may soon come from Democrats. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Bernanke's Comments Lift Stocks To Record Highs

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 5:29 pm

Stocks surged Thursday after the chief of the Federal Reserve sent signals that the central bank wasn't in a hurry to stop helping the economy. When the markets closed, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was at a record high. Other U.S. indexes were also up, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose nearly 170 points to a record 15,460.92.

Update at 5 p.m. ET: We've updated some figures in this post to reflect the markets' closing.

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Economy
5:37 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Jobs Keep Growing. How Soon Should The Fed Stop Helping?

Many economists are encouraged by the latest jobs report because the stronger growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:37 pm

The latest employment report is encouraging to many economists because the stronger job growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip. But some worry that it's so strong the Federal Reserve may pull back efforts to boost the economy.

The Labor Department's newest data released Friday shows the U.S. added 195,000 jobs in June. The prior two months were also revised upward — above 190,000 for both April and May.

That's three months of more-robust job growth.

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Around the Nation
1:57 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

In Boston, Lockdown Became Time To Spend With Friends

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And of course last night, many Bostonians cheered the news that the second suspect in the marathon bombings had been captured. While the backdrop is tragic, residents across the city permitted themselves a moment of celebration. People were also expressing relief that the lockdown of the city was officially over.

NPR's Chris Arnold visited a lockdown party in Boston and filed this report.

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Your Money
6:11 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Saving For Retirement? Here's A Tip

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:05 pm

Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.

So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.

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Business
6:21 am
Sun August 19, 2012

She's No Man; She's A Lobsterman

Lobsterman Genevieve Kurilec holds a lobster caught while fishing along Deer Isle, Maine. Kurilec says more women are beginning to captain their own lobster boats.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:46 pm

In New England, more women are breaking through the glass gangway. That's the ramp you use to walk down onto a dock to hop onboard your own fishing boat. For generations lobstermen in Maine have been predominantly, well, men — but that's starting to change.

At a small gas dock in a rock-lined cove on Deer Isle, Maine, there's a new captain fueling up. Genevieve Kurilec, 29, wears a tank-top, orange fishing overalls and lobster buoy earrings.

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Economy
4:12 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

New Terms Set For Frannie And Freddie

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 6:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Treasury Department today changed the terms of its bailout agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, those terms were proving hopeless for the companies to keep up with.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
3:28 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Persuading Banks To Give Homeowners A Break

Sara Millan (left) thanks Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America CEO Bruce Marks after NACA was able to reduce her family's mortgage during an event in Los Angeles in September 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.

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Business
4:23 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Consumer Bureau Targets Improper Floreclosures

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 5:53 pm

Transcript

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Now Florida is among the states that were hardest-hit by the housing crisis, and foreclosures remain a big problem there and in several other parts of the country.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One thing the government has been struggling with is how to stop banks from foreclosing on people improperly. The government is also trying to figure out more quickly help homeowners who qualify for reduced interest rates.

A federal regulator has released new rules aimed at doing both, and NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

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Around the Nation
5:51 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Maine Lobstermen Give Farming Sea Scallops A Try

As lobster prices plunge, scallops offer fishermen an alternative to make money.
Levi Bridges for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 1:57 pm

If you don't love scallops, you probably just haven't had one that's cooked properly. That is, pan fried with some garlic and butter and herbs. They are very tasty.

In Maine, scientists and fishermen are learning how to farm, instead of catching, these tasty sea critters. That could be good for business and the environment.

Out on the water off Stonington, Maine, Marsden Brewer is motoring his lobster boat through the crowded fishing harbor. Today, just about all the boats here are lobster boats. But 30 years ago, he says, it was a different story.

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