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.
Chris Arnold 2016 square
Stories By

Chris Arnold

Cam Robert/NPR
Chris Arnold 2016
Cam Robert/NPR

Chris Arnold

Correspondent

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 the financial struggle millions of Americans are facing amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As part of that, he's done investigative stories showing how mortgage companies have been misleading homeowners who've lost their jobs, demanding outrageous balloon payments if they skip mortgage payments and scaring them away from help that Congress wanted them to have under the CARES Act.

Arnold's reporting often focuses on consumer protection issues. His series of stories "The Trouble with TEACH Grants," that he reported with NPR's Cory Turner, exposed a debacle at the U.S. Department of Education through which public school teachers had grants unfairly converted into large student loan debts — some upwards of $20,000. As a result of the stories, members of Congress demanded reforms and the Education Department overhauled the program and is now giving thousands of teachers their grant money back and erasing their debts.

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.

In addition to reporting for NPR's main radio programs, Arnold has been hosting the personal finance episodes of NPR's Life Kit podcasts, which offer listeners actionable tips backed up by behavioral economics research on the best ways to save money, invest for the future and a range of other topics.

Arnold previously served as the lead reporter for the NPR series "Your Money and Your Life", which explored personal finance issues. As part of that, he reported 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.

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. He was also 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 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 Sept. 11 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.

Story Archive

Capital One has become the nation's largest bank to end overdraft fees for all of its customers. Federal regulators are taking a hard look at bank overdraft fees, which hit customers with lower incomes the hardest. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Richard Drew/AP

People hate overdraft fees. Banks are ditching or reducing them

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1071860136/1072019369" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Shannon Wright for NPR

22 tips for 2022: When it comes to saving money, a roommate is worth 1,000 coffees

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1066218040/1066556700" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Federal rent money finally got to renters, and eviction filings haven't gone up

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1068063557/1068063558" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

"I could be out next week without a place to live," Mary Hunt worried when an NPR reporter visited. Hunt doesn't own the piece of land, making Havenpark Communities free to tell her to get out. Elaine Cromie for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Elaine Cromie for NPR

How the government helps investors buy mobile home parks, raise rent and evict people

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1034784494/1057274068" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nicole Howson and her family stand in front of their new home in Griffin, Ga. Clockwise: Nicole Howson, Israel Epps, Talysa Epps and Latroun Epps. Lynsey Weatherspoon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Lynsey Weatherspoon/NPR

In a hot market, you can buy a home with cash — even if you don't have a lot of it

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1063205596/1064223286" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Everyday people can buy a house with cash with this new type of loan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1061896221/1061896222" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Lauren Barber stands in her home in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 16. Barber has been inundated with offers from investors and companies that want to buy her house. She sometimes gets called or texted more than five times a day with offers. Maddie McGarvey for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Maddie McGarvey for NPR

Hey, I want to buy your house: Homeowners besieged by unsolicited offers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1056912546/1057397929" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The blistering housing market has investors calling homeowners with uninvited offers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1057470226/1057479614" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Housing advocates pushing for stronger evictions protections in New York in August, the same month the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal eviction moratorium from the CDC. In the wake of that decision, evictions are now rising in parts of the country that don't have any local protections. Brittainy Newman/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Brittainy Newman/AP

Evictions rising even as rental help from Congress reaches millions of people

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1053540080/1054485816" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Home builders at work in Sacramento, Calif. Democrats in Congress are trying to pass a bill that would make the largest investment in affordable housing in history and try to boost construction of more moderately priced homes. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Democrats are seeking largest ever investment in affordable housing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1052876271/1053326489" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Jessica Ruiz for NPR

Homes line the street of a neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., in March. Zillow announced it will stop buying and reselling homes, citing the volatility of the housing market. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Evictions rise sharply in places with no pandemic protections for renters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1051363382/1051363383" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Nitin Bajaj surveys the damaged empty kitchen earlier this month. The stove the tenants took with them has been replaced, but there is still much work to be done. Jessica Ruiz for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Jessica Ruiz for NPR

They didn't pay rent and stole the fridge. Pandemic spawns nightmare tenants

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1046154251/1048289094" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript