John Oliver Joins the Battle Against Payday Lenders

There are so very many ways that low income households get taken advantage of in our economy and certainly one of the worst is payday lenders.  When low income workers find themselves short of cash for unplanned emergencies, many rely on payday lenders, who make funds available at very high interest rates.  The rates are dismissed as insignificant because these are “short term” loans, i.e. the borrower will pay it back with their next paycheck.  Except of course, that they can’t.  These households live on a very thin margin and repaying the loan out of a single paycheck is impossible.  In fact, the average payday loan is renewed eight times.  This difficulty is compounded when interest charges are added on, leading to a cycle of debt and wealth stripping from those least able to afford it.

New York state’s usury laws have stopped the expansion of payday lenders here, however, every year, Carl Heastie, an assemblyman from the Bronx who gets significant financial support from the payday industry, introduces a bill that would open the door to these loans in New York.  He cites the need that low income households have for access to emergency loans.

There is, in fact, a deep need in low income communities for emergency loans – but this is the worst possible way to address that need.  It was with great excitement that advocates saw John Oliver take on this despicable industry with humor and truth.

This is a battle that consumer advocates have been fighting for years – it gives a campaign like this such a lift to have a champion like John Oliver – Thanks John for drawing much needed attention to this predatory and wealth stripping practice that harms low income households. Enjoy the clip. Apologies in advance for the Sarah Silverman ad at the end.