Thursday, January 25, 2018

Do Trump Voters See Government Allowing Payday Lenders To Rip Off Consumers For Bribes As Swampy?


When Trump voters went to the polls, how many of them were voting to end the rules to keep blood-sucking payday lenders from ripping them off? Probably not many-- but that's what they're getting. As you know, Trump appointed OMB director Mick Mulvaney acting head of the CFPB-- the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Neither Trump nor Mulvaney has any interest whatsoever in protecting consumers and Mulvaney has moved quickly and forcefully to wreck the CFPB from within. Last week James Elmore from the Palm Beach Post pointed at how Mulvaney is working to destroy all the regulations that have kept the payday lenders from stealing borrowers blind. Elmore wrote that "A consumer agency taken over by an appointee of President Donald Trump who took more than $62,000 in contributions from payday lenders while in Congress said it will suspend landmark rules aimed at alleged predatory abuses in that industry." It's only fair to mention that the payday lending scams in Florida were also supported by 3 extremely corrupt congressmembers who also took massive bribes from the industry-- particularly Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Patrick Murphy.)
Florida consumers paid more than $2.5 billion in fees that amounted to an average 278 percent annual interest rate on payday loans over a decade, groups calling for regulatory changes said in 2016.

...“As a Congressman, Mick Mulvaney took thousands of dollars from the payday industry,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Washington, D.C. -based Allied Progress. “Now, as ‘acting director’ of the CFPB, he is returning the favor by sabotaging these important protections that would have guarded against predatory lenders and protected struggling consumers from falling into the cycles of debt with sky-high interest rates.”

The consumer bureau said in a statement Tuesday it will engage in a rulemaking process to “reconsider” the “Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans” rule. That rule would have started Tuesday, though some provisions would not kick in until August.

Payday lenders gave more than $62,000 in campaign contributions to Mulvaney when he was a congressman, according to gift-tracker That included more than $31,000 in the 2016 election cycle, when the South Carolina Republican ranked among the top 10 congressional candidates in contributions from the sector. Also in the top 10 in that cycle: Florida Democrats Alcee Hastings and Patrick Murphy, though GOP candidates got about 70 percent of the giving nationally.

While in Congress, Mulvaney called the CFPB a “sick, sad” joke. Trump made Mulvaney his budget director and then asked him to serve as acting director of the consumer bureau last year.

Improper influence or conflict of interest? “I don’t think so, because I am not in elected office anymore,” Mulvaney said in December. He noted different administrations often diverge on key issues.

Industry groups have fought against the rule they slam as a prime example of over-stepping by the CFPB, the consumer agency created by financial reform laws passed during the administration of former president Barack Obama.

“Millions of American consumers use small-dollar loans to manage budget shortfalls or unexpected expenses,” Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association of America, said in October. “The CFPB’s misguided rule will only serve to cut off their access to vital credit when they need it the most.”

Payday loans often run between $200 and $1,000, due when a borrower receives the next paycheck. Borrowers average a $15 fee for every $100 borrowed, industry officials have said.

Officials in the Obama administration said payday lenders collected $3.6 billion a year in fees on the backs of low-income people who frequently became trapped in endless cycles of debt. About four out of five borrowers soon took out additional loans with mounting fees, officials said. For many, costs soon approached the equivalent of a 390 percent annual interest rate, they said.

The proposed rules would have required lenders to take greater pains to “vet” borrowers, limit how many loans they could take out in succession and cap penalty fees.

As Frisch sees it, “The CFPB thoroughly and thoughtfully considered every aspect of this issue over the course of several years. There is no reason to delay implementation of this rule-- unless you are more concerned with the needs of payday lenders than you are with the interests of the consumers these financial bottom-feeders prey upon.”
This is a list of the worst of the payday lender bribe-takers still in Congress:
Kevin Yoder (R-KS)- $313,009
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)- $266,400
Pete Sessions (R-TX)- $226,999
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)- $166,950
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)- $165,300
Carolyn Maloney (R-NY)- $157,050
Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY)- $148,000
Steve Stivers (R-OH)- $143,575
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)- $134,900
Patrick McHenry (R-MO)- $132,599
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $101,300
David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)- $91,630
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL)- $83,100
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)- $69,060
Ed Royce (R-CA)- $67,600

On Tuesday, Josh Keefe, writing for International Business News, reported that Mulvaney closed a 4-year investigation into World Acceptance Corporation, a payday lender headquartered in Mulvaney’s home state Monday. The company previously donated to the former congressman’s political campaigns. Keefe explained that "While payday lenders say that their products-- short-term loans of a few hundred dollars lent at high interest rates-- allows low-income Americans to access credit, critics say the industry captures poor people in a cycle of high-interest loans they can’t pay back. A 2014 CFPB study found that four out of five payday loans are given to borrowers who already have an outstanding payday loan. The study also reported that half of all payday loans are part of a series of loans that are at least 10 loans long."

Rick Neal is the progressive Democrat running against bankster shill Steve Stivers in a horribly gerrymandered district that cut out most of Columbus and now stretches incongruously from the exurbs northeast of Cincinnati into a handpicked few of Columbus' neighborhoods and suburbs-- Upper Arlington, Victorian Village, Grandview Heights, Short North, German Village, Grove City and Hilliard-- then heads east to Athens almost to Parkersburg, West Virginia. Hilariously, I reached out to an old friend-- accidentally Jim Neal-- and asked him for a comment on the payday lender fiasco. He isn't running for Congress. He ran for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina against a conservative Democrat, Kay Hagen, a pointless one-termer, who was beaten in 2014 by Thom Tillis. This is his perspective on the payday lenders, not Rick Neal running against Steve Stivers.
Let's face it, Citizens United upended any chance that political decision-making could operate independently of pay-to-play politics. There is not a member of Congress who does not routinely make decisions based upon filling their campaign coffers instead of fulfilling their pledges to serve the public good. That's the reality of campaign finance today. Buying political support is one of the lowest-cost, high-return investments a corporation can make.

But-- that does not mean that an elected representative has to jump in bed with every mangy dog in America. There are degrees of depravity between the business and behavior of industries and their executives. Companies that disavow any responsibility for environmental stewardship come to mind. As do payday lenders.

I can not think of a more debased industry than payday lending. It's business model is simple: prey on the vulnerabilities of  the poorest people in America. It's a profitable enterprise- that's why there are more payday lenders than McDonald's or Starbucks in the US. Charging annual rates as high as 600% with very little default risk is legalized loansharking by any measure.

GOP Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio is a case in point of a congressman who sets no bounds in filtering his contributors. From his perch as a member of the House Financial Services Committee Stivers has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the payday lending industry while being a staunch advocate for dismantling regulations of payday loans by the CFPB. Pimping for the payday loan industry and calling it a "win for low-income Americans" defies gravity and decency. As a candidate for the US Senate a decade ago, I chose not to accept PAC donations to back-up my opposition to the corrosive influence of money in politics. My opponent in the race-- former Senator Kay Hagan-- called me "naive" for turning down PAC money. She was right: it's impractical for other-than self-funding candidates to swear-off accepting corporate and special interest contributions in today's high-stakes Congressional derbies.
However a candidate does own accountability from whom he or she accepts campaign contributions. Loans from payday lenders are dirty money from the coffers of the scourge of the financial services industry on a massive scale: an industry that rapes, pillages and plunders from the poorest and least-educated Americans every day, every minute. I don't know how Representative Stivers looks himself in the mirror. I look at him and see a pig feasting at the trough table set by the payday lending industry. As I do every member of the House Financial Services Committee who has accepted bribes from an industry that is every bit as predatory in its domain as Harvey Weinstein was in his.

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At 10:34 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Quote - Let's face it, Citizens United upended any chance that political decision-making could operate independently of pay-to-play politics. There is not a member of Congress who does not routinely make decisions based upon filling their campaign coffers instead of fulfilling their pledges to serve the public good. That's the reality of campaign finance today. Buying political support is one of the lowest-cost, high-return investments a corporation can make.

Nailed it.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ap215, you did nail it.

Aside from bubble capitalism (betting on failure just before the bubble goes kablooey), political bribery yields the biggest ROI.

And DWT even included some democrap names... but democraps took a ton of the payday rapists' money when they were in power too. Otherwise they'd have been put out of business in 2009... if the democraps were actually a party of human beings.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they don't see him as a sexual predator, but proclaim him as being a born-again, why would they see him as a thief?


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