March 9th, 2010 18:32 EST
Americans Pressure Fed Chairman to Stop Financing Payday Lending
CHICAGO: Everyday Americans from across the country will be meeting with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday at 2 p.m. to push the nation`s top banking regulator to force big banks to stop financing payday lending.
Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other big banks that received bailout money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), are financing payday lending companies that charge interest rates as high as 400%.
Payday lending is stripping wealth from already wealth-starved communities. This is bad for families, communities, and the entire economy, " says the Rev. Robert Bushey of Decatur, IL who is representing Illinois People`s Action and chairing the meeting. It is essential that Chairman Bernanke utilize the powers he has to take a hard line against banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America that finance payday lending. The lack of action by the Fed thus far is exactly why we need an independent consumer protection agency that covers the breadth of financial products, including payday lending. "
According to the Center for Responsible Lending, a $300 payday loan ends up costing the borrower, on average, over $800.
Wells Fargo, which received $25 billion in bailout money from TARP, provides financing to companies that operate one third of the payday lending industry`s, which includes 23,600 stores nationwide.
Those attending the meeting will also be encouraging the Fed Chairman to force the big banks to do more to prevent foreclosures and strengthen community reinvestment regulations as a means of strengthening the nation`s economy.
The meeting with Bernanke is the third NPA has organized over the last two years. During the last meeting in April, NPA secured an agreement from the Fed to work with NPA and the PICO National Network to hold nine field meetings during the summer and fall of 2009. The meetings has brought over 2,500 people out to provide Fed policy officers first-hand testimony about how the foreclosure crisis and unequal access to credit has impacted their communities.
About National People`s Action
National People`s Action is a national network of metropolitan and statewide community organizations
that work together to advance economic and racial justice. NPA has over 170 organizers working in cities and towns across the country and was the organizer of the Showdown in Chicago, a series of actions targeting the American Bankers Association
in October 2009. For more information, please go to Web site: www.showdowninamerica.org