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On Jan. 16, La Crosse Tribune readers saw this ironic headline: “Consumer watchdog considering repeal of payday lending rule.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exists to stand up for everyday Americans in the financial marketplace. Yet, despite this, it is considering a reversal of the Payday Rule issued last October. The rule requires lenders to make sure applicants can afford loans before issuing them -- a common-sense measure to protect Americans from falling into cycles of debt.

There is no way to justify reversing this rule. Payday loans have average interest rates of 300 percent, a blatantly immoral practice that benefits no one but the predatory lending industry. Seeing our country’s consumer agency side with loan sharks is shameful.

The Consumer Bureau’s new interim director, Mick Mulvaney, was once publicly opposed to the consumer-driven mission of the Bureau he now runs. This move made it clear that he is still beholden to special interests, not everyday Americans.

We can’t be silent when our consumer agency sides with special interests. I urge Wisconsin’s members of Congress to stand up for consumers by defending the Payday Rule.

Emma Fisher, Madison

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Emma Fisher is an organizer the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, a statewide non-partisan, non-profit organization that is focused on consumer protections and public health.

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