New Orleans A large coalition ranging from ACORN to the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and NAACP has come together along with our usual comrades, the Center for Responsible Lending, Consumers Federation of America, Consumers Union, and others to try a new and very public tactic in the ongoing war against predatory lending. We’re going Madison Avenue and Hollywood with some big (well, not that big) bucks in advertising to inform the public of this menace under the banner of Americans for Fairness in Lending. The funding for this initiative is being provided by the Ford Foundation and the Annie B. Casey Foundation, so let’s hear it for them standing up.
The New York Times the other day even ran a story about the campaign not only because this is an advertising face-off between us and the industry through its trade organization, the Community Financial Services Association of America, but also because they believed it reflected a growing trend of “issues advertising.” Who knew?
We have been fighting pay day lending in Canada and now increasingly in the USA hammer and tong, so this should be a welcome shot in the arm to the effort. The more people who get the real information, the more people might be able to walk away. The problem though is more difficult. The whole nature of predatory products and loans is the fact that lower income families or families desperate for any reason do not really have a choice so they are fair game for this kind of rapaciousness.
Look for the ads and cross your fingers that it makes a difference.