New Orleans The on-going fight against predatory and payday lenders is becoming a whack-a-mole operation. Every time we put a cap on them in one state or province or another, too many of them just jump on the internet and charge whatever they want wherever they want, including of course places where such charges are totally illegal. We saw this recently when New York State went after a bunch of operations picking pockets in their state, including several located in the wild west of Indian reservations, but undoubtedly there’s a wilder West, and that’s on the internet.
News has come out that the Justice Department in the wake of the New York initiative is going after more than 50 companies operating with these borderless tactics and indifference to legal restrictions. And, I took it as especially good news, that they are also preparing civil and criminal charges against more than a dozen banks that allowing all of this to happen and keeping silent in order to collect what many estimate is billions in fees from these internet crooks. For years we have pointed out the level of profits that big banks, and you know many of their names, have been making through this cozy codependent relationship. The banks are more than partners. They are the gatekeepers to private accounts, and if they minded the laws for a minute, these interest rates sometimes at 1000% could not be collected.
Congressman Darryl Issa reportedly has written to the Justice Department to complaint about their investigation although I’m not sure he did so as chair of the House Investigations Committee or as the richest man in Congress, claiming that they are trying to get rid of financial services that the government doesn’t like. Huh? Like or not like, if there’s a statutory limit on the amount of interest that can be charged in a state and a lowlife company goes global on the internet to fleece a citizen, supposedly protected, then that’s against the law, dude.
As Issa says in his own “got rich” scheme, “you need to back away from this vehicle!”