Category Archives: Financial Justice

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.

ACORN demonstration against predatory lending

Worth Noting

Buenos Aires     Couple of things that have passed across my desk recently that are worth noting so I will share.

    One is an architectural award that was recently announced by the American Association of School Administrators for the ACORN Woodland small school in Oakland, California. We received an honorable mention from this school for the design at ACORN Woodland. Big props to ACORN leaders, including national delegate from California, Fannie Brown, who are in fact on the Design Committee for the school, which means this mention is a big whoop for their work! Hey-Ya!

    Another is a t-shirt and clothes store operation in the trend setting chic Haight-Asbury area of San Francisco called Be+cause. I personally loved this name, but even more so, I loved their spirit. Out of nowhere a couple of three weeks ago, I got an envelope from the ladies of Be+cause with a check for over $100 made out to ACORN. Seemed that they did a set of 4 t-shirts in their HERO’S line and donated a piece of the profits to four groups, and one of them was ACORN. I was so proud! I looked up their website and saw the shirts for themselves. One was an urbanyetti. Hero or not, that’s too cool not to buy (I bought one for self!). Another was the unknown guy at Tiananmen Square who stood up to the tanks. Even though this was in green (not my color), I bought one of these, too. Hard for me not to support such a good idea and people who are clearly, good people trying to do right out there, and definitely doing right by ACORN. Here’s to you, Be+cause, and the work that you do! With thanks!

    Interesting report put out over the last couple of days by Texas ACORN on “Electric Choice” in the deregulated market found through a survey of more than 600 people that in fact either people did not know how choice worked or in the case of the customers who most needed savings, could not access the savings because of prohibitive deposit and other fees to change. More tellingly, Texas ACORN found that in the parts of Texas where electricity had been deregulated, consumers were paying 65% more for electricity at the end of 2006 compared to 2002 when deregulation began. This was twice as much as the price hikes for the regulated part of the market in Texas. This is a consumer skinning at the meter and the politicians in Texas need to feel the heat! Check it out: “Electric Choice: A False Choice for Working People.” You can find it at and then hit issues and wham, you are on it.

February 19, 2007

The Be+cause Shirts