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Is It a ‘Black Leader’ Thing?

I have long been an Obama’s case about his vote against the 30% interest rate cap. How can someone with a clear conscience vote against such a cap is beyond my comprehension. It must have been too low because in January Obama came out in favor of a 36% cap.  It turns out that not only Obama, but the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton all have their hand in the payday loan jar.

At the end of June, as the subprime mortgage crisis was driving the economy into a tailspin, Charles Steele Jr., the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post to decry the devastating effect the meltdown was having on minority homeowners. But rather than support currently pending measures to better regulate the credit markets, the leader of one of the nation’s oldest civil rights groups instead attacked them. Steele was particularly upset about a Federal Reserve proposal that would crack down on subprime credit cards—high-interest cards marketed to people with bad credit.

…Three years ago, Al Sharpton went so far as to appear in TV commercials for LoanMax, a company that specializes in auto-title loans, whose 300 percent interest rates consumer advocates consider deeply predatory. CompuCredit has participated in Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s career fairs and economic summits. Local affiliates of the National Urban League, one of the nation’s oldest civil rights groups, have worked with the payday lending industry trade group, the Consumer Financial Services Association (CFSA), to conduct financial literacy seminars. Denise Harrod, CompuCredit’s vice president, has served on business committees of the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, both of which have received money from the payday lending industry.

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