Ending the payday lending debt trap

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(NNPA)—In just a few days, the debt trap at the core of small-dollar loans that come with triple digit interest rates and debt traps has generated an unprecedented groundswell of national and local attention. From prosecutors filing criminal charges, to grassroots activists gathering support for strong federal rules, and cable television personalities poking fun, the multi-billion dollar payday lending industry is making headlines and more.

On Aug. 10, the barrage of recent attention was heightened when John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, dedicated a segment of his hour-long show to expose the pernicious nature of predatory payday lending. In 16 minutes, Oliver rattled off a string of zinger comments that were as memorable as they were true. Using many of the industry’s defense lines as lead-ins, Oliver turned them into hearty laugh lines.

After citing store names like Quik Cash and Kwik Kash, Oliver posed the rhetorical question, “What can be more reassuring than a business that can’t correctly spell either their product or the speed in which they get it to you?”

Noting the claim that the payday industry is simply meeting customer demands, Oliver quipped, “It’s also worth pointing out that the customer demand for heroin is overwhelming and that doesn’t mean it’s a product you’d necessarily recommend to your friends to get them out of a jam.”

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