DMI Blog

Mark Winston Griffith

Al Sharpton, Predator

shark.JPGRev. Say it ain't so.

The latest entry in the "et tu?" sweepstakes is the news that Al Sharpton is hawking car title loans on TV in Virginia, a product considered to be so predatory in nature that it's banned in most states, including New York.

This is how the North Carolina-based Center for Responsible Lending described car title loans:

"Like payday loans, car title loans are marketed as small emergency loans, but in reality these loans trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. A typical car title loan has a triple-digit annual interest rate, requires repayment within one month, and is made for much less than the value of the car. Car title loans put at high risk an asset that is essential to the well-being of working families -- their vehicle.

Title lenders have made generous campaign contributions, and industry-friendly laws have passed in some states at breakneck speed. In other states, title lenders have sought to hide the true nature of their products in order to exploit loopholes in existing law..."

In addition to revealing that Al Sharpton is capable of some incredibly bad judgment, his participation in this creepy foray into American pockets proves how insidious and race-based predatory lending is and how integral it has become to economic life in Black and low-income America.

The Washington Post reported that Sharpton said that he didn't consider car title loans predatory because, to paraphrase, they provide a service to people who can't get credit elsewhere, but have available (read "exploitable") assets.

Duh. That's what puts the "prey" in predatory lending, the assumption that if you fit a certain demographic profile, you are ripe for the picking and deserve to be gouged.

Rev., this is shameful. Those who look to you for wisdom and leadership deserve better.

Mark Winston Griffith: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 6:53 AM, Dec 02, 2005 in Banking | Economy | Fiscal Responsibility
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