National Day of Action on Fair Banking: ACORN Targets Predatory Lenders and Liberal MPs
Posted January 25, 2023
ACORN has been fighting to demand fair banking for years. ACORN members are tired of going to predatory lenders such as Easy Financial, Money Mart, Cash Money and others as banks deny services to low- and moderate-income people. Last year, the feds launched a consultation to crack down predatory lending – ACORN won this! More than 600 ACORN members sent submissions to the feds to demand lowering of the interest rate for installment loans.
Right now, lenders can charge an annual interest rate of 60% plus insurance, fees etc. for installment loans. These loans vary anywhere between $1,500 to $15,000 and more!
The federal consultation ended in October 2022 but there has been no action since then. There is no definitive timeline or announcement as to what action will be taken to end predatory lending.
ACORN members braved the cold and did a National Day of Action on Fair Banking to remind the federal government to take concrete action.
Here’s a brief account of the amazing ACORN actions across several cities:
In Calgary, members out at cash money in forest lawn! Members did some street petitioning and global news came and took a picture. Kavin led the action as she has been recently DOUBLE charged on one of her payments to cash money. We waited inside the store until we could speak to someone higher up on the phone, and they ended up reversing the double charge!
In BC, members braved the rain and came out to Cash Money in Surrey today! Good turn out from the media, CTV and Global News sent reporters and drove all the way to Vancouver to do a follow up interview with loan user Janna Martin, who couldn’t make the action. They mic’d up Burnby Chair Lori and awesome new Newton member Margaret to follow us on our walking tour, delivering letters of demands to 3 predatory lenders and Liberal MP Randeep Sarai!
Hamilton ACORN members held their National Day of Action to end predatory lending outside of the Money Mart. The action was led by Stoney Creek Chair Liz Scott and downtown member Andrew Robbins. Members spoke about the campaign demands and impact of using installment and payday loans for vulnerable users. A letter was delivered to the Money Mart to forward to the company’s CEO. Letters will also be sent to the three Hamilton Liberal MPs.
Toronto ACORN did a Loan Shark Safari. ACORN members handed out flyers in front of several different predatory loan lenders in Weston & shared experiences & demands. New Weston chair Rikki delivered a demand letter to the Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen’s office & some loan lenders. Pay2Day locked us out and turned the lights off, so we taped it to the door! Some people walking by were so curious about what we were up to that they ended up joining us for the next stops!!
In London, 15 people came out to ACORN’s National Day of Action in front of the Money Mart at 489 Wellington St. ACORN leaders Betty Morrison and Claire Wittnebel led the amazing action! Betty shared her personal experience with payday & installment lenders and the impacts of their predatory actions on her life. Betty has been battling the criminal interest rates and hidden fees for years! Claire shared ACORN’s national campaign demands and then led the members in several powerful chants. We made sure we were heard! Betty led the members inside the Money Mart to deliver a letter and demand that they fax it to the CEO of Money Mart. They didn’t even speak with us and instead hid in the back of their store. SHAME! Betty slid the letter under the window and continued our powerful chants. Afterwards, the members gave out flyers to people passing by and taped up many flyers onto the hydro poles in the surrounding area. Three news outlets came to the action – CTV, CBC, and Fanshawe FXM (links coming soon)
Peel ACORN saw a small but dedicated crew assembled over at the Liberal MP Peter Fonseca’s office in Mississauga demanding fair banking practices. Fonseca’s office was closed but his staff reached out and are trying to schedule a meeting with members soon. Members then went to a Cash Money outlet nearby, where we taped flyers and signs detailing how bad these legalized loan sharks were and held a demonstration that attracted more than a few onlookers. A reporter from the Pointer was present throughout the action, and interviewed ACORN leader Marcia Bryan, and will interview another member, Francis. Francis will also submit a letter to the editor of Metroland.
Ottawa had about 20 members come out to the Walking Debt Tour! The action was led by Evan, Lydia, and Sharon, who brought us to three different lenders: Easy Financial, Pay2Day, and Money Mart. Before heading out, Evan shared his personal experience with payday lenders, while Sharon shared the experience of a member on ODSP who took a loan. Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden also came out to share a few words of support and spur us on during the tour. Evan and Lydia led us with chants to make the lenders and everyone around know who we were and what we were there to accomplish: to get these predatory lenders to lower their criminally high rates! Letters were dropped off at each lender, and we even managed to sneak one of our signs onto Money Mart’s storefront window to warn people who might be taking out a loan that they’ll be trapped “in a deep tomb of debt”.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to drop off our letters at the Prime Minister’s Office because the mailbox there locks at 5:00pm, but the entire office was definitely aware we were there from the amount of noise we made.
In Moncton, Peter, Vanessa and the crew were out at the Fairstone outlet on Main st in Moncton. Fairstone is the rebranded CITI-Financial lender from where Donna Borden, the National ACORN Fair Banking Campaign Champion and Toronto ACORN leader, took her loans from. Members were joined by the President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour and the President of Local 406 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. Our crew was glared at by a manager from Fairstone!
Press in the Moncton Times and Transcript (print). Peter will also be interviewed on CBC radio.