Toronto ACORN's Predatory Lending Zoning By-Law goes to first vote at council TODAY!

Posted March 29, 2016

ACORN is proud that its proposal to have the city use its zoning powers to limit predatory lenders in the city is heading for a vote at Toronto city council TODAY (Friday). Members and allies from CUPW will be urging all city councillors to vote in favour of the motion so that Toronto can take the lead in the fight for fair banking.  
 
Councillors Wong-Tam and Nunziata will be tabling and seconding a motion called Establishing Regulations and Minimum Separation Distances for Predatory Lenders. If passed the motion would limit the number of lenders that can exist in Toronto as well as call on the other levels of government to do more to protect borrowers from predatory lending practices.
 
The motion will be debated on April 1st in the afternoon.
 
ACORN will be available for comment at, or before, the Council Meeting. 
 
Contact the ACORN office if you can make it to City Hall today: (416) 461-9233
 
ACORN’s Donna Borden is ecstatic that the two councillors are championing the campaign in Toronto.  “All levels of government have a role to play.  While the City has the least amount of power to regulate lenders, municipal zoning powers allow cities to determine what types of businesses are allowed to exist in the city.  As an organization that has a lot of victims of predatory lending scams we deeply understand the amount of financial and emotional distress predatory lenders cause.  That is why ACORN will be lobbying councillors to get them to vote in favour of this motion on April 1st.”
 
Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam adds that "Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods often struggle to connect with the services and institutions they need. To make matters worse, it is in these same vulnerable neighbourhoods that predatory lenders tend to concentrate.  Toronto must follow the lead of cities like Calgary, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Burnaby in limiting the concentration of these businesses. The motion I am putting forward with Councillor Nunziata will do just that, while limiting interest rates, investing in financial literacy and management programs, and investigate new financial tools that can help residents in need of assistance."
 
If passed the new by-law would grandfather in a minimum of 400 meters between lenders and would cover payday lenders, installment lenders, title lenders, cheque-cashing operations and cash-for-gold operations.   While Payday Lenders are the most common form of predatory lending in Toronto, it is not the only one.  Installment and Car Title Lenders are more common in the United States but are entering the Toronto market at alarming rates.  They offer sub-prime loans of up to $15,000, and are under-regulated in Canada.