Congressman defends payday lending industry

Congressman defends payday lending industry

A congressman who has been criticized for being too close to the financial industry Thursday declared that his broad support for payday lending firms is approximately “trying to make sure individuals have dignity & aren’t ripped off.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., spoke to a breakfast meeting at the National Press Club for Master Your Card, MasterCard’s “public education” effort to show consumers, small businesses & governments more ways to use electronic payments.

Meeks was dubbed a member of the “banking caucus” in a Center for Public Integrity investigation released in April. Just before he spoke, the group heard from Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, another “banking caucus” member & former megabank lobbyist.

p>Related: Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.

Meeks told the crowd that efforts to tighten oversight of high-cost, short-term loans targeting poor people will “take options off the table,” driving consumers to neighborhood loan sharks.

“If you’re focused on that market, you’ll make money,” Meeks told the group, mostly employees of financial companies & industry-supported nonprofits focused on “financial inclusion.”

The event marked the rollout of a paper written for MasterCard by an MIT professor & subtitled “How emerging electronic payment technology can provide financial services to underserved communities.”

Related: Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

Financial access & financial inclusion have become buzzwords in the industry as companies strive to cultivate new revenue streams in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Financially underserved people already provide $89 billion in fees & interest income for the industry, according to a 2012 study by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, one of the breakfast’s sponsors.

There’s more to this story. Click here to read the rest at the Center for Public Integrity.

This story is part of After the Meltdown. Click here to read more stories in this investigation.

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Copyright 2014 The Center for Public Integrity. This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.

Legislative BranchFinanceGregory MeeksCenter for Public Integrity

Source: “Center for Public Integrity”

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