For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, (312) 316-3973,

During #SharkWeek Campaign To Stop Payday Loan Shark Attacks, New Poll Shows Americans See Payday Lenders as Predators

WASHINGTON - During the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, as National People’s Action and allies hold actions around the country to put a stop to payday loan shark practices, new polling shows Americans of all political leanings have negative impressions of payday lenders. The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and Center for Responsible Lending, shows that nearly 2 in 3 (65%) voters have a negative view of payday lenders. Voters view payday lenders as predators rather than resources by a margin of more than 3:1.

Importantly, as the CFPB considers new rules regulating the small dollar lending industry, a full 88% of voters say that payday lenders should verify a customer’s ability to repay. Eighty six percent say that payday lenders should ensure that loans are affordable in light of a customer’s income and expenses.

“This poll confirms that Americans recognize that most payday lenders are modern day loan sharks,” said Liz Ryan Murray, Policy Director at National People’s Action. “Everyday people across the country are calling on the CFPB to stop payday loan shark practices. A large majority of Americans agree that the industry must be forced to abandon predatory practices.”


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Activists from Idaho to Kansas have already held public actions in front of payday loan stores and the offices of legislators paid off to protect them this week. Activists are calling on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue a strong and broad rules to crack down on payday, car title, installment and online loan sharks. They point out that while ocean-dwelling sharks attacked 52 people in the U.S. last year, predatory payday loan sharks trap 12 million Americans annually in a what too often becomes a devastating cycle of debt. These predatory lenders lurk online and in neighborhoods across the country leaving struggling families drowning in debt because of deceptive terms, rampant repeat borrowing, staggering fees and rates averaging over 300 percent annual percentage rate (APR). More actions are scheduled to take place today and tomorrow in states including Illinois, Iowa, Maine, and Michigan.

In addition to on the ground actions across the country, National People’s Action, Americans for Financial Reform, Rootstrikers, and USAction have launched an online petition calling on the CFPB to write a strong rule on small dollar lending. National People’s Action is also releasing a series of memes highlighting the different species of small dollar loan sharks. Watch #Sharkweek and #StopTheDebtTrap to follow the campaign on social media.


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People’s Action is a national network of organizations with a million people across 29 states.

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