This may be news to some people who think payday lending is just small loan sharks who set up shop in poor neighborhoods, but big banks are in on the game as well. Wells Fargo has a Direct Deposit Advance product which allows for up to a $500 advance based on your next direct deposit.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it. The payday loans that people equate to loan sharks in poor neighborhoods operate the same way. Well Fargo is not alone. Other banks like US Bank and Fifth Third are also in the game. Wells Fargo is trying to push this product in NC where payday is illegal. To find a way around state laws, they are pushing the OCC to create a framework which would legitimize the product and allow then in states where payday is illegal.
The wells product depending on the length of time between your next direct deposit has rates between 78 and 391%, while US Bank and Fifth Third’s rates range between 143 and 521%. These are insanely high rates for loans that will trap people in the cycle of payday.
The OCC is currently taking comments from the public on this and groups like the Community Reinvestment Association of NC (CRA-NC) are weighing in. Adam Rust of banktalk fame on behalf of CRA-NC has already submitted comments. If you are opposed and want to submit your own comments, the OCC provides instructions here. The more people and organizations that follow the lead of CRA-NC the more likely we will be able to push back this latest attempt to advance payday.