Search engine juggernaut Google received cheers and celebrations last week when it announced that it would end online ads for the payday loan industry. Any payday loan business that has exorbitant interest rates and fewer than 60 days to repay the loan will be placed into the danger category, similar to those of weapons, drugs and counterfeit products.
There was some minor controversy, however, when it was discovered Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is actually investing in an online payday loan company called LendUp.
With that being said, public officials want to help Google in the question to end payday loan advertisements. One of these officials is Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell.
The Vermont Attorney General Office lauded Google for taking part in a crackdown on high-interest payday loan lenders. In the past, the state actually partnered with Google to end online advertising by “predatory lenders.” Since 2014, Vermont has identified hundreds of lenders who offered no credit check loans broke the state’s laws by charging exorbitant interest rates (300 percent APR or more) and failing to get a license to offer payday loans.
Because of this, the search engine titan prohibited online advertising for these illegal lenders.
Vermont is now pleased that Google took one step further and ended the practice of advertising all payday loan stores that charge more than 36 percent or demand repayment in under 60 days.
“I am pleased that Vermont led the states in working with Google to stop online advertising by predatory lenders,” said Attorney General Sorrell in a statement. “Google’s advertising ban is a critical tool for consumer protection. The ban will prevent consumers from being deliberately targeted by the seller of a deceptive and harmful financial product.”
Other jurisdictions are getting in on the act, too.
The Philadelphia City Council is now urging the state of Pennsylvania to join the nationwide movement. The council is urging the state legislature to oppose the passing of a bill that would allow businesses to offer payday lending options across the state.
Councillor Cherelle Parker, who first proposed the resolution last week, argues that payday loans would hurt impoverished Pennsylvania residents because of high-interest loans.
“We have had enough of the payday loan industry’s antics to try and deceive Pennsylvanians, pretending as though what they want to offer in the Commonwealth is a safe option for consumers,” said Parker “We already have some of the safest consumer protections in the nation. If what they have on the table is safe, then they wouldn’t need to change the rules. This is nothing sort of shenanigans and we won’t fall for it.”
This isn’t the first time that Parker has tackled this issue. When she was a state representative, Parker fought to prevent payday loans from entering the state.
Representatives from the payday loan industry are now lobbying the state legislature in passing the bill and weakening much of the stringent regulations. They argue that it provides impecunious consumers an alternative to conventional forms of credit, which is sometimes hard for them to access.
Whatever happens, this just proves that more and more officials at the state and municipal level are actively resisting any entrance from payday loan stores or arduously working to kick them out of their city or state.