According to this Washington Post story, Rev. Al Sharpton is helping to promote car title loans, a practice some legislators want to abolish, due to predatroy interest rates that can rise to over 300 percent.
In commercials airing locally, the ever-colorful Al Sharpton stands on a stage with an American flag and happily declares, “Finally, there’s someone in Virginia who will loan money to people the big guys won’t loan to.”
“These are predatory small loans,” said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America.
“If I felt this is in any way abusive, I would stop doing the ads,” Sharpton said yesterday. He filmed three commercials for LoanMax, a Georgia-based company with 150 offices across the country, and said he considers these loans different from predatory ones because the borrowers have assets (the car) but not the credit rating to get bank loans.
“The ads are working very well,” said LoanMax President Rod Aycox, who declined to say what Sharpton was paid. The spots began airing last week in Virginia, Iowa and New Mexico, states where legislators have proposed capping interest rates, and Aycox plans to continue them for another few weeks. “People just love Reverend Sharpton.”