Welcome to Shark Week 2015
Monday, July 6th, 2015
Loansharks inflict economic violence on borrowers.
“We may think of violence as physical harm. But violence is defined as force applied to bring destruction or damage. A violent wind or a violent act. However, the situations I observe with regularity are nothing less than economic violence. The violence to a family’s finances and stability is blatant and intentional. The damage is unmistakable.” These are comments made by Jeremy White, an attorney with the Virginia Legal Aid Society when he accepted the Virginia State Bar 2015 Legal Aid award.
“I have a case on my desk in which a company is charging 438% for a loan with no maturity date. This arrangement is deemed “legal” in Virginia. What is legal is not always just. There is no economic theory or economic risk to justify 438% interest applied indefinitely. It is an act of economic violence. It belies the notion that all persons are valued and valuable. It feeds the notion that a person’s vulnerability is to be exploited and exposed. It reinforces a veiled caste system based on the quantity of financial resources.”
“My clients have such limited resources that a dollar to a predatory lender is a dollar directly out of the food, rent or gas budget. What was sold as something to get them ahead only further depletes the bank account.”
“We in this room have legitimate financial choices available to us that benefit us. The financial choices before my clients are far more perilous and violent.”
See the full text of the speech.