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Strike Debt Radio Turns an Ear Towards Predatory Payday Loan and Check Cashing

Originally posted at Occupy Oakland.


She’s not Mike. He’s not Cassie. And together on Strike Debt Radio the debt-dispatching duo expose the nasty business of Payday Loan shops. These shops operate on the fringes of the law, charging what amounts to 300% – 1000% and more interest on the money they lend, trapping people in a bubble of fees and accrued interest.

Get the details – listen to their latest Strike Debt Radio broadcast here.

With more and more people living paycheck to paycheck, and banks unwilling to provide short-term credit, people are finding themselves with no choice but to engage with Payday Loan operators when their kid needs a doctor, the car breaks down, or some other emergency ensues – only to find themselves unable to pay the loan off, then watching the balance grow exponentially.

But there is an alternative, at least in Oakland, California! Mike and Cassie interview Dan Liebsohn, the founder of Community Check Cashing, one of the few (and possibly the only) non-profits in the country that offer payday loans, check cashing and similar financial services, all for a fraction (typically 25% – 50%) of the cost of “traditional” for-profit operations that seem to be popping up on every street corner.

And that’s not all they do. CCC doesn’t try to pull their customers into a debt trap; instead they work hard to pull them out! They offer free financial coaching and work with their customers to make sure their loans are paid off as efficiently as possible.

CCC is located right at the Fruitvale BART, just around the corner from the Powderface Cafe.

How and why do they do it? Here’s some answers about their operations from their new flyer:

About Community Check Cashing:

Q. How can we be so much cheaper?
A. Unlike all other outfits of this type, here no one is getting rich
off of your need to get a check cashed or a short-term loan. We charge
enough to pay the rent and pay our employees a living wage. That’s it!
No money is going from you straight to absentee owners and Wall Street

Q. What’s in it for us?
A. Call us crazy. We think everyone deserves a fair deal. No one
should have to be rich to be treated right. We think it’s outrageous
that payday lenders and check cashiers make huge profits while their
customers sink deeper and deeper into debt. So we decided to do
something about it.

Q. We provide financial coaching free or at very low cost.
A. Don’t understand a bill? Have trouble with a creditor? Want to learn
how to manage your money better? We can help!

Q. We provide inexpensive financial coaching for very small businesses, too.
A. We offer below-market rate bookkeeping, advice in developing proper
methods of planning, creating systems for proper money management and

Q. If we can’t help, we might know who can!
A. We’ll give you information and referrals for housing, immigration,
food, legal and other forms of assistance.

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