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Consumer advocates force lending industry front group to change its name

It’s a tried a true conservative scam that’s been around for years: If you’ve got a cause that looks and smells a little – how shall we put it, slimy? – sanitize it with a mom and apple pie name!

Segregated education becomes “neighborhood schools.” Environmental degradation becomes the “healthy forests” proposal. And if you’re a front group for high cost lenders who target low income people with 50% loans that you want to make 90% loans and you’re doing battle with consumer groups like the Center for Responsible Lending, call yourself the “Association for Responsible Lending.”

This last move was the tactic used by lenders in North Carolina trying to pass a proposal in the General Assembly to jack up rates and fees on small consumer loans.

Unfortunately, for the industry, the tactic backfired when the real responsible lending advocates sent a letter demanding that the group cease and desist from infringing on their trademark.

Now, when you go to the website www.associationforresponsiblelending.org it takes you to a group called the “Association for Installment Lending.” It’s still a front group, but at least it’s a little clearer what they’re really about.

Congrats to the consumer advocates for again forcing the industry to come clean. Now if we can just get lawmakers to do the same thing when it comes to the proposals the industry is lobbying for over on Jones Street.

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