The product may be helpful if you are experiencing a financial emergency and need money on a short-term basis, she said. The fee is less than half of what payday lenders typically charge, and she also noted that Wells Fargo has restrictions in place to prevent customers from using the product as a long-term lending solution and accumulating high interest fees.
“We do believe it’s a less expensive alternative to a payday loan,” Messick said.
Protesters also called on Wells Fargo to end practices that profit from community losses, including foreclosure, payday-type lending and investment in private prisons.
Some implored the bank to modify their lending practices and offer borrowers a path to debt reduction.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently sued Wells Fargo for discriminatory lending practices, and following a judgment in 2012, the bank agreed to compensate African-American and Latino borrowers who were steered into sub-prime loans based on their race, according to the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment — a community advocacy group based in Los Angeles.
“We recognize that there are a lot of predatory loan practices and racial loan practices,” said ACCE spokesman Melvin Willis. “They are making record profits while people are just struggling to have the 'American dream' — to live in a house and raise a family.”
He said foreclosures are still harming families, particularly in minority communities nationwide.
“That is unacceptable and that is why we are here today,” Willis said.
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