Mississauga protest part of the nationwide push to get Ottawa to make credit more affordable

By Declan Finucane

Posted on December 13, 2021 at 11:32 am

Members of a Peel advocacy group will be protesting in front of a dozen moneylender companies in central Mississauga tomorrow as part of a nationwide appeal to Ottawa to criminalize high-interest loans for low-income families.

Peel ACORN, an independent social and economic justice group, will gather members and others outside of Money Mart in Cooksville shortly after noon and then travel to a number of similar financial services companies in the immediate area.

The members of the organization state that they chose the place where they congregate in a relatively small space due to the unusually high number of lending firms.

The group’s protest is part of ACORN Canada’s National Day of Fair Banking Action, which will see similar demonstrations in eight other cities across Canada, including Hamilton, Toronto, London and Ottawa, Ontario locations.

The group is fighting against the practice of predatory lending, in which payday and installment loans are associated with unjustified fees and interest rates.

“We want the federal government to act. Low-income families deserve fair banking, ”the group says on their national website.

In Peel, the organization says it is helping low-income earners, who are deeper in debt from high interest rates and other fees, to come forward and urge Ottawa to change the system, as promised before the last election.

The group calls on the federal government to “keep its pledges to investigate the lowering of the Canadian criminal interest rate and end the predatory lending in Canada”.

ACORN says the need is urgent, especially given a recent study of its own that shows installment borrowing increased 300 percent between 2016 and 2020.

“… and there is reason to believe that growth will continue undiminished,” says Peel ACORN.

Peel ACORN members will meet outside this Cooksville Money Mart tomorrow afternoon. (Photo: Google)

ACORN member Donna Borden, spokeswoman for the group’s national fair banking efforts, said she is calling on Ottawa to criminalize high interest rates and fund “non-predatory banking alternatives for low- to middle-income people.”

“As it stands, lenders are legally allowed to rip people off,” added Borden.

On tomorrow’s day of action, which groups will also meet in Burnaby, BC, Calgary, Moncton, and Dartmouth, NS, ACORN members and others faced with high-yield credit will testify about their experience with lenders, organizers say .

“Coast-to-coast people’s experiences suggest that the government has failed to regulate banks to offer low-cost credit, forcing tens of thousands of low- and middle-income people to rely on secondary lenders,” the higher Charge interest, says ACORN.

ACORN, with around 140,000 members across Canada, urges Ottawa to:

• Lower interest rate for installment loans from 60 to 30 percent

• Include all fees and charges associated with a loan in the interest rate

• Create a government-funded Fair Credit Benefit so that all low-income people have access to low-cost credit options in an emergency

• Lower NSF fees from $ 45 to $ 10

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