News & Politics

John Oliver: Payday Loans Are the Lays Potato Chips of Finance: You Can’t Have Just One

‘Last Week Tonight’ takes on the murky world of predatory lending.

The Great Recession brought predatory lending practices to the forefront of the national consciousness. From subprime lending to home refinancing, there seemed to be an infinite number of fiscal schemes in place designed to rip off ordinary Americans.

In this week’s installment of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver delves into the murky, unregulated world of the $9 billion payday loan industry. Pointing out that three-quarters of the industry’s volume is generated by borrowers who have to re-borrow to pay back their initial loan, Oliver tears apart the notion that these loans are designed to help people get back on their feet.

“Payday loans are the Lay’s potato chips of finance; you can’t have just one and they’re terrible for you,” he says. 

As always, Oliver is comprehensive in his takedown. Watch the clip below to learn about the egregious practices of companies like Advance America and the cozy ties between politicians and payday loan companies. 

Allegra Kirkland is AlterNet's associate managing editor. Her writing has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Salon, Daily Serving and The Nation.

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