New Economy Project opposes the proposed bill, which fails to adequately protect workers from unfair fees and other abusive payroll card practices. Indeed, the bill would directly undercut NYS Department of Labor’s (DOL) strong payroll card regulations, adopted last year, which community, labor, consumer, and civil rights groups across the state have enthusiastically supported.

The undersigned elected officials and organizations call on you as members of the New York City Banking Commission to remove Wells Fargo Bank from the City’s list of designated banks. As you may know, Wells Fargo’s federal regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), recently downgraded the bank’s CRA rating to “Needs to Improve,” citing “an extensive and pervasive pattern” of discriminatory and illegal lending practices.

We are extremely concerned about new attempts to undermine our state’s strong consumer protection laws – this time by online lenders that seek to circumvent or diminish our state’s usury laws, firmly on New York’s books since colonial days. We see a clear need for increased consumer protections in the online lending space, and to counter misrepresentations made by industry members as they press legislators for less regulatory oversight and enforcement. We approach the hearing topic today, in terms of the implications of online lending for economic and racial justice, and for equitable community development.

In April 2016, New Economy Project filed a federal lawsuit against the debt collection law firm Kavulich and Associates on behalf of Romain Prage, a low-income New Yorker. The lawsuit alleges that Kavulich violated federal debt collection and state consumer protection laws, and explicitly subverted New York’s Exempt Income Protection Act. Mr. Prage is seeking monetary and injunctive relief.