Parks’ Campaign Received More Than $2,000 From Payday Lenders
By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
State Sen. Rita Potts Parks, R-Corinth, responded to questions from Corinth Today on Friday concerning campaign contributions she received from institutions associated with the payday lending industry.
Parks’ most recent annual report on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website shows that her campaign received contributions from a number of payday lenders in 2017.
The report shows that Parks’ campaign received financial support from Check Into Cash of MS Inc., $500; Financial Service Centers of Mississippi Political Action Committee (PAC), $400; Money Now, $250; Check Plus LLC, $250; Speedee Cash, $250; and Advance America $1,000.
The controversial payday lending industry has come under intense scrutiny in recent years.
In response to questions about contributions her campaign received from payday lenders, Parks said, “There are individuals in our community who for a variety of reasons cannot access cash through the traditional banking system when they need it. That’s where these businesses come into the market and fill a real need. I believe the Legislature and state banking department have a role to play in balancing the demands of the market with ensuring Mississippians can meet certain emergency financial needs.”
A new federal rule was finalized last year to “stop payday debt traps,” according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“These loans are heavily marketed to financially vulnerable consumers who often cannot afford to pay back the full balance when it is due,” the federal agency said in October after the new rule was finalized. “Faced with unaffordable payments, cash-strapped consumers must choose between defaulting, re-borrowing, or skipping other financial obligations like rent or basic living expenses such as buying food or obtaining medical care.”
But the Financial Service Centers of America denounced the new payday lending rule in October, saying it will “cripple an industry that serves tens of millions of consumers, sever lines to much-needed credit and threaten tens of millions of jobs . . . The rule will force the doors to close on hundreds of store fronts across the country, threatening 60,000 jobs.”
Parks said she is “proud” that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves chose a woman from Alcorn County to lead the Senate Business and Financial Institutions Committee.
“As chairwoman of the Banking Committee, I have the opportunity to shape banking and finance and make sure our community has input into policies that impact our economy,” she said. “As a member of Senate leadership, the concerns of Alcorn County are heard as I work with other senators on ways to strengthen public education and create more jobs.”
Parks also received financial support from a number of other lending institutions, the Mississippi Bail Agents Association, the MS Pawnbrokers PAC and various other entities.
Click here to see full report on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website.