By Gerri Guzman, executive director of Consumer Rights Coalition - 05/03/10 10:36 PM EDT
Kathleen Day from the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) attempted to discredit Consumer Rights Coalition (CRC) in her letter to the editor “Guzman’s op-ed piece wrong on every count” (4/28/10). Ms. Day seems to believe our members are not capable of making their own financial decisions and do not deserve to have a voice in the debate on financial reform.
I’d like to set the record straight on CRC:
CRL claims to speak on behalf of the consumer, but they have never listened to the views of the millions of payday loan customers who use the product responsibly and want to retain access to it. Ms. Day could gain some insight on our members by reading the personal stories posted on our website.
Just as CRL received its original funding from credit unions, we do not hide that our funding originally came from non-bank financial service providers. That does not diminish the fact that we are a platform for real consumers to be heard on an issue that will impact them dramatically. Today, our funding includes donations from consumers and other organizations.
As a former payday loan customer, I believe we should all have the right to make our own financial decisions. Our members deserve — just as much as CRL — to take part in the debate about the financial options available to them. Good public policy comes from real, honest debate. Let the consumers speak for themselves. Why does CRL want to silence them?