The program, implemented through an Atlanta company called Purchasing Power, allows the SEANC's 55,000 members to buy items and then make monthly payments through payroll deductions over a year. Although some employees say they like the program because it allows them to purchase expensive items on a payment plan, others say they feel they are being taken advantage of by the inflated costs.
A Playstation 4, for example, retails for about $400, but through Purchasing Power, costs nearly $850. An iPad retailing for as low as $499 will cost nearly $1,000.
The SEANC won't say how much money it makes from the Purchasing Power program, saying only that it is a nonprofit agency and that the money from the program goes back into its membership base.
Here's a clue: when you're a union and a lot of your members have bad credit and/or can't afford to buy appliances without using a loanshark "nonprofit agency", then your union has already failed in its basic mission.
A bill that would bring back payday lending to North Carolina has attracted a powerful new co-sponsor: Senate Rules Committee chairman Tom Apodaca. The support of Apodaca, R-Hendersonville, added to the heavyweight lobbyists that the industry has retained, makes it a bill to be reckoned with.
If they weren't a bank, they wouldn't be able to offer this product in North Carolina," said Chris Kukla, senior vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending, which leads a coalition of groups opposed to what they describe as abusive loan practices. The effective interest rates for Ready Advance loans could be as high as 365 percent annual percentage rate, Kukla said.
This story also highlights an issue that gets under my skin very deeply:
This Friday afternoon in downtown Charlotte, please join hundreds of faith leaders, advocates for social justice, students, and progressive activists from across the southeast to demand REAL financial reform.
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