Cashco ad campaign attacks NDP law that cracks down on predatory lending
Update : Elections Alberta confirmed Cashco Financial submitted an application to register as a third-party advertiser. It said the company’s registration was expected to be processed within a day or two.
Cashco’s campaign #NeedMilkMoney attacks legislation payday loans Mount Vernon Ohio put in place by Alberta’s NDP government in 2015 that cracked down on so-called predatory lending practices.
The law barred lenders from offering a loan when another is already outstanding, charging a fee to cash a payday loan, and soliciting directly by email or phone. It also capped the lending rate that companies can charge at $15 per $100 borrowed.
Albertans are tired of making sacrifices to make ends meet between paycheques. Help us fix the lack of accessible credit in Alberta. Learn more visit pic.twitter/gvKhyUtYHH
“The language and limitations imposed in the act were a surprise to us,” said Cashco CEO Tim Latimer in a press release announcing the ad campaign on March 28.
“It indicated that there was very little understanding of the industry and difficulties facing thousands of Albertans living paycheque to paycheque. We hope to bring this reality to the forefront and help shape Alberta’s future.”
The campaign has been promoted on social media since mid-paign accused the company of being “loan sharks” and questioned if the ad was legal.
Calgary Coun. Druh Farrell was among those who weighed in, criticizing the lobbying as a call to return to “harmful lending practices.”
Since predatory lenders are weighing in on #abvote, lobbying for a return to harmful lending practices, let’s look back at how we got here.
In Alberta, election advertising is any advertising done in the period between writs being issued and election day “that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or registered candidate is associated,” according to Elections Alberta.
Cashco not registered, says Elections Alberta
A Cashco representative told CBC News the company is registered, and said the company isn’t doing election advertising as the Cashco’s campaign is non-partisan.
The company said it would provide proof it was registered but had yet to do so by the time of publication.
“I wouldn’t say we’re doing election advertising, more so bringing awareness to a very serious issue where we have one in four Albertans dealing with not being able to make ends meet,” said Courtney Naumann, Cashco’s vice-president of marketing and communications.
Naumann said the ad campaign isn’t necessarily in opposition to the NDP, just the predatory lending legislation the NDP implemented.
Naumann also said Cashco is listed on Alberta’s lobbyist registry. CBC News found the company had registered as an Alberta lobbyist on Friday, the same day CBC News contacted Cashco, and registered for a consultant to lobby on its behalf on Tuesday.
- Listen to The Ledge podcast, as CBC’s legislative reporters bring you expert analysis and insiders’ insight
- Sign up to get our election newsletter The Scrutineer delivered directly to your inbox twice weekly
Language on the ad campaign’s website states, “the election is here! Now more than ever your story needs to be heard,” and says the company will pass along stories of financial hardship to political candidates.
It’s paired with a video that suggests the predatory lending law’s implementation has caused families to have to return childrens ‘ Christmas gifts to pay the bills, skip meals, or put their dog down as they could no longer afford medication.
The Office of the Election Commissioner said it would not comment on whether or not Cashco’s ad campaign is under investigation.
In 2016, Cashco made headlines when it was ordered to pay back $40,000 in fees, after a Consumer Protection B.C. investigation found the company overcharged borrowers and violated their rights.
- Alberta Votes 2019: CBC News brings you all the news, analyses and columns you need for the election