Allied Progress Goes Old School With Its Fourth Installment of The Payday Lender Hall of Shame

This Week’s Nominees Have Been Preying on Vulnerable People for Decades. Let’s Meet Them, Shall We?


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, consumer advocacy group Allied Progress presented its fourth set of nominees for its Payday Lender Hall of Shame as the Trump administration continues to propose gutting a critical consumer protection against the payday debt trap. The latest nominees are three top executives who have been exploiting vulnerable consumers – or the “Average Joe” as one exec puts it — for decades and have mastered the political game.

From a “pioneer” in the industry who has unapologetically spewed racist views while still convincing political candidates to take a truckload of his money, to a payday lender who complained about extending the same protections against predatory lenders that military families enjoyed to all Americans, to CEO who ran a payday company that ordered managers to “solicit poor, black residents” and to “’keep customers dependent … forever, if possible.” This week’s nominees are particularly sleazy and could not be less deserving of special treatment from the federal government.

And yet, last month, the Trump/Kraninger-controlled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rolled out a proposal to undo a commonsense CFPB rule from the Cordray-era requiring payday and car-title lenders to consider a borrower’s ability-to-repay before making a high-interest loan. Without this check in the system, the floodgates will open for millions of consumers – particularly in communities of color – to fall into cycles of debt where borrowers take out new high-interest loans to pay off old loans, over and over again. It is no coincidence that the Trump administration is advancing a top priority of the payday lender lobby after the industry donated over $2.2 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration and political committees and after the Community Financial Services Association Of America (CFSA), the payday industry’s national trade group, came out in early and vocal support of Kathy Kraninger’s nomination to the CFPB.

See the previous nominees for the Payday Lender Hall of Shame HEREHERE, and HERE.

Payday Lender Hall Of Shame: The Veterans

W. Allan Jones, Check Into Cash: A “Pioneer” Of Predatory Lending

Allan Jones, A “Pioneer” Of Predatory Payday Lending And CEO of Check Into Cash, Co-Founded The Community Financial Services Association Of America (CFSA), The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.

Allan Jones, The CEO Of Check Into Cash, Is A “Pioneer” Of Payday Lending.

W. Allan Jones Is The CEO And Founder Of Check Into Cash, Inc. “W. Allan Jones is an outspoken entrepreneur who believes in the value of hard work and the importance of giving back. The impact of this payday lending pioneer is felt not only in the industry he helped bring to prominence, but also in the positive influence he has brought to his community and far beyond.” [“Biography of Allan Jones,” W. Allan Jones Website, accessed 02/15/19]

  • Jones Was A “Pioneer” Of The Payday Lending Industry. “It was at the end of a long day, the first of two we would spend together, that Allan Jones, the pioneer of the $40-billion-a-year payday industry, shared with me his views on race. […] The next day we met as planned at the offices of Check Into Cash, a chain of 1,200 payday lending stores that earns Jones more than $20 million in after-tax profits each year.” [Gary Rivlin, “Portrait of a Subprime Lender: Allan Jones, Payday King,” Huffington Post, 06/06/10]
  • Jones Was the First to Pursue Cash Advance as A Stand-Alone Business. “But Jones was the first to pursue the cash advance as a stand-alone business with blue-sky potential. ‘It was like we was filling this giant void out there,’ he says.” [Gary Rivlin, “Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty Inc.,”Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 05/20/10]

Allan Jones Co-Founded The Community Financial Services Association Of America (CFSA), The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.

The Community Financial Services Association (CFSA), The Payday Industry’s Trade Group, Was “Created In 1999 By Jones And Others In The Industry.”  “Corker’s intervention came after intense lobbying from the Community Financial Services Association (CFSA), a trade group of pay-day lenders created in 1999 by Jones and others in the industry. In the last three months of 2009, CFSA spent $500,000 lobbying Congress on the financial regulatory reform and other issues affecting regulation of the pay-day loan industry, according to disclosure records examined by TPMmuckraker. (One of the top Washington lobbyists hired by CFSA, Wright Andrews of Butera & Andrews, was also the prime lobbyist for the sub-prime mortgage industry earlier this decade.)” [Zachary Roth, “High-Living Pay-Day Lender CEO Tied To Bid To Weaken Financial Reform,” Talking Points Memo, 3/10/10]

Allan Jones Is One Of The Richest People In Tennessee—His Net Worth Was Estimated At $500 Million In 2005.

Allan Jones’ Net Worth Was Estimated At $500 Million In 2005, Making Him One Of The Top 20 Wealthiest People In Tennessee.

In 2005, Allan Jones’ Net Worth Was Estimated “At About $500 Million, Putting Him Among Tennessee’s Top 20 Most Wealthy People At The Time.” “Jones is considered by many to be a 1 percenter who made his fortune off the 99 percent. In 2005, BusinessTN magazine estimated his net worth at about $500 million, putting him among Tennessee’s Top 20 most wealthy people at the time. A profile published the Huffington Post a few years later pegged his companies’ after-tax profits at $20 million a year.” [Alex Green, “The Lord of Loans: How Cleveland payday-loan pioneer Allan Jones was propelled to fame and fortune,” Times Free Press, 02/05/15]

Allan Jones Used The “Fortune” He Made From Payday Lending To Become The Largest Property Owner” In Bradley County, Tennessee.

W. Allan Jones Has Used The “Fortune” He Made From Payday Lending To “Become The Largest Property Owner” In Bradley County, Tennessee. “Allan Jones, a former owner of the Credit Bureau of Cleveland, started and still owns Check Into Cash and has been called the ‘father of the payday loan industry.’ Jones has used the fortune he made from the business to become the largest property owner in Bradley County and the owner of Hardwick Clothes, the oldest maker of tailor-made clothing in the United States. Check Into Cash is a founding member of the Community Financial Services Association of America. According to the company’s website payday loan amounts range from $50 to $1,000. Customers typically pay back the loan principal and a fee on the day of their next paycheck.” [Mark Kennedy, “Made in Chattanooga: Eight brands forever linked to the region,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, 10/21/18]

Allan Jones Spent At Least $886,849 Out Of His Own Pocket To Bankroll Political Candidates Since 1994

W. Allan Jones Of Cleveland, Tennessee Donated A Total Of $73,900 To Political Candidates From October 4, 2004 To November 7, 2016. [Search for Jones, W. Allan, Tennessee, Sort by Date, Political MoneyLine, accessed 02/12/19]

William Allan Jones Of Cleveland, Tennessee Donated A Total Of $148,650 To Political Candidates From June 19, 2001 To March 29, 2018. [Search for Jones, William Allan, Tennessee, Sort by Date, Political MoneyLine, accessed 02/12/19]

Allan Jones Of Cleveland, Tennessee Donated A Total Of $633,899 To Political Candidates From August 8, 1994 To July 6, 2016.[Search for Jones, Allan, Tennessee, Sort by Date, Page 1, Political MoneyLine, accessed 02/12/19]

Allan Jones Of Cleveland, Tennessee Donated A Total Of $30,400 To Political Candidates From July 6, 2016 To December 1, 2017. [Search for Jones, Allan, Tennessee, Sort by Date, Page 2, Political MoneyLine, accessed 02/12/19]

Allan Jones And His Fellow Check Into Cash Executives Have Expressed Unabashed Racism.

Allan Jones Told A Reporter That His Town Had “Just Enough Blacks To Put Together A Decent Basketball Team,” But Not Enough For Him To Worry About Crime.

Allan Jones Told A Reporter That His Town Had “Just Enough Blacks To Put Together A Decent Basketball Team,” But Not Enough For People To Worry About Crime: “‘That’s Why I Can Leave My Keys in The Car with The Door Unlocked.’” “It was at the end of a long day, the first of two we would spend together, that Allan Jones, the pioneer of the $40-billion-a-year payday industry, shared with me his views on race. His town, Jones told me, has just enough blacks to put together a decent basketball team — but not so many the good people of Cleveland, Tennessee need to worry about crime. ‘That’s why I can leave my keys in the car with the door unlocked,’ he explained while driving me around Cleveland. I started to muster a response but he cut me off. ‘You don’t like what I’m saying,’ he said, ‘but I’m just telling you the way it is.’” [Gary Rivlin, “Portrait of a Subprime Lender: Allan Jones, Payday King,” Huffington Post, 06/06/10]

Allan Jones’ Check Into Cash Office Had A Black Man Come In To Shine Their Shoes Every Week, Who Executives Dubbed Their “’Little Chocolate Man.’”

Allan Jones’ Check Into Cash Office Had A Black Man Come In To Shine Their Shoes Every Thursday, Who Executives Dubbed Their “Little Chocolate Man.” “I was only sorry that I didn’t visit on a Thursday. That’s when a black man named Randy Jarrett, who does odd jobs for Jones’s various companies, shows up to shine the shoes of the company’s top people. ‘Everyone else acted as if it were completely normal for the male managers to take their shoes off every Thursday afternoon,’ a former employee told me. Making the scene even more degrading was the offensive nickname some of the executives had given Jarrett. ‘They’d stand out in the hall while their ‘Little Chocolate Man’ shined their shoes.’” [Gary Rivlin, “Portrait of a Subprime Lender: Allan Jones, Payday King,” Huffington Post, 06/06/10]

D. Lynn DeVault, Jones Management Services: Working To Strip Consumers of Protections

D. Lynn DeVault Is Currently The President Of Allan Jones’ Company Jones Management Services, As Well As On The Board Of CFSA, The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.

Lynn DeVault Is The President of Jones Management Services.

Lynn DeVault the is President of Jones Management Services.According to Jones Management Services’ site, “D. Lynn DeVault is President of Jones Management Services, Inc. and serves as a director of Creditcorp, Inc. and Firstview, LLC.” [“D. Lynn DeVault”, Jones Management Services, Inc., accessed 02/15/19]

Lynn DeVault Is On The Board Of Directors Of The Community Financial Services Association Of America (CFSA), The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.

Lynn DeVault Is On CFSA’s Board Of Directors And Is Listed As The “Immediate Past Chair” Of The Board. On CFSA’s site, DeVault is listed as a member of the board of directors, is the “Immediate Past Chair”, and the “Chair, State and Local Affairs Committee.” [“Board of Directors”, Community Financial Services Association of America, accessed 02/15/19]

Lynn DeVault Opposed Expanding Consumer Protections For Military Families To The Rest Of The Population

Lynn DeVault Opposed Regulations That Would Apply Protections For Military Families To All Families.

Lynn DeVault Wrote Letter To The Editor Opposing Regulations That Would Apply Protections For Military Families To All Families.“Our military men and women have access to federal programs and resources and have been afforded special rates on rent, mortgages and credit cards that help them manage financial difficulties. Millions of other Americans, however, turn to small-dollar, short-term credit in those instances, including payday advances — a mainstream financial service that compares favorably to other loan products in price and customer experience. Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) members […] are actively engaged in their communities and make significant contributions to U.S. and local economies. Enacting a cost-prohibitive rate cap of 36 percent, as the column suggests, would effectively ban these businesses and the product. Such prohibitions serve to drive state-licensed and regulated companies out of the marketplace, including those CFSA members that follow the industry’s highest standards and best practices.” [D. Lynn DeVault, “Letters to the Editor for Feb. 14: Short-term credit options work for many”,Richmond Times Dispatch, 02/14/13]

Lynn DeVault Claimed Consumers Did Not Need To Be Protected Because They Are Just “Average Joes.”

Lynn DeVault Thinks That “Your Average Joe On The Street” Should Not Be Protected From Predatory Interest Rates.

Lynn DeVault Said Consumers Didn’t Need To Be Protected: “They Are Your Average Joe On The Street.” “Despite warnings from U.S. regulators, the burgeoning payday loan industry is increasingly relying on partnerships with banks to avoid state limits on interest rates, two consumer groups said last week. […] Consumer groups say those fees are excessive, with a typical $15 to $20 charge for a two-week $100 loan translating into an annual interest rate of 390 to 520 percent. Nationally, according to a survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumer Federation of America, the annual interest rate on payday loans averages around 470 percent. […] ‘I think they mischaracterize the consumer as someone who needs to be protected, when in fact they are your average Joe on the street,’ said CFSA board member Lynn DeVault, who also serves on the board of Check Into Cash, a major payday lender.” [“Payday lenders are hooking up with banks,” Chicago Tribune, 11/20/01]

David Davis, Check ‘N Go: Using Money And Influence To Prey On Vulnerable Ohioans

David Davis Runs Check ‘N Go, The Country’s Second-Largest Payday Lender, Which Allegedly Targeted Poor, Black Consumers For Predatory Loans.

David Davis Runs Check ‘N Go, The Country’s Second-Largest Payday Lender

David Davis Is The CEO Of CNG Holdings, Which Operates Check ‘N Go, The “Second Largest Payday Advance Company In The United States.” “David Davis is the CEO of CNG Holdings, Inc., a diversified specialty finance company headquartered in Kenwood, Ohio. CNG Holdings is the parent company for Axcess Financial Services which operates, Check ‘n Go, and TEMPOE, LLC. Check ‘n Go is the second largest payday advance company in the United States.” [LinkedIn Profile For David Davis, accessed 01/30/19]

Former Check ‘N Go Managers Were “Ordered To Solicit Poor, Black Residents.”

Check ‘N Go’s Former Managers Said They Were “Ordered To Solicit Poor, Black Residents” And To “’Keep Customers Dependent, To Make Sure They Keep Re-Borrowing … Forever, If Possible.” “Former managers for Ohio-based payday lender Check ’n Go were ordered to solicit poor, black residents, rewarded for pushing people into revolving loans and pressured to donate to a company executive running for the Ohio House, they said yesterday. ‘We train our sales staff to keep customers dependent, to make sure they keep re-borrowing … forever, if possible,’ said Mike Donovan, a former district director of operations for Check ’n Go who said he oversaw stores in Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and Delaware.” [Jim Siegel, “Are blacks main target of payday lenders?,” The Columbus Dispatch, 09/13/07]

David Davis Denied That His Company Relied On Targeting Poor People, Despite The Warnings Of Consumer Advocates.

David Davis Wrote An Editorial Complaining That Consumer Advocates Were Falsely Claiming That His Industry Relies On Tactics Of Targeting The Poor.“Propaganda put out by so-called ‘consumer activists’ against cash advance companies continually misleads everyone from elected officials to reporters to the general public. Even worse, these extremists may be hurting the very Virginians they claim they’re trying to help by advocating to eliminate an available credit option for those consumers they purport to represent. Cash advances are a necessary product responsibly delivered to reasonable people. Cash advance opponents, such as Virginians Against Payday Loans in Newport News, claim the industry targets poor people, charges exorbitant fees and is growing at an alarming rate. They also call for several regulatory measures, including a 36 percent or 72 percent annual percentage rate cap on cash advances.” [A. David Davis, “Payday Lenders Provide A Needed Product; Editorial,” The Roanoke Times, 08/03/07]

David Davis Worked To Get One Of His Check ‘N Go Executives Elected To The Ohio State House To Fight Payday Regulations —And Pressured His Employees To Contribute Financially.

While David Davis Was Leading Check ‘N Go, The Company Tried To Get One Of Its Executives Elected To The Ohio State House To Fight Payday Regulation.

A Check “N Go Employee Became A Whistleblower After “He Could No Longer Stomach The Lies” As The Company Tried To Get One Of Its Executives Elected To The Ohio State House To Fight Payday Regulation. “State lawmakers soon will consider clamping down on predatory payday-lending companies, but lenders are fighting back by trying to put one of their executives into an Ohio Statehouse seat, a former company employee charged […]. That could help the Cincinnati area-based company, Check ‘n Go, block proposed rules against lenders who turn small paycheck advances into four-figure loans with 400 percent annual interest, said Michael Donovan. Until Tuesday, he was a district director of operations for Check ‘n Go, the country’s second-largest payday lender. By Wednesday, Donovan had become a whistleblower, saying he quit his job ‘because I could no longer stomach the lies.’” [Stephen Koff, “Check ‘n Go ex-workers blast lender,” Plain Dealer, 09/13/07]

David Davis Contributed $10,000 To The Executive’s Campaign—And Pressured His Employees To Donate, Too.

David Davis And Another Executive Each Donated $10,000 To The Check ‘N Go Executive’s Campaign.“Records from the Ohio secretary of state show that 23 employees of Check ‘n Go and affiliated companies have donated to Rabenold’s campaign. Some gave as little as $50, while CEO David Davis and Executive Vice President Jared Davis each donated $10,000.” [Stephen Koff, “Check ‘n Go ex-workers blast lender,” Plain Dealer, 09/13/07]

  • Check ‘N Go Managers Were “Pressured To Donate To A Company Executive Running For The Ohio House.” “Former managers for Ohio-based payday lender Check ’n Go were ordered to solicit poor, black residents, rewarded for pushing people into revolving loans and pressured to donate to a company executive running for the Ohio House, they said yesterday.” [“Are blacks main target of payday lenders?,” The Columbus Dispatch, 09/13/07]

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