Well, this is odd. The City Attorney's Office is having some trouble getting consumers to come down to City Hall and claim their free money.
Money Mart and Check 'n Go, the two largest payday lenders in the
U.S., violated California's unfair business laws by charging outlandish
interest rates that reached up to 400 percent APR, according to Herrera.
As we know from experience, getting a refund doesn't solve the larger problem for those of you us who need some quick cash now. So City Treasurer José Cisneros was kind enough to explain some of San Francisco's alternatives to relying in payday loans.
He says Bank of San Francisco offers mainstream banking services to those who lack a banking relationship. Payday Plus SF partners with S.F. credit unions and offers borrowers between $50 and $500 at 18 percent APR or below. These loans can be paid off in up to 12 months. CurrenC SF encourages people to use direct deposit to cut out the middleman involved in cashing checks.
"If the money is not exhausted, half of it will go back to the city and county of San Francisco," Herrera told reporters today. The other half will go to organizations "focused on financial education and other community-based efforts." San Francisco is already guaranteed to receive $875,000 from these predatory lenders.
San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson reiterated the urgency to distribute this money fast.
"In this economy, every nickel that people make is important. People are now choosing between whether or not they should go to school or eat," he said. They're trying "to make sure people's checks go into the pockets of the workers and those families."
If you want to submit a claim form to get your money back, you can do that right here.