Thanks to ICAN Intern Emma Ayers for this report.
February 14th this year, members of Alliance affiliate Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) had some very specific valentines to deliver to payday lending stores across the valley. These over-sized valentines with broken hearts of pink and red symbolized a message and a demand: stop breaking our hearts and stop breaking our budgets.
The ICAN valentine’s day demand was simple and follows the legislative regulation ICAN wants in Idaho: voluntarily reduce interest rates to a cap of 36% from upwards of 400% and reduce the maximum loan amount from $1,000 to $300. And so with valentines in hand, we visited many payday stores and allowed our members to share their stories and educate the public. In Nampa, our members were interviewed by the Idaho Press Tribune and got to tell their stories and spread our message to an even bigger audience. The member stories spoke of the unfair cycle created by unregulated payday loans which trap community members in debt and thus insure their repeat loan business.
ICAN’s valentine’s day action was met with mixed responses, from passionate members to defensive businesses. On a few occasions, we were asked to leave a store, but as we loaded up our giant valentines and drove to the next location, one thing was clear: we are not allowing more broken hearts and broken budgets.
To read media coverage of the day, please visit these links:
The Lewiston Tribune: Protestors Target Lewiston Wells Fargo Office
The Idaho Statesman: Idaho consumer group targets payday lenders with valentines
The Lewiston Tribune: Valentine Protestors Have No Love for Payday Lenders
The Boise Weekly: ICAN To Deliver Heart-Shaped Activism to Payday Loan Stores