In a misguided attempt to take a swipe at payday lending institutions, Metro Councilman Jason Holleman has a submitted a bill that disproportionately effects Blacks in Nashville.
Holleman’s bill, if passed, makes it illegal for check cashing companies to stay open 24 hours calling them “dangerous and detrimental to the community”.
Opponents to Ordinance NO. BL2015-1009 feel that it is veiled as a way to reduce crime, but in reality only cripples Advance Financial 24/7.
In an interview, Holleman stated that the only company that he knows is affected by the bill is Advance Financial. Holleman says that Advance Financial has told him that they haven’t had an incident in over 5 years and he has no reason to refute that.
“I will have to talk to the cops to look at statistics in the radius around the institute and see if there is someone getting robbed because they had recently gotten money from Advance Financial,” said Holleman.
Holleman’s efforts not only will hurt Advanced Financial, but also thousands of Nashville African Americans who will lose their jobs and/or be denied needed services that those who are historically under banked require.
An FDIC study has shown that 1 in every 5 Black households does not have a bank account. Thus, a high number of African-Americans rely on check cashing facilities in order to cash pay checks and pay bills.
When asked about this, Holleman stated that he feels that all people should be able to make it to a bank or pay their bills during the hours of 9-5. “They are providing services in the middle of the night when those services should not be needed,” he said.
In an email to Holleman, a concerned citizen wrote, “Why punish me? Although you may have a traditional 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job, not everyone does. Night shift workers (doctors, nurses, postal workers, airport workers, bartenders, 24/7 gas stations, hotels and restaurant workers) NEED a place to go for financial services, even when it’s 3:00 a.m. and they are heading off to work, going on their meal break, or just getting off work. They still need services like check cashing, bill paying and Western Union.”
“Those workers… UPS and FedEx, nurses and hospital support staff, and many hospitality workers deserve access to financial services when they are awake and working and when it is convenient for them”
A UPS worker, who did not want to use her real name, explains that when she gets off work the banks are closed. On many occasions she has had to get her check cashed and use it to pay for a money order that she drops off in a night deposit at her apartment complex to “pay my rent just before it is due so I don’t get late fees.”
Holleman’s bill not only hurts the Advance financial African-American consumers but also its employees and contractors. Advance financial will have to lay off over 300 workers should they close at night, the vast majority of which are minorities.
Advance Financial will also be forced to stop doing business with many black contractors, one of which is Robert Sherrill, owner of Imperial Cleaning Services. Imperial currently cleans 57 stores for Advance Financial
“I have six employees and 80 percent of my business is advance,” said Sherrill. “I can’t clean the stores during the day time, so I come during those wee hours of the morning. Holleman is trying to cripple me”
When asked what he thinks of the bill Sherrill said, “He might as well come out and say that this is a direct attack against Advance, because they are the only one open 24 hours. It’s not about payday advance places; it is about this particular company. You need to direct it to who is going to be effected, and that is Advance Financial.”
To Holleman he wants to say, “Who are you to tell someone when they can cash their check? Just because you can go to the bank at 2:00 in the evening, some people don’t have that luxury. Like Me, I’ve got to cash my check at night sometimes. I go to advance financial because no matter where I am I know that there’s a store close by that is open.”
Sherrill goes on to say, “By his logic, grocery stores, gas stations, and bars should be closed by midnight. To him you have no business buying gasoline for your car after midnight.”
“I’m going to lose my contract with them if this happens. I don’t know what I will do then.”
On the Advance Financial 24/7 facebook page, an employee writes, “This is NOT an ordinance on ‘payday loans’ as it does nothing to address payday lending; it simply forces us to close leaving the overnight workforce in Nashville with no financial services in their waking hours. Your support is not a vote for payday lending; it is a vote for nurses and hospital support staff, UPS and FedEx employees, and countless hospitality service staff in Nashville who use our services overnight. “
Second reading of the bill will be on Tuesday, February 3rd. The meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. in the David Scobey Council Chamber in the Historic Metro Courthouse, One Public Square in downtown Nashville. Members of the community are encouraged to attend to express their opinions to their elected officials before they vote on the bill. Parking is available in the garage under the courthouse. Parking after 6:00 is free and tickets obtained before that time can be validated.