The Best Lines From John Oliver’s Takedown Of The Payday Loan Industry

As regular readers of Consumerist know, we’re not exactly fans of the payday loan industry. If we were snotty teens and lived in the same neighborhood as Mr. Payday, we’d leave a flaming bag of dog poo on his doorstep. That’s why it was so nice to see our disgust for payday loans shared by John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight.

The full segment, including a profane celebrity-endorsed ad for a payday alternative is in the YouTube clip embedded above, but for those of you who can’t afford the 16 minutes to watch it, here are the highlights:

1. On their being more payday lending operations than McDonald’s in the U.S.:
“I didn’t know there was anything more than McDonald’s in America, including people and grains of sand.”

2. On payday lender Kwik Kash:
“What could be more reassuring than a business that can’t correctly spell either their product or the speed at which they’re getting it to you?”

3. On Montel Williams’ ads for MoneyMutual.com:
“Quick question Montel: How the hell are you a financial spokesman? ‘Hey everybody, isn’t that the guy who did that episode on how difficult it is to be the less pretty conjoined twin? Everybody be quiet, this guy might have some pretty sound financial advice!’”

4. On 1900% APRs on payday loans:
“Even the most demanding, abusive football coach only ask for 110.”

5. On a single payday loan resulting in several subsequent payday loans to cover the original amount borrowed:
“Basically, payday loans are the Lay’s potato chips of finance — you can’t have just one and they’re terrible for you.”

6. On the huge amount of money that payday loan borrowers often end up paying just to finance a small initial loan:
“It is not often that a metaphorical slippery slope costs as much as a ski vacation.”

7. On the argument that the customer demand for payday loans justifies their existence:
“It’s also worth pointing out that the customer demand for heroin is overwhelming and that doesn’t mean it’s a product you’d necessarily recommend to your friends to get them out of a jam.”

8. On Cash America paying millions in penalties for illegally overcharging military servicemembers:
“They must have been the ones driving around with the bumper stickers saying ‘Extort Our Troops.’”

9. On Ohio payday lenders getting around state laws regulating short-term lenders by registering as “mortgage lenders” who just happen to offer mortgages with values as low as $300:
“Why even bother calling yourselves mortgage lenders? Why not just call yourself ‘peanut butter octopus’ companies? You can’t regulate peanut butter octopi; they don’t technically exist.”

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  1. SingleMaltGeek says:

    I had to stifle my laughter here at my desk, because I heard all of these in my head in John Oliver’s voice. :D

  2. Xenotaku says:

    Now now… we all know that payday lending operations are still outnumbered by Starbucks.

  3. CzarChasm says:

    Number 7, totally number 7. That’s the biggest argument FOR these loans, and they are just about as addictive and destructive.