Maxed Out's Bombshells: 1. Wells Fargo Funds Payday Loan Chains 2. Celebrities Get VIP Credit Report Treatment

While we chided Maxed Out for not discussing consumer self-empowerment, the movie did make two very interesting claims:

1) Wells Fargo funds Cash Advance, a large chain of payday loan centers.
2) Credit reporting agencies make sure to keep the reports of high-profile people, like politicians, actors, and celebrities, extra-squeaky clean, so as to avoid potential trouble.

Number one is perhaps the most astonishing allegation, suggesting that some of the biggest household names in banking are bankrolling shady sub-prime and predatory lending. says Wells Fargo has extended various million-dollar lines of credit to several different payday loan outlets, Dollar Financial, Advance America, Cash America , ACE Cash Express

Who could resist getting into a business where you can charge 651.79% interest? — BEN POPKEN

PREVIOUSLY: Maxed Out: Take It For What It’s Worth
(Photo: Orin Optiglot)


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    It’s not shocking at all that Wells Fargo, or any large bank for that matter, would loan money to a payday loan outlet, just like they would to any other kind of business. And Wells Fargo isn’t getting 651% interest on that loan, they’re getting more like 10-20% interest, depending on what security the loan company can put on it.

  2. enm4r says:

    Why would celebs even have lengthy credit reports? Honestly, if I were a multimillion dollar actor/artist, I’d probably have people taking care of all of my finances, so who knows what would even be in my name. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that companies or other individuals were the ones responsible for whatever payments were necessary, so it’s no surprise that celebs have clean reports.

    Politicians are another matter, but why piss off a person who might possibly be able to make a difference?

  3. spanky says:

    @enm4r: The point is that the credit reporting agencies have special designations for high-profile people, to ensure that their credit reports are accurate, unlike the usual error-riddled reports the rest of us get.

  4. superlayne says:

    So no one gets a lower credit score because of our nation’s debt?

    Oooooooh! Burnt!

    But seriously. Doesn’t Congress get like, a higher APR because we owe Eighty-million-trillion dollars* to various lenders?


  5. orig_club_soda says:

    The flaw in blaming celebrities for privilege is that they are the recipients, not the decision-makers. The evil-doers are the decision-makers.

    Hate (envy) of celebrity privilege is a characteristic of communism.

  6. enm4r says:

    @spanky: I understand the point fairly well, but without motivation to change, they’re not going to give the rest of us the same treatment. Without blending this with the other thread too much, they need to be forced into a standard approach and we currently don’t have the law on our side. Their approach is to be expected, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to look out for us lowly “numbers on a page” until it’s financially (or legally, which really comes back to financially) advantageous for them to do so.

  7. Islingtonian says:

    @orig_club_soda: Really? Communism?

    I’d think that being angry over celebrities recieving special services not available to the general public is more an issue of fair play.

    I’d also argue that fair play and a general sense of equal opportunity is pretty crucial to democracy. Let’s lay off the red scare tactics.

  8. ChrisC1234 says:

    So, I just took a look at and my mortgage was just bought by Wells Fargo in January. Does anyone know how much of their #$%* I need to look out for? I signed my original loan with Washington Mutual (6% fixed 30 year, no prepayment penalties), but am worried that Wells Fargo may try to pull some of their #$%* on me. Just in case, I DO have all of my original mortgage paperwork locked away in a safe deposit box.

  9. Steel_Pelican says:

    @orig_club_soda: Accepting unfair treatment is just as bad as granting it.

    Envy isn’t so much a characteristic of communism as it is a characteristic of humanity. Communism is an economic system, not an emotional state. However, associating communism with things outside of the socio-economic sphere IS a characteristic of McCarthyism.

    If we have to associate envy with an economic system, wouldn’t capitalism be a better fit?

  10. xkaluv says:

    Having done work as a private investigator, I know for a fact that celebs get special treatment on their credit reports… If you and I ask for special “privacy” treatment we are told that the only special “privacy” options are to opt-out of prescreened offers. However, celebs are able to get special treatment and many of them do not even have credit reports that show up!

  11. mermaidshoes says:

    damn, i bank at wells fargo. if my money is gonna be used to fund payday loans, they should at least give me 651.79% interest on my savings account.

  12. SkyeBlue says:

    It’d sure be interesting to actually “follow the money” and find out who owns each of these nationwide payday loan places!

    In regards to the Celebrity Credit reports, too bad “The Consumerist” couldn’t actually do a “Smoking Gun” type expose of celebrity credit reports (with the names and identifying info blacked out of course)! If they handle their finances like they handle their personal lives I bet they would be fascinating to see. I could just see it now:

    Angelina Jolie makes 6 million dollars a movie but skipped out on her $500.00 phone bill!

    Lindsay Lohan: $350.00 judgement awarded to Partytime Liquors for bill never paid!

    I’d like to see Michael Jackson’s!

  13. camas22 says:

    all businesses have revolving lines of credit in order to ensure liquidity. You might as well post an expose that Proctor and Gamble supplies their cleaning products.

    It’s not as simple as: wells loans them the money they loan to their customers. I think this article can easily me misconstrued.

  14. Credit reporting agencies make sure to keep the reports of high-profile people, like politicians, actors, and celebrities, extra-squeaky clean, so as to avoid potential trouble.

    Don’t surprise me…

  15. bnissan97 says:

    Protecting the “haves”? I thought America was based on Democracy

  16. Deniserich says:

    Since the CRA’s take special measures to ensure that high profile people (and plaintiffs in lawsuits)don’t have erroneous and harmful information in their credit reports -how is that not perceived as discriminatory?

    The fact that no legislator or enforcement agency has called them on this practice speaks volumes -and should not be overlooked.

    Top Ten List of Things You Will Never Hear the Big-3 Credit Agencies Say…sometimes it’s what you don’t hear that speaks volumes.

    10. We’re going to get serious about doing our part to fix this nasty identity theft problem. We admit our databases affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over this world. We know we are in control of your very livelihoods…Uh…no, we’re not really God -sometimes we just role-play!

    9. Our errors caused you harm so we’re going to reimburse you for those ghastly interest rate spikes and high insurance premiums you had to pay during our many system failures!

    8. We’re going to stop all the confusion and run public service announcements, purchase air time and send consumer notices directing them where to get their real “free” annual credit reports!

    7. Yes, that’s right…now that I am reviewing your dispute, and documentation you supplied us with, I can clearly see your credit report contains inaccuracies. Well, let’s remove those pesky accounts right now. And, why don’t we compensate you for the 300 hours you’ve already spent trying to fix these blasted errors?

    6. Yes, it’s often easy for us to discern whether or not you’ve been a victim of id theft from your provided documentation. We will now have procedures in place to actually review it and then accept it as proof so we can clear your good name -immediately. After all, we don’t want to sell a defective product!

    5. We admit our system is broken. We are going to stop blaming others and actually fix it! After all; we have plenty of money to do so.

    4. We no longer expect you to work for free, as an unpaid credit bureau employee -we’re going to hire our own employees and pay them to do our own work!

    3. It’s your credit score…were not going to make you pay for it anymore! In fact, we’re not going to charge you for “credit monitoring” because it is our responsibility to ensure our “product” isn’t defective!

    2. You’re right …we’re wrong and we apologize!

    1. Come right into our local office for assistance.