A few General Assemblies ago, a theme speaker in the plenary hall -- perhaps the Ware Lecturer; I really forget who -- evoked images of how we know a neighborhood is in economic peril. Liquor stores but no grocery stores came up. But nothing evoke hard choices and poverty like check-cashing shops and payday lenders: the crystal meth of the financial world.
Since the interstate exportation of debt makes state ursury laws a dead letter, check cashing gives customers with few choices loans at rates that would make loan sharks blush. Since a legal remedy is unlikely, and since good ideas can overcome bad ones, I have to ask: what's the role of cooperation here?
It isn't like poor people have no economic power; quite the contrary. I've wondered where the credit unions are in the middle of this. Turns out at least one is paying attention.