Rawlings Responds to Caraway's "Payday Loan King" Ads, Discusses Tenure on Lender's Board

Categories: Campaign News
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Photo by Mark Graham
Mike Rawlings
Mike Rawlings called this evening to discuss, sort of, those ads in which Mayor Dwaine Caraway blasts the mayoral candidate as the "Payday Loan King," a reference to Rawlings's six-year stint on the board of directors of Ace Cash Express -- the very sort of high-interest, short-term lender that local and state politicians are trying to regulate away. But Rawlings never mentioned Caraway by name and never directly responded to the content of the ad -- for, he explained, a very specific reason.

"I am most concerned about the under-banked in the southern sector," he said at the beginning of our discussion. "We have too many people who need short-term cash needs, and they don't have banking relationships. It's a big issue, and I think that's the issue we need to be focused on at city council and outside of city council. And that's the primary issue. That's key."

So, no thoughts about the current mayor -- and a council member with whom you'd have to work, should you be elected -- calling you the "Payday Loan King"? None at all?

"I can work with anybody," Rawlings said. "I think it's important to realize people are more important than politics. I can't be pulled down to the political issues. We're trying to talk about people being under-banked."

But it's clearly a touchy subject: CIC Partners, where Rawlings is a managing partner, has removed Ace Cash Express from its list of "realized investments," where it could be found as recently as a March 26. On the other side, we spend a few minutes discussing his tenure on Ace's board and other thoughts on payday lenders. Jump, but mind the pile of cash.

So, I have no doubt you spoke about this with Merten a few weeks back for his cover story on the mayor's race. But I'd like to revisit your tenure on the Ace board, which obviously came about because of its affiliation with CIC Partners. As I've always understood it, it was just getting into the payday lending business when you took your seat at the table, but was deep into it by the time you left.

This is a big issue in the whole United States, not just in Texas. As the banking world has become global, local financial institutions don't see a lot of profit in working with people that aren't ... [pause] ... who don't have big balance sheets in the bank. As a director, this product was out there, and we saw it start it grow. We worked hard to make sure we went by the spirit of the law and the letter of the law throughout the U.S. and each state. But also we put together programs that made sure we were educating people on financial practices and making sure we were trying to be good corporate citizens. The business began to grow so much, and the issue became so prevalent, the board decided to sell it in 2006.

Was there a tipping point at which you decided: Yeah, it's time to jump?

In the least year, yeah. It was something we spent a lot of time talking about. I don't want to speak on behalf of the company, as I am one director, but there was a lot of discussion.

Without getting too detailed, then, could you at least characterize the kinds of discussions that led to CIC deciding to sell it?


Well, now I am getting into board of director matters, and I don't want to get too specific. Look -- this was a publicly owned business, and you had a fiscal obligation to the shareholders to maximize shareholder value. On the other hand, we wanted to make sure we were not leading the shareholders into a place where it wouldn't maximize value over the long term. As we looked at the geography out there, we thought it would be better to sell the company.

Ace entered the payday lending side long after it had been around as a check-cashing company. I recently read that in 1999, it joined up with Goleta National Bank "to strengthen and safeguard its 'payday' loan operations" at a time when many states were beginning to outlaw payday lenders ...

The way this product works is: The lenders are not the banks. The lenders are the agents of a  bank, so you work with a Goleta, which makes the loans. We were never part of a Goleta. It was originally a check-cashing company: America's Cash Express. And then it began providing more services -- wiring of money, money orders, things the under-banked don't have because they don't have financial institutions. And right after the turn of the century, it got into payday lending.

When this comes back up at council, should you be mayor there won't be any conflict of interest here, right? You're completely divested ...

I am completely divested. I was never an investor but an outside director of a public company. And I brought this up with many of the Dallas leaders when I began to consider running. And I told them I would consider whatever they wanted to do with this issue. And I would put them in touch with the CEO of Ace to deal with the strategic issues in Austin, to find better laws the community would feel better about, and over specific cases of individuals where leaders felt they'd been done bad, if you will. And Ace jumped on that and made sure that what was dealt with.

I am here to solve the problem. But it's an important fact people don't realize: If you and I bounce a check we pay much more in interest than people pay in payday lending situations. So banks make a huge amount of money on overdrafts. This is a big part of bankers' business, because people get sloppy. What's happening with the payday lenders is it's isolated with people who don't have credit or a banking relationship. They are the poorest of the poor. You can go back in history and look at the profits of these businesses. They're not software companies; they're not making enormous money. The market, really, is poor people who need this money, which is a big sociological issue.

How does a small business guy with a lawn service, what does he do when his truck breaks down? There's nothing he can do. This is a big issue. Which is why it shouldn't be a political one. This is much more serious than about who wins mayor.

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62 comments
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Pawnstar

I work in the Payday loan Industry. I find error in anyone that says payday loans are for the poor and uneducated of the community. Many of our customers are everyday people who just need a hand to get back on their feet. They have to have a job or income and a bank account in order to get the loan. My clients include doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners and others who would never bee considered poor or uneducated but they would definitely be considered under banked.

Payday advances play a necessary role, providing hard-working people with a reasonable, well-regulated option for meeting unexpected or unbudgeted expenses and other short-term financial needs.

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The payday advance industry exists because we offer our customers a product that is more desirable than the alternatives.

Customers use payday advances to cover small, unexpected expenses between paydays. They are people who have a bill to pay today and choose between bouncing a check or paying overdraft fees, late bill payment penalties or credit card late fees, asking family for money or pledging personal possessions as collateral.

Consider the fees: $100 payday advance= $15; overdraft protection= $29; late fee on credit card bill= $37; $100 off-shore internet payday loan= $25; bounced check and NSF/Merchant fee= $56.* *Source: http://www.cfsa.net/cost_compa... (https://www.bankrate.com/brm/n... )Payday advances make up a very small component of the short-term credit market. Consumers typically define “short-term” to mean until their next payday.

The hard reality is that employed, well-meaning Americans sometimes fall short of cash between paydays and research shows that efforts to prohibit or limit the supply of products in this market hurt consumers.

Prohibiting payday lending only forces consumers to use the other, more costly short-term credit products available, such as overdraft protection, late fees on credit cards and other bill payments and off-shore Internet lending.

It's Like That
It's Like That

It doesn't matter what Rawlings says or doesn't say. He has Kathy Nealy (high priced bag lady and criminal as his political consultant) who makes it no secret about her continuing criminal activity. She handles the voter fraud (using dead peoples votes and completing elderly mail-in ballots), and JWP and Toni Pippens-Poole handle the election fraud (manipulating the votes in favor of their candidate, Mike Rawlings) inside of the Dallas County Elections Department. So Rawlings has nothing to worry about. He is a shoo-in for Mayor because he has all the "right people" (wink) who count supporting his campaign. Go Mike.

md
md

I can't imagine anything more damning than Rawlings being a member of the board of a 35-year-old publicly traded company.

They're fishing for the stupid vote.

AdminaG
AdminaG

Geez I give up.It's obvious that people working for Rawlings are writing on here Oak cliff Res, hasanmary etc.Responses all detailed and everything. Just looking on Google shows she used to work for atkins? Did not know that. Y'all have fun

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

If anyone really wants to know the truth about the current southern sector endorsements then PLEASE read this:

At City Hall there is a unwritten rule that the Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem all have to be one white, one black and one hispanic. Leppert, Garcia and Caraway. Leppert, Caraway and Medrano (Do you catch the drift). Of the current 7 minority city councilmembers; Atkins, Hill, Davis, and Salazar stepped out first for Rawlings. Obviously Salazar is not being re-elected but sources are saying that Medrano is secretly on the Rawlings cuff too. But the biggest proponent for Rawlings has been Atkins (your new 2011 - 2013 Mayor Pro-Tem). All Medrano has to do is lay low and she will easily retain Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem).

As far as the other two minorities we go back to the unwritten rule. Since Atkins jumped out early for Rawlings, Dwaine saw that there was no chance in hell for him to keep Mayor Pro Tem so he jumped on the next best choice (Natinsky). And since there were no other Hispanics left Jasso followed suit as well. Its funny that just two weeks before Leppert stepped down that Natinsky and Leppert tried to make a power move on Caraway to give Natinsky to Pro-Tem slot for Lepperts departure and even though it didn't work Caraway still endorses the guy.

Even more funny that no current southern sector leader (local, state or national) past or present is endorsing Kunkle.

AdminaG
AdminaG

was this one of his BeachHeads or whatever you call it? I remember the city having ads for a program called Bank On Dallas....what he's talking about is already being done. He wants to "reform city hall" and he doesn't even know what's already available.

Stick to the cue cards and bs your way through the interviews Mike.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Rawlings has answered the question honestly. Dwayne Caraway is a total idiot and an embarrassment to the City of Dallas.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Believe me, anything Caraway does has some benefit for Caraway. He hates Kunkle and believes that he will not have a title besides councilman under Rawlings. Natinsky has never supported anything for the southern sector but Caraway supports him. Ask yourself why. It's because there is something in it for him. Caraway can't deliver the black community to Natinsky, so he has decided to attacck Rawlings, praying for a runoff between Kunkle and Natinsky. If he could accomplish this, then in the runoff, he would bring out the Laura Miller commercial on Kunkle. I just hate that Caraway doesn't have an opponent, he needs to go. I knew the Observer would jump on this to try to give new life to Kunkle because of his failing debates. Why don't you endorse Kunkle? That would be the honest thing to do but this is politics in Dallas and honesty has no role.

Joe L
Joe L

Well, scratch another one. I was favorably impressed by Natinsky and then I got a letter that was essentially a right-wing screed about Washington and the federal government. It could have been written by Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh. And then there is Natinsky's not-quite-distinguished business career.

So I switched to Rawlings, and now this. It stinks.

So Rawlings was just looking after shareholders and trying to make money for them... well bordellos and narcotics also make money, but people active in those sectors have no business being mayor nor does a sleazy loan shark. His excuses are really lame. He won't even accept responsibility and is trying to talk his way out of it.

Looks like I'm down to Kunkle. I don't like his economic policies (especially opposition to the Convention Center hotel) but at least he seems to be honest, decent and above loan sharking, right-wing rants about the federal government and hucksterish business ventures.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

If the market dictate the pay day loan business,it must be very good ,in some parts of the City,every day ,I see another one open and it is not ACE. Why do we assume the people who use the pay day loan shop does not vote.I'm not sure who will be hurt by this.

Anna
Anna

He is what he is...what's up with his eye...a bullying voice..4 years of that-- ugh

Localres
Localres

I am very disappointed that you talk poorly about ACE Cash Express when they do business in YOUR city, in YOUR community, and in YOUR neighborhoods where traditional banks won't do business. SHAME ON YOU!

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

He has lived a very opulent life thanks to his loyalty to shareholders. Now that he's a politician, his concern for the small people--those he has derived wealth from--are of concern to him.

The question to ask at this point is who will be the shareholders to his mayor?

Rainbow
Rainbow

I personally know Toni Pippens-Poole. You are defaming her character. You cannot possibly know her. She is absolutely, 100%, totally, clean and honest and goes to great lengths to ensure fairness in elections.

You should be asking why is Joyce Foreman (Kunkle's South Dallas paid operative) promoting harvesting of votes from nursing homes.

Bird's Eye View
Bird's Eye View

So...you want the guy who's on his fifth marriage?Now, THAT would be the STUPID vote.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Obvious? You are, what, All Knowing?

I know who several of these posters are and they do not "work" for Rawlings. Nor do I.

I checked out Kunkle in the beginning, but simply cannot get past the fact that he is taking all instructions for talking points and strategy from Laura Miller.

Then I took a look at Rawlings and now it is a no-brainer for me. The guy has a lot of good background and has given a good deal of time over the years to great causes. And, he gave $62K to Democrats last 2yrs.

Kunkle's never done any volunteer ventures.

I have a saying: A leopard never changes its spots.

So, I do not believe that Kunkle suddenly wants to "help".

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

By the way, if you look at previous posts, I have said I worked in the council office, retired now. It's no secret. For all I know, you could be Sarah since I don't know your name.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

It is also evident that people working for Kunkle are writing on here,you for one. Dam, you have the Observer writers on your side but you would deny us the same opportunity. I didn't realize that Rawlings supporters were suppose to just read your crap and say nothing.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

He has Laura Miller but listing her would cause him more problems, especially in the southern sector.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

You missed a key part of the unwritten rule: The races change places. That means the 2011-13 mayor pro tem will be Latino, and the deputy mayor pro tem will be black, that is, unless Okpa pulls off an upset of epic proportions.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

MARK MY WORDS, CARAWAY WILL GO FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE HORSESHOE TO SITTING AT THE END. PROBABLY ANGELA'S SEAT. THAT WAY HE WILL BE DISTURBED BY EVERYONE COMING DOWN PICKING UP AN AGENDA AND LAUGHING AT HIM :)

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

He is doing better than the other candidates.Kunkle has the benefit of Laura Miller and Sarah and he still can't follow the script. When you are sprouting other's opinion, it's hard to remember. Kunkle is a follower, not a leader which is why he has such a problem with debates.

AdminaG
AdminaG

Why change the focus? This article is about Rawlings. I could care less about Caraway.

If it is such a non issue, why did Robert Wilonski note that Rawlings company took Ace Check cashing off the website??? And keep in mind they bled people for 8% on cashing paychecks even after verifying them as good checks with the bank. They made money off the uneducation of poor people.

I won't address the black councilpeople supporting rawlings, but they haven't done much.

Joanne R
Joanne R

You lost me when you said you were "favorably impressed with Natinsky".

I'd vote for a dead cockroach before I'd vote for Natinsky.

Roger That
Roger That

Yeah, like Kunkle won't lie to you.

Remember how he renamed rape, murder, car break-ins, so that the stats would show lower crime in Dallas. So he now touts he lowered crime every year.

Still had the same crime, he just gave it all a new name.

And, don't forget, he hired Avi Adelman as his number one and only paid staff on his campaign. Hired him from day one.

Kunkle campaign is burying Avi's paid salary so it doesn't show up on finance reports. Paying it through the $50,000 they funnel to campaign manager's printing company.

Problem is, Kunkle needs to stop Avi from showing up at every single event.

md
md

Everything he said was true. I have helped with the marketing of a major credit card brand and know they develop private-label debit card products to serve the "unbanked." These cards usually have a high transaction fee. There is a market for these items though because many do not trust banks and others have had the banks hit them with high overdraft fees when they bounced checks (the banks don't process the checks in order received but in the order most likely to generate a chain of overdraft fees).

Sixty Minutes did a story on Payday Loan stores last year. In it, an executive pointed out how they clearly stated their terms up front (they were posted in large type on the wall) whereas the banks bury theirs in fine print. You may think they're sketchy but they fill a market need.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

He's so honest that he won't say if he is a democrat or republican, he's so honest that he won't admit that Laura Miller is in his corner even though her husband is his campaign treasurer and they held a fundraiser for him at their house last week. He's so honest that he can't even say if he is now for or against verified response. He's so honest that he had enough information to conclude that Leppert made the wrong decision on Love Field contracts but he didn't have enough information on how he would have handled it.... You are so right!!! He is indeed an honest man!!! As honest as Dwaine Caraway...

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

You have got to be kiidding. How can you call this man honest when wife number 4 didn't even know that there was a problem when he left her for Sarah?

Rangers100
Rangers100

Now this? Now what?

He was on the board of a perfectly valid and ethical business.

And Kunkle seems honest and decent to you? Ha. I wonder if his FOUR ex-wives would agree.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Right on Betty! Some people go there because they have no choice.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Why is it OK for you to hate successful people?

MarkAnthony
MarkAnthony

There will be no Shareholders to report to after Rawlings is elected. Unlike a normal government model, where the citizens are (theoretically) the boss of the elected officeholder, in the Rawlings Model of City Government, we are in fact his employees.

Listen to his words - Metrics, Meetings, Beachheads. They do imply discussion of issues, they imply being told what to think?

If you don't like the metrics, or being told to fork over more money for ANOTHER signature project, then maybe this is a good time to re-evaluate your position as an Employee er Resident of Dallas. Have you considered moving to someplace like Grand Prairie or Mesquite? I am sure we can find someone else to take your place at a loss to your home sales price, but really I think it's time to move on out.

Welcome to Rawlingstown - now go away!

Rico
Rico

Pretty sure md was being sarcastic.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Rules don't apply to Dwaine. I guarantee my last dollar, if Natinsky get's Mayor (which he won't) Dwaine will still be Mayor Pro-Tem. He backdoored Vonciel for it two years ago and he will do the same to Jasso...

helen trent
helen trent

I think you are overreaching a bit here. Kunkle led several police departments, was a City Manager. He has the most on-the-ground City experience of the lot.

It would be helpful if everyone was positive about what their candidate has done and quit already with all the attacks.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

By the way, you would have to ask Atkins why he is against something. I do not speak for him nor he for me. Ask anyone left at city hall, I stand for what I believe. Before I met Rawlings and deciced that he was my candidate of choice, my support was for citizens to write, NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Believe it or not, poor, uneducated people are not the only ones who use payday loans. People do what they hve to do. Some have crisis and they are too proud to go to friends or family.

stupidisasstupiddoes
stupidisasstupiddoes

Ever try cashing a check at Bank of America if you don't have an account there? $10 for a $100 check comes out to 10%.

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

This topic is about a man who is running for the highest elected office in city government. That's public service representing all income brackets.Rawlings has been successful (your words) in accumulating wealth. How he has accumulated that wealth becomes everybody's business the minute he throws his hat in the ring.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Listen to his words - Metrics, Meetings, Beachheads. They do imply discussion of issues, they imply being told what to think?

If you don't like the metrics, or being told to fork over more money for ANOTHER signature project, then maybe this is a good time to re-evaluate your position as an Employee er Resident of Dallas. Have you considered moving to someplace like Grand Prairie or Mesquite? I am sure we can find someone else to take your place at a loss to your home sales price, but really I think it's time to move on out.

Welcome to Rawlingstown - now go away!

I work for people like him.

Think ? Nope not think.Make it happen as he envisions it is more like it.

And for goodness sake just go all and allow oneself to be totally immersed the CAN DO SPIRIT .Because GUYS like Rawlings never want to hear questions. In his minds eye the project is complete.

The way I still have a Job is to keep my mouth shut in Meetings and Have a workable PLAN "B" waiting to roll.

Roger That
Roger That

Kunkle was NEVER a City Manager.that's a big important job.

He was hired by a City Manager to be an assistant to a city manager.But he was never hired as a City manager.

I love how Kunkle keeps stretching and fabricating all his background

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

First, he was not a city manager, he was an assistant city manager. He worked for the city manager. As chief of police, you either work for the mayor or the city manager, depending on the form of government. It was a job. He is a good follower. Don't over state his credentials.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Kunkle has indeed led many police departments (Grand Prairie, Arlington and Dallas). But he has never been a City Manager. He was an Asst. City Manager of Arlington. And I'm not sure how much you know about government, but on any level (city, state and federal) it's all Bureaucracy. He has forty years of experience in taking orders from City Council and City Managers. Even as police chief, he doesn't make the budget. The council gives him a budget to work within and nothing in the course of the year will change that money. Rawlings as a CEO much like the mayor and council has been in the position of giving orders and not taking them as staff does. As CEO he has been held accountable for his actions which if he made a bad one will effect his bottom line.

So yes on-the-ground City experience but not the right kind...

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Because there is a generational gap between ACE between 200 and 2006 when Rawlings left and ACE today... They are not remotely the same company and it's a shame that Rawlings is getting this bad rap for something that a company he has not been involved with for 5 years is doing.

AdminaG
AdminaG

Then why did atkins march against payday loans if their not so bad?

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Even when you cash on the bank that the check is drawn, you still pay a fee. Now let's get real, stores in poor neighborhoods charge more than they do in rich neighborhoods. Insurance cost more in poor neighborhoods. If we are going after those who rob the poor, the list can be unlimited and some of you probably have 401Ks that invest in these companies. Ace was a check cashing place initially and was needed in the poor neighborhoods.

AdminaG
AdminaG

B of A? Bloodsuckers too...that's why you cash at the bank it's drawn on. Again, there already is a city program for what he "plans" to do.

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

@Hasanmary

That's rich. So we shouldn't judge candidates? Then why have elections?

There is a difference between a statement of fact, which lead to balanced suppositions, and plain mad hatter talk. And no, I'll stick with my name. Technically it's an avatar.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

People like you give church a bad name . You are so judgemental and you know nothing about this man, You need to change your name.

md
md

Metrics - A business metric is any type of measurement used to gauge some quantifiable component of a company's performance, such as return on investment (ROI), employee and customer churn rates, revenues, EBITDA, and so on.

Beachhead - A first achievement that opens the way for further developments; a foothold: "It is not yet clear whether the ecologists will establish a beachhead in the economists' carefully constructed intellectual empire" (Peter Passell).

There's a reason you work for people like him.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

@HASANMARY.

I see his Handy work at Cliff Manor every day .

In his mind the homeless problem is well on its way to being solved . It isn't He just MOVED IT !

Had a stabbing there three weeks ago .

Money has nothing to with this .

The Phony class warfare card wont play here.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Do you know Rawlings? Have you ever even talked to him or do you just lump people with money into the same category?

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