Robert: A Story of Redemption and Financial Freedom
Posted by on February 16, 2016



Robert Sherill was a drug dealer. He was young and he made some serious mistakes. In his own words, “When I needed money, I sold drugs.” Eventually his crimes caught up with him and after several years in prison, he emerged resolved to build a better life for himself.

The only problem was that no one would take a risk on Robert. He couldn't get a job. He couldn't get a loan. He couldn't even get a bank account. The deck was stacked against him. It was against these odds that Robert decided that if he was going to turn his life around, he needed to start his own business.

Enter a local small dollar lender who understood Robert’s situation and designed a financial product to fit his needs.

“The payday loan I got...was a lifeline,” said Robert. “It enabled me to start a business.”

Robert understood the loan needed to be paid back. He understood how much it would cost. And he made a decision that was right for him.

Today, Robert’s business employs 20 people and is still growing. He is a member of his local chamber of commerce and of the Better Business Bureau. He is a productive member of his community, but it all may have been for naught if he couldn’t access a small dollar loan.

That’s why the CFPB’s attempt to shutdown small dollar lenders through regulatory fiat is so disturbing. It threatens to cut off the roughly 51 million American consumers who are unbanked or underbanked from accessing what may be the only type of credit available to them.

What the CFPB is attempting is nothing less than a Washington power grab. It is decreasing consumer choice, increasing the cost of credit, and reducing credit availability to the most vulnerable Americans.

Republicans know that the greatest consumer protection is competition and choice.

If we promote more choices, then we can create more opportunities for low and moderate income Americans like Robert to rise up and build better lives for themselves. And if we don't -- if Washington is allowed to limit Americans' financial freedoms and choke off access to small dollar lenders -- then stories like Robert's will become a lot less likely.

The consequences of this regulatory overreach are very real, as demonstrated by Robert’s response to a lawmaker who asked where he may be today if he hadn’t had access to the credit to start his small business:

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