Predatory Lending or Loans of Last Resort?

November 26, 2018

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Jay Speer, Executive Director, Virginia Poverty Law Center

Erin Witte, Assistant Attorney General, Predatory Lending Unit

Joel Bassam, Marketing Director, Easterns Automotive Group

Jack Murray, President, FixMedia

Recent years have seen an explosion of online lending, an unregulated space where lenders have been known to charge as much as 5,000 percent interest. Critics say online lenders are just as predatory as payday lenders and car-title lenders, except they don’t have to submit paperwork to state regulators. Sub-prime lenders say they are offering a valuable service, one that connects quick cash to people in need of fast money.

Agenda Alexandria will take a look at both sides of the issue with a panel of experts:

Jack Murray is president of FixMedia, an Alexandria-based marketing firm that helps people who need money find online lenders. A native of Alexandria, he currently lives in Lorton. He has a bachelor of arts in communications from University of Dayton. Before co-founding FixMedia, he worked in sales and management for CBS Radio and Radio One.

Joel Bassam is director of marketing at Easterns Automotive Group, a used-car dealer that specializes in the subprime auto loan market “where your job is your credit.” A native of Springfield, Va., he currently lives in Reston. He has a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Mary Washington.

Erin Witte is assistant attorney general in the Predatory Lending Unit of the Consumer Protection Section. A native of Vineland, N.J., she currently lives in Vienna. She has a bachelor of arts in law and justice from Rowan University and juris doctorate from Geroge Mason University. Before joining the Virginia attorney general’s office, she worked for Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC doing consumer-protection litigation focused on used-car dealers and predatory lenders.

Jay Speer is executive director of the Virginia Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization in Richmond that runs a predatory lending hotline and advocates for policy change in the General Assembly. A native of Philadelphia, he was raised in Pittsburg and St. Louis and has lived in Virginia since 1976. He has a bachelor of arts in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a juris doctorate from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary.

Co-Chairs: Florence King and Frank Fannon

Moderated by: Michael Lee Pope

What:Agenda Alexandria: Loan Sharks or Lenders of Last Resort?
Where: Hermitage, 5000 Fairbanks Ave, Alexandria VA 22311 When: Monday, Nov. 26 2018
Time: Reception starts at 6:30 pm, program starts at 7:15 pm Cost: $5 at the door, optional dinner for $32

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