SoLo Funds and Global Black Economic Forum Release 2023 Cash Poor Report, Call for Congress and State Regulators to End Junk Fees in Borrowing, Adopt Total Cost Rate Over Annual Percentage Rates

The report found adults living paycheck to paycheck in the US face nearly $2,000 in unplanned expenses each year

NEW YORK--()--SoLo Funds, the US’s largest community finance platform, and the Global Black Economic Forum, an international enterprise dedicated to advancing the economic interests of the Black Diaspora, released the 2023 Cash Poor Report, a survey of adults in the United States living paycheck-to-paycheck who have experienced at least one unplanned expense in the past twelve months.

Based on the results of the study, SoLo Funds and the Global Black Economic Forum offer policy recommendations for state and federal regulators to address widespread systematic and ongoing predatory practices that are disproportionately impacting Black and Brown consumers.

The Global Black Economic Forum and SoLo Funds call on Congress and State Regulators to adopt the following policy recommendations:

  1. End the use of annual percentage rates (APR) as the “True Cost of a Loan:” Many lenders adopt hidden junk fees that are not accounted for in the cost of loans, taking advantage of less informed consumers. Congress and State Regulators should end junk fees in lending and replace APR with the Total Cost Rate (TCR).

  2. Create a state and federal regulatory framework that accounts for consumers’ need for short-term capital: Right now, legal frameworks do not account for the need of consumers to accrue short-term capital for unplanned expenses.

  3. Ensure state and federal regulators uniformly enforce innovative, effective and flexible regulatory frameworks: Enforcement actions are used against new lending models as a means to regulate them rather than utilizing a collaborative approach to transparently implement structural change.

Most important is the true cost of borrowing for consumers – the Total Cost Rate (“TCR”). The TCR includes not just the APR but all known fees. It's an accurate calculation of actual cost over a 12-month period. Fintech alternative loans like SoLo have lower averages than the two predominant solutions including subprime credit cards, by offering the best and most affordable options,” said Travis Holoway, Co-Founder and CEO of SoLo Funds.

The research commissioned by SoLo Funds interrogates important questions facing people in the United States who are living paycheck to paycheck, uncovers the shocking and predatory financial practices that continue to prey on them, and, most importantly, provides an urgent and sound solution to these exploitative practices,” said Alphonso David, President and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum. “The time is now for elected officials and members of the public to support innovative solutions backed by this research and the data that supports it.”

Notable results from the survey include:

  • Unplanned expenses cost Americans living paycheck to paycheck $1,900 annually, at an average of 2.5 unplanned expenses, with an average value of $760 each.
  • 50% of respondents with $500 or less in savings relied on family or friends to cover an unplanned expense.
  • 43% of Americans surveyed living paycheck to paycheck have a long-term health condition, disability, or impairment that has lasted over a year, and 23% of Americans surveyed living paycheck to paycheck identify as a caretaker.