Advance America

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Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

'Advance America' was founded in 1997 and is a publicly traded company under supervision of the SEC. Advance America is the largest system of non-bank cash advance services in the United States. Advance America operates over 2,300 lending centers in 30 different states. The company website states that Advance America offers "a wide range of services," which include "payday advances, installment loans, gold-buying, MoneyGram® services, and tax preparation." The website's tag claims "Loans up to $25,000 in under an hour."[1]

Advance America is headquartered in Spartansburg, South Carolina where it was founded by current Chairman of the Board, William Webster and former Chairman of the Board, George D. Johnson.

The New York Stock Exchange states that Advance America's total revenue in 2011 was $623.86 million.[2]

Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.

Political Contributions

Advance America officially gave $110,750 to federal candidates in the 2012 election cycle.[3] 80% of those donations went to Republicans.

Putting the Poor in Debt

In February 2012, Mexican billionaire Salinas Pliego purchased Advance America for $780 million.[4] A decade before that, Salinas's Banco Azteca branches began offering loans to Mexico's poor, often at 50 to 60 percent interest rates. Forbes reported "Advance America and Banco Azteca share a lot in common. Both work with people who don’t traditionally have a lot of cash, and both charge really high interest rates.

An Advance America in-store loan of $1,000 in Mexico’s border state of Texas, for example, comes with “fee” that amounts to just about 20 percent. The principal is due two weeks after the loan is issued. Company spokesman Jamie Fulmer points out that fees on small loans are generally cheaper than a bank fee for a bounced check.

But the problem with this set up, according to Jean Ann Fox, Director of Financial Services at the Consumer Federation of America, arises when lendees have trouble repaying.[5] Then they get stuck in a cycle of taking out another loan to pay back the original amount they borrowed. The issue can quickly snowball. If lendees continue to take more loans out to cover past loans, they’ll feel a squeeze: the underlying annual interest rate is 533 percent."[5]

Executive Officers

As of February, 2013: [6]

Board of Directors

As of February, 2013: [7]

Contact details

135 N Church Street
Spartanburg, SC 29306

Phone: (864) 342-5600
www.advanceamerica.net

Resources and articles

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

References

  1. Advance America.net About Us, accessed February 14, 2013
  2. 2011 SEC 10-K form, page 41; accessed February 14, 2013
  3. Advance America Cash Advance Centers Contributions to Federal Candidates, The Center for Responsive Politics, accessed February 14, 2013
  4. Mexican Billionaire Buys Advance America, Largest Payday Lender In U.S.", Erin Carlyle, Forbes, April 23, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Jean Ann Fox Testimony Ways and Social Security", Consumer Federation of America, June 4, 2008.
  6. 2011 SEC 10-K form, page 133; accessed February 14, 2013
  7. 2011 SEC 10-K form, page 133; accessed February 14, 2013