December 30, 2013

Contact: Rebecca Acuña

Wendy R. Davis for Governor Campaign


Davis: Perry Should Fire William White


Fort Worth, TX: Senator Wendy Davis today called on Governor Rick Perry to remove William White as Chairman of the Finance Commission of Texas in the wake of controversial statements made by White to the El Paso Times.

White’s position oversees the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner, the agency charged with protecting Texas consumers.

In a blatant conflict of interest, William White, a Vice President for Cash America International, defended his employer instead of Texas consumers in an interview with the newspaper. Cash America is a payday lender that was fined $19 million dollars by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month for abusive practices.

“Texans are tired of backroom deals and dishonesty in Austin,” said Senator Wendy Davis. “William White can’t protect Texas consumers while he represents a predatory lending company on the side. Mr. White should resign from his post – and if he won’t, Governor Perry should remove him.”

A 2006 Department of Defense study concluded that payday lending and other high-cost lending products are a threat to military readiness and destructive to the morale of troops on active deployment. The President of the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society called payday lending in particular “the most serious single financial problem that we have encountered in [a] hundred years.”

This isn’t the first time Sen. Davis pointed to William White’s conflict of interest. In 2011, Senator Davis called White’s appointment to the commission, “the classic fox in the henhouse.” She said, “It’s really disgusting that an industry that profits from the poor by charging 1,000-plus interest is put at the head of the state’s financial regulatory agency. It’s saying, ‘It’s not only OK, but we’re going to put them in charge.’ ”

Sen. Davis has been a champion for payday lending reform since joining the Texas Senate in 2009. She has filed multiple bills targeted at reform. Senator Davis has filed legislation that would close the credit service organization loophole, limit the interest rate charged to U.S. military members and their dependents, and cap the interest payday lenders can charge.

Both the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and the Texas Catholic Conference have applauded Senator Davis in her work to reduce payday lending. In 2012, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission presented Senator Wendy Davis with the Horizon Award to recognize her work to curb predatory lending practices in Texas.