On Nov. 14, our Vice President of Client Development, Bill Swift, joined with other industry leaders to meet with members of the Senate Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss the challenge consumers currently face in finding short-term loan products as a result of Google’s advertising policies.
The meetings took place ahead of the upcoming confirmation hearings for the three Trump Administration nominees to the FTC. The goal was to convey the negative ramifications that Google’s advertising policies have on consumers’ access to credit. We asked those present to raise these concerns with the nominees during the confirmation hearings.
The group explained that in July of 2016, Google changed its AdWords Financial Services Policy, prohibiting companies from advertising loans with an APR of more than 36 percent or with a maturity fewer than 60 days.
Google claims that this change is intended to protect its users from "deceptive or harmful financial products," and is based on research showing that these loans "can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates."
During the meetings, our group demonstrated how Google’s advertising policies are harming the consumer. Below are the key talking points that we discussed:
Both Republicans and Democrats were engaged in the meetings, asked a lot of questions, and were interested in learning more, especially about how Google was limiting consumer access to credit. We heard from several of the Senate offices that Google was already on the FTC’s radar because of its data collection and usage practices. Most of the offices were appreciative of us bringing this policy to their attention, and they promised to share the information with the Senators directly, before the confirmation hearings.