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Goldman Sachs Gets into the Non-Collateralized Personal Loan Business

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously said in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis that he was “doing God’s work.” What Goldman Sachs was actually doing in secret at that time was receiving billions of dollars in undisclosed loans from the Federal Reserve – often at the insanely low interest rate of .01 percent. Goldman was also living off billions of dollars in publicly acknowledged taxpayer bailouts, while paying out obscene bonuses to its executives, including those who had shorted (made bets against) the U.S. housing market as it collapsed into the greatest disaster since the Great Depression. (See related articles below.)

Last week we received an unsolicited direct mail offer from Goldman Sachs. It was offering us the ability to borrow a personal loan ranging from $3500 to $40,000 with rates ranging from 6.99 to 24.99 percent. The solicitation noted that “only the most creditworthy applicants qualify for the lowest rates; and longer term loans have higher rates.”

The Goldman deal was coming from “Marcus,” which a footnote informed us “is a product of Goldman Sachs Bank USA,” a bank being backstopped with Federal deposit insurance, which is, in turn, backstopped ultimately by the U.S. taxpayer.

To summarize, a bank that received a cumulative total of $814 billion in bailout funds during a financial crash it helped to create, with much of that amount consisting of secret loans from the Fed at an interest rate close to zero, wants to charge interest rates as high as 25 percent to Americans, many of whom are still struggling to recover from the greatest economic downturn since the 1930s.

We decided to find out what ever happened to state usury laws that capped the amount of interest that banks and other types of lenders could charge to consumers. What we found wasn’t pretty. America has traveled from an age of enlightenment on usury to the Dark Ages.

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