My accounting firm has represented clients in the check-cashing industry ["Check-cashing site law goes to top court," News, Jan. 7].
The Hempstead Town Council voted to ban this industry on a flawed premise. The town attorney confused payday lenders with check cashers; these businesses don't provide payday loans. Payday lending is considered predatory and is outlawed in New York.
Town officials clearly have no understanding as to what is meant by "high costs and fees." The state Department of Financial Services regulates the check-cashing industry, including its fees. Not every consumer has the resources to qualify for a free checking account. It's cost-effective for some to use check cashers and other alternative financial services.
These businesses add jobs and pay taxes. Government officials would be surprised at the array of services provided.
Check-cashing companies are fighting a law that would force them to close or move from business districts in the Town of Hempstead to industrial areas. The rationale was to "encourage young and low-income individuals to open savings and checking accounts" instead of using non-banking establishments. Further, these stores "tend to keep a neighborhood down."
I live in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, which includes a business district and a residential district. The residential area is relatively affluent, yet I am aware of two check-cashing stores in the nearby business area. No one can say that the check-cashing businesses are keeping this neighborhood down.
Efforts should be made to educate people about the cost of using check-cashing stores, rather than to try, by legislation, to force these stores to close.
Martin Feuerman, Brooklyn Heights