Everyone knows that payday lending is a sketchy business. Not only has it been John Oliver-splained, but it's also illegal in a handful of states like New York and New Jersey.
Both states have actually been pretty hard on payday lenders.
Just last month, New York's chief financial regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, imposed a $2.1 million penalty on a company called MoneyMutual for trying to circumvent state laws and payday lend by doing something it referred to as "loan lead generation." And if that big check didn't hurt enough, Lawsky got MoneyMutual's "celebrity" pitchman, Montel Williams, to drop the company publicly and call them out for shady dealings.
New Jersey has been tough too, passing legislation in 2013 that legally classified payday loans as consumer fraud.
Suffice it to say that ain't no one in the Empire or Garden States messing around when it comes to payday lending.
Public pension funds in New York and New Jersey are indirect owners of ACE Cash Express, the nation’s second-largest payday lender. It’s not illegal, but it sure borders on hypocritical.
That's a scoop from Fortune's Dan Primack, who found some pretty embarrassing stuff on the public pension investment books of the New Jersey State Investment Council and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.
According to Primack, the two pensions invested $50 million each into something called the JLL Partners Fund V LP, which is managed by private equity company that also owns ACE Cash Express Inc., the second biggest payday lender in these here United States.
So basically two states that are making political hay out of ending a practice that creates endless cycles of crushing debt in the poorest of American communities are tossing $100 million towards a company that is making some serious cash off the very practice they profess to despise.