“For all the hype about shark attacks,” says the Discovery Channel, “sharks really aren’t out to get us.”

Oceangoing sharks, they mean. On land, corporate loansharks are doing their best to uphold the grisly reputation of the species. Their modus operandi is to peddle unaffordable loans to desperate people, who often end up paying more in fees than they originally borrowed.

These guys, in short, really are out to get us; and so, as Discovery rolled out its annual “Shark Week” programming, National People’s Action, Americans for Financial Reform (where I work) and a number of other public-interest groups launched a coordinated online petition campaign urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to take strong and decisive action against predatory payday lending.

The sharks we have in mind, meaning no disrespect to the cartaliginous fish of the same name, are people like W. Allen Jones, CEO of Check Into Cash, a Tennessee-based company that operates an estimated 1,100 payday loan and check cashing shops in 29 states.

Jones was a payday pioneer. In the early 1990s he had the inspiration of offering two-week loans at the equivalent of 400-plus percent interest. Check Into Cash promoted its loans as “a safe and convenient way to allow a customer to stretch their buying power and help cover small, unplanned expenses.”

Read the rest at HuffingtonPost.com