Fighting the Check-Cashing Ripoff

We’re making waves across the State! The Woodstock-led campaign to oppose an increase in the maximum rates that currency exchanges may charge for check-cashing and to reform the state’s check-cashing laws achieved its first significant victory. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), which was set to approve the rate hike, postponed a vote on February 13 to allow the industry and our consumer and advocate coalition time to work toward an agreement. JCAR is now set to vote on the matter on March 13, so please contact your elected officials! A solid majority of the Senate now co-sponsors the Check Cashing Fairness Act (SB 2433/ HB 5510) and reflects the political, geographic, and racial diversity of our state and coalition. Our legislative champions include Senator Jacqueline Collins, Senator Sam McCann, Representative La Shawn Ford, and Representative Andre Thapedi, who is also a member of JCAR.


(Pictured from left to right: Jenna Severson, Woodstock Institute; Esther Beard, Community Organizing Family Issues (COFI); Senator Jacqueline Collins; Gloria Hicks, COFI’s POWER PAC; Lettie Hicks, COFI’s POWER PAC)

We would like to thank our passionate coalition partners who joined Woodstock to meet with policymakers and to tell their stories, including representatives from Community Organizing and Family Issues, AARP Illinois, Illinois Asset Building Group/Heartland Alliance, Chicago Urban League, and Citizen Action/Illinois. Due to their efforts, individuals outside our normal circle of allies are learning more about Woodstock and the wide array of issues on which we work. 

While we continue to build support for the campaign, the threat of a gubernatorial veto must be considered. The bill’s proponents might need to override a veto. If necessary, the campaign will continue the fight until there is new leadership in the executive branch.

If you haven’t called or written to your state representative and state senator about this issue, please do. Visit to contact your Illinois General Assembly member. Elected officials do not hear from constituents often enough, so when they do, it definitely makes an impression.  As always, I am happy to hear your ideas or feedback at or (773) 844-5544.