The Bad Boss: Donald Gayhardt of Speedy Cash


Donald Gayhardt is the CEO of payday lender Tiger Financial Management/Speedy Cash and Secretary and Treasurer of the Community Financial Services Association of America. Prior to joining Speedy Cash, Gayhardt was President of Dollar Financial, a large payday lending company. While at Dollar Financial, Gayhardt called payday loans a “bargain” for the low-wage service workers that are the bread and butter of the industry, and he opposed a 36% rate cap saying it would “bankrupt” the company.

When a rate cap went into effect for military families, Gayhardt said they would stop lending to them altogether simply because they wouldn’t make as much profit without charging triple-digit interest rates. Gayhardt’s quest for profits didn’t end there. It purportedly extended to the mistreatment of his employees, who received nearly $6 million in a class action suit settlement against Dollar Financial over alleged violations of wage-and-hour laws.

Shortchanging employees and offering his hard luck customers “bargain” triple-digit interest rate payday loans has been quite profitable for Gayhardt. At Dollar Financial he made compensation of over $10 million, affording him a luxurious lifestyle.

It’s paid off for others too. Since 1999, Gayhardt has contributed at least $89,850 to the campaigns of powerful politicians and special interest PACs.

The Details:

Donald Gayhardt is the Former President of Dollar Financial and Current CEO of Tiger Financial/Speedy Cash

  • Gayhardt Resigned As President Of Dollar Financial. [Philadelphia Business Journal, 5/31/08]
  • Gayhardt Became The CEO Of Speedy Cash In January 2012. [Don Gayhardt LinkedIn Profile]
  • Gayhardt is the Secretary and Treasurer of the Community Financial Services Association of America. []

Gayhardt Made Millions of Dollars from His Positions in the Payday Lending Industry…

  • 2006: Gayhardt Exercised $1,511,221 in Stock Options and had a Value of $5,409,204 in Unexercised Stock Options. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/26/06]
  • 2008: Gayhardt Made $435,417 in Salary, $78,094 in Bonus, and $495,936 in Other Compensation. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/7/08]
  • 2007: Gayhardt Made $475,000 in Salary, $85,194 in Bonus, $375,099 in Non Equity Incentive Plan Compensation and $12,642 in Other Compensation. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/7/08]
  • 2006: Gayhardt Made $430,000 in Salary, $343,065 in Bonus, and $219,847 in Other Compensation. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/26/06]
  • 2005: Gayhardt Made $430,000 in Salary, $410,344 in Bonus, $344,100 in SARs, and $42,265 in Other Compensation. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/26/06]
  • 2004: Gayhardt Made $400,000 in Salary, $603,000 in Bonus, and $2,103 in Other Compensation. [Dollar Financial Schedule 14A, 10/26/06]

While Gayhardt Lived the High Life, His Employees Were Getting the Shaft

  • Under Gayhardt, Dollar Financial Settled a California Wage-and-Hour Class Action Lawsuit for $5.8 Million for Not Paying Employees Overtime. “Dollar Financial Corp, a leading international financial services company serving under-banked customers, today announced that it had reached an agreement in principle to settle three long-standing California wage-and-hour class-action lawsuits pertaining to its U.S. business. Under the proposed settlement, class members can submit claims pursuant to a process whereby Dollar could pay up to $5.8 million to settle claims asserted on behalf of the putative classes by three former employees, Vernell Woods, Juan Castillo, and Kenneth Williams. The lawsuits alleged that Dollar had misclassified certain store and area managers as “exempt” from California state overtime requirements and that Dollar had computed bonuses payable to store managers using an impermissible profit-sharing formula… In connection with the settlements, Dollar will not admit any wrongdoing. According to Donald F. Gayhardt, Dollar’s president, the settlements will enable Dollar to avoid the substantial continuing legal and other expenses, which for fiscal 2006 have been approximately $350,000 per quarter, as well as the drain on management resources being devoted to defense of these claims.” [Business Wire, 4/21/06]
  • Under Gayhardt, Dollar Financial Faced a Lawsuit from an Employee Alleging They Did Not Provide Meal and Rest Breaks. “In a fourth putative class action lawsuit, another former employee, Stanley Chin alleges that Dollar failed to provide non-management employees with meals and rest breaks required under California state law. The California Superior Court denied class certification of Chin in April 2005, and that denial is presently on appeal; a determination of the appeal is expected later in 2006. The Chin case is not being settled at this time.” [Business Wire, 4/21/06]

And Who Paid for His Millions in Salary? Low Wage Service Employees Working Multiple Jobs to Make Ends Meet

  • Gayhardt: Low Wage Service Sector Workers Are Our Bread & Butter And The Average Dollar Customer Attaches Three W-2 Forms, So “At Many Points In The Year They Have More Than One Job.” “Don Gayhardt, the president of the Berwyn, Pa., payday lender and check casher Dollar Financial Corp., said employment figures drive his company’s loan collection rates. ‘What we see is employment strong … particularly for low-wage service-sector workers,’ who are Dollar’s bread and butter, he said. If ‘we’re cashing checks, our customer is still in pretty good shape.’ Mr. Gayhardt said he thinks small-loan borrowers can moderate their spending when they face issues, such as rising energy prices, and Dollar’s borrowers tend to go to special lengths to make ends meet. ‘In various cycles in the past, they have shown the willingness and the ability to work more. They will take a second job, work overtime,’ he said. The average Dollar customer attaches three W-2 forms to an annual tax return. ‘At many points in the year they have more than one job.’” [American Banker, 11/18/05]

Gayhardt: Pay Day Loans a “Bargain” and a 36% Cap Would Bankrupt Us

  • Gayhardt Called Payday Loans a “Bargain” for Consumers. “But the payday lenders are right about one thing. They are providing a service the people want. Just last month 15 million people took out payday loans, Gayhardt said. ‘I think consumers understand the bargain they get with a payday loan,’ he said. But, you know, not every bargain is a good buy.’” [Washington Post, 2/25/07]
  • Gayhardt: A 36% Cap on Interest Rates Would Bankrupt the Payday Lending Industry. “Donald Gayhardt, the president of Dollar Financial Corp., which operates Money Mart payday lenders in Ohio and elsewhere, spoke at length about a proposed 36 percent rate cap that he said would bankrupt the industry, and the detrimental effects of banning payday lenders in North Carolina and Georgia.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/20/07]

Unpatriotic: Gayhardt Opposed a Cap on Interest Rates to Military Families, and Cut Lending to Them All Together after 36% Cap Became Law

  • Gayhardt Opposed a 36% Rate Cap on Payday Loans to Military Personnel. “Defense has taken the side of consumer activists. The agency issued a report last week to Congress that says payday lenders take unfair advantage of military personnel. The report relies heavily on a study published last year by the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending. Consumer activists and credit union officials applauded the department’s report, and predicted that it would build momentum behind an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jim Talent, (R-MO), to the fiscal 2007 defense bill that would cap the annual percentage rate payday lenders could charge at 36%. Payday lenders say such a cap — which is also the main recommendation of the department’s report — would effectively kill their product, and disputed the report’s analysis. According to the report, payday lenders set up shop right outside military bases and target service members — many of whom are younger than 25, lack experience in managing their finances, and do not have a financial cushion to get them through emergencies. The report points to the center’s finding last year that ‘predatory payday lending costs military families over $80 million in abusive fees every year.’ In a press release Monday, the Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents payday lenders, called the department’s report ‘a re-hash of flawed data, biased analysis, and anti-business philosophy pushed by fringe activists.’ Don Gayhardt, a board member with the trade group, said it would lobby Congress to discount the report’s findings. ‘We will work to make the case that not only is this report a misstatement of the problem, but that we absolutely do not target military borrowers as an industry and that the solution denies unfairly the choice of the payday product,’ said Mr. Gayhardt, who is the president of Dollar Financial Corp., an international payday lender and check casher based in Berwyn, Pa.” [American Banker, 8/16/06]
  • Gayhardt: The 36% Rate Cap On Payday Loans To Military Members “Would Not Make It Viable For Us Or Other Companies To Offer Small Loans To Members Of The Military. “Gayhardt said on an earning call for Dollar Financial, ‘In another area, the provision of small loans to members of the military has recently become under scrutiny from the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense recently issued a report which endorsed specific reforms, which would not make it viable for us or other companies in our industry to offer small loans to members of the military. While military borrowers represent only 1% of our total small loan customers in the US, we will nonetheless work with the DoD and congressional leaders to make the point that this report is misguided. It is no doubt driven by the current political dynamic and is not indicative of the manner in which a vast majority of companies, including Dollar, treat our military customers.’” [Dollar Financial Earnings Conference Call, 9/6/06]
  • Gayhardt Said Lenders Would Cut Off Loans to Military Families because the 36% Rate Cap Wouldn’t Make it as Profitable. “In September, Congress, responding to complaints that military personnel were the targets of ‘predatory lenders,’ imposed a limit of 36 percent annual interest on loans to military families. The law will take effect next October and is expected to choke off payday lending to this group because, lenders say, the fees they could charge for a two-week loan would be negligible, little more than 10 cents per day, said Don Gayhardt, president of the Dollar Financial Corporation, which owns a national chain of lenders called Money Marts. The new law will have little impact on the larger practice because military families account for only a tiny share of payday lending, which lenders defend as meeting a need of low-income workers.” [New York Times, 12/23/06]
  • Gayhardt Said That Dollar Financial Would No Longer Give Loans to Military Families Due to the Interest Rate Cap. “Don Gayhardt, president of Dollar Financial Corp., said that once the law takes effect, his company no longer will lend to people in the military. Employees at Dollar Financial’s 360 stores around the country will ask whether a customer is a member of the military or a family member. They also will check other sources, he said, such as patrons’ bank statements. ‘We rely on the customers to give us correct information,’ he said.” [Navy Times, 9/17/07]

Since 1999, Gayhardt has Contributed At Least $89,850 to the Campaigns of Powerful Politicians and Special Interest PACs

[Center for Responsive Politics, 5/23/16]

  • 11/09/1999 – $1,500 – Financial Service Centers of America, Inc. PAC (FISCA PAC)
  • 02/11/2000 – $1,000 – Cleland, Max
  • 03/20/2000 – $1,000 – Cramer, Bud
  • 03/23/2000 – $1,000 – Blunt, Roy
  • 03/28/2000 – $1,000 – John, Chris
  • 04/06/2000 – $1,000 – Republican Majority Fund (Sen. Chambliss Leadership PAC)
  • 05/26/2000 – $1,000 – Santorum, Rick
  • 06/29/2000 – $1,000 – DNC Services Corp.
  • 04/05/2001 – $1,000 – Bachus, Spencer
  • 05/15/2001 – $1,000 – Johnson, Tim
  • 07/06/2001 – $1,000 – Oxley, Michael
  • 12/13/2001 – $1,000 – Reid, Harry
  • 02/15/2002 – $1,000 – Americans for a Republican Majority (Rep. DeLay Leadership PAC)
  • 03/11/2002 – $1,000 – Reid, Harry
  • 10/31/2002 – $500 – Allard, Wayne
  • 03/31/2003 – $1,000 – Davis, Geoff
  • 04/22/2003 – $1,000 – Emanuel, Rahm
  • 05/06/2003     ($1,000)          Reid, Harry
  • 06/13/2003 – $1,000 – Defend America PAC (Sen. Shelby Leadership PAC)
  • 06/20/2003 – $500 – Deutsch, Peter
  • 06/30/2003 – $1,000 – Bennett, Robert
  • 09/11/2003 – $1,000 – Meek, Kendrick
  • 09/25/2003 – $1,000 – Gephardt, Richard
  • 09/30/2003 – $1,000 – Schiff, Adam
  • 09/30/2003 – $2,000 – Sessions, Pete
  • 09/30/2003 – $1,000 – Hooley, Darlene
  • 10/08/2003 – $250 – Specter, Arlen
  • 10/15/2003 – $2,000 – Sherman, Brad
  • 10/15/2003 – $1,000 – Sherman, Brad
  • 04/22/2004 – $500 – Sessions, Pete
  • 08/09/2004 – $2,000 – Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie
  • 11/01/2004 – $1,000 – Blunt, Roy
  • 03/16/2005 – $1,000 – Kanjorski, Paul
  • 03/18/2005 – $1,000 – Americans for a Republican Majority (Rep. DeLay Leadership PAC)
  • 03/21/2005 – $1,000 – Santorum, Rick
  • 06/23/2005 – $5,000 – America’s Foundation (Sen. Santorum Leadership PAC)
  • 09/30/2005 – $1,000 – Hensarling, Jeb
  • 02/10/2006 – $1,000 – Clinton, Hillary
  • 02/21/2006 – $2,000 – Casey, Bob
  • 03/03/2006 – $2,000 – Johnson, Tim
  • 03/29/2006 – $2,100 – Ford Jr., Harold
  • 03/29/2006 – $900 – Ford Jr., Harold
  • 04/28/2006 – $5,000 – Freedom Project (Rep. Boehner PAC)
  • 07/31/2006 – $6,000 – National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • 10/10/2006 – $1,000 – Cardoza, Dennis
  • 10/17/2006 – -$100 – Davis, Geoff
  • 10/18/2006 – $2,200 – Davis, Geoff
  • 11/03/2006 – $500 – Costa, Jim
  • 11/07/2006 – $500 – Storm Chasers (Rep. Buyer Leadership PAC)
  • 12/29/2006 – $2,200 – National Republican Congressional Committee
  • 01/26/2007 – $1,000 – Pryor, Mark
  • 02/01/2007 – $500 – Brown, Sherrod
  • 03/22/2007 – $5,000 – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • 03/29/2007 – $2,000 – Dodd, Chris
  • 06/25/2007 – $500 – Maloney, Carolyn
  • 09/24/2007 – $1,000 – Our Congress PAC (Rep. Ross Leadership PAC)
  • 09/28/2007 – $2,000 – Freedom Project
  • 09/28/2007 – $1,000 – Sires, Albio
  • 01/31/2008 – $2,300 – McCain, John
  • 10/24/2008 – $2,300 – Obama, Barack
  • 10/28/2008 – $2,700 – DNC Services Corp.
  • 10/21/2010 – $500 – Toomey, Pat
  • 04/24/2014 – $1,000 – National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • 08/26/2015 – $500 – Heaney, Andrew
  • 02/04/2016 – $1,000 – Rubio, Marco
  • 02/22/2016 – $1,000 – Rubio, Marco
  • Total – $89,850

Special thanks to National People’s Action for allowing Allied Progress to use its extensive research on payday lending industry executives.

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