Ryan Mack to Russell Simmons: Please Stop Selling the Rushcard!

15 Apr

Dear Mr. Simmons:
My name is Ryan Mack and I have followed your career for most of my life. I have been a long-time admirer of your work, a tremendous fan, and believe that millions are inspired by the paths that you have created in the field of Hip-Hop. More importantly, as an advocate for financial literacy myself, I believe that the work that you have been doing through the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network as it relates to financial literacy has been second to none. However, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed with your recent pre-paid debit card venture – the "Rushcard."

The pre-paid debit card industry has always been an industry that is built upon a lack of knowledge within the community. It is an industry based upon the legal phrase which demonstrates that "false imprisonment is an intentional tort." In other words, if I put someone in a room and do not lock the door but tell them that the door is locked, they will remain in the room because they believe the door is locked. As a result of my action, I have committed a punishable crime. I view pre-paid debit cards in the same light. Those who know the strategies to empower the community have a moral obligation to those, who may not be as knowledgeable, to fully inform them. There are other more efficient means to empower those in our communities than pre-paid debit cards and other financially destructive establishments such as check cashing facilities. The typical bank offers free debit cards that if used properly do not have any fees affiliated with them and can be used for the same purpose as the pre-paid debit cards.

If we compare the fees affiliated with the Rushcard compared to the typical bank offered debit card, we can clearly see the advantage of the cards offered by the banking institutions.

Rushcard vs. Typical Bank Card
Activation Fee: Rushcard = $19.95 Typical Bank Card = Free
Convenience Fee: Rushcard = $1.00 Typical Bank Card = Free
ATM Cash Withdrawal: Rushcard = $1.95 Typical Bank Card = Free (At Branch)
ATM Balance Inquiry: Rushcard = $.50 Typical Bank Card = Free
Bill Payment: Rushcard = $1.00 Typical Bank Card = Free
Inactivity: Rushcard = $2.95 Typical Bank Card = Free
Refund of Rushcard/Bank Card via Check: Rushcard = $5.00 Typical Bank Card = Free

As you see, there is no financial reason for one to choose the Rushcard over a typical banking institution which offers debit cards as a part of their services. With the continuous onslaught of technology, it is becoming increasingly easier to open bank accounts.

In addition to that, the Black community needs to pay more scrutiny to our spending patterns as excessive consumption continues to present a serious problem within our communities. Over 93% of our dollars are spent on consumption (compared to 85% of all dollars in America spent on consumption); we invest less than 20% less per month than whites; and our net worth as a community continues to remain 20% of the net worth of our white counterparts. The unnecessary excessive fees related to the pre-paid debit cards do nothing but compound the problem by eroding crucial capital that could be used for other important activities such as retirement, entrepreneurship endeavors, higher education costs, home ownership, and/or building a sound financial legacy for our families.

Please do not mistake my intentions. I must admit that it may be possible that there are individual situations where a Rushcard might be appropriate. However, I cannot think of any situations that would be beneficial at this moment. Furthermore, I believe that individuals who do have substantial knowledge about various financial options have a moral obligation to educate consumers about ALL options that are available to them. Mr. Simmons, you and I must continue to take a proactive role in enabling all citizens within our reach to be better suited to make fully informed financial decisions. With these volatile economic times that we face today within this country, America and more specifically our communities deserve that much from us.

I do apologize if any offense was taken from my comments as there was none intended. I am only concerned about the welfare of the people in my community as you are as well. As President of Optimum Capital Management, I have spent the last decade educating people around the world about the importance of being fiscally responsible. As a young, up-and-coming entrepreneur, I started this company to empower my community and fulfill a void that has existed far too long. Since the onset of Optimum I have been featured in Tavis Smiley’s book "The Covenant in Action", profiled in Black Enterprise Magazine, named Tom Joyner’s "Hardest Working Financial Advisor" of the year, and have appeared frequently on major TV networks (GMTV, CNBC, CNN, BET and FOX) discussing the economy and spreading this important message of fiscal responsibility. More important than any exposure that I have received is what continues to drive me and what continues to feed my passion to work on behalf of my communities. I advocate on behalf of those "hard to employ" individuals in my community, those whom we have helped to receive job training and start their own legitimate businesses, the hundreds of teens we have instructed (many of whom are in transitional housing or homeless), those teens who have learned about fiscal responsibility from our programming and now earn money by teaching adults about financial literacy, the many teens under our guide who have gone on to win scholarships (including the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship) and started their own businesses, and the thousands of adults who have expressed their gratitude for the economic empowerment that Optimum Capital Management has instilled within their lives. We should all place a very high premium on intellectual capital and I feel that the American people deserve to be exposed to tangible solutions of empowerment.

This is my field of expertise and I only wanted to share my view to someone such as yourself who has great prominence and influence in the community. I urge you to use this influence, as you have done previously though the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, and speak out against these destructive services that are being offered in our communities: pre-paid debit cards, check cashing facilities, money grams, and all the services which profit by capitalizing on the lack of knowledge in our communities. Making money from ignorance is not the answer…education is the answer and we must provide it. All of our actions must be done for the good of the people and not the good of the pocket. Based on all that you have done for those in our communities, I am certain that you agree.
Regards,

Ryan Mack, President
http://www.optimum-capital.com

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23 Responses to “Ryan Mack to Russell Simmons: Please Stop Selling the Rushcard!”

  1. Anonymous April 15, 2009 at 2:08 am #

    Have you considered the fact that some folks cannot even qualify for a traditional bank card based on poor history?

  2. Martin Cobb April 15, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    Russell and Magic live in a white world so they have to play the game that they play. Why dont someone start a game that blacks own and operate then you can do what you want and not be a puppet for whites.

  3. Aundria April 15, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    Yes, I agree with anonymous.
    There are several “right now” situations that cannot wait for you to fix your credit, and then hopefully apply at a real bank, and be accepted. Alot of times the real banks still want a seven year clean history before they will do business with you.
    These are the kind of situations that make the Rushcard attractive to so many people.

    Thank you for taking the time to make us aware, and to challenge us to look at other options in our community.

  4. marey April 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    so many people view prepaid cards in a bad light without considering what a persons options might be. Ryan Mack, you forgot to include bank overdraft fees in you comparison above: Bank – $30, RushCard – None

  5. jazz April 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    Thank you for calling him out! And you did this so eloquently too! I’ve not been a fan of Russell Simmons at all, I actually think all of his ventures are anything but empowering for the black comnunity. While I’ve never attended his Summit, I feel that he is the worst example of any black leadership. And I completely disagree with the comments from the firt two posts. I have had credit problems in the past and found it challenging to open accounts with the larger banking institutions, but the smaller ones which are also FIDC, will work you and helped you to improve your credit rating over time. And nowadays, they also have low minimums deposits for opening accounts. I have always found it completely disturbing that the black community makes the lowest salaries per capita compared to our counterparts, but we are the first community to spend rather than save. I agree with Mr. Mack’s figures on consumption. I’ve maintained for years that “we are not even in the game yet”. We too superficial. So KUDOS Mr. Mack for laying out the facts. Also, I’ve chosen this same format for my blogsite through wordpress, but I am unable to set it up at all in order for each entry I write about to appear on the screen. How in the world did you get yours to work? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Have a great day.

  6. rtyher April 26, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    Asta Funding (Palisades Collecctions) agreement with subserver Unifund:

    SCHEDULE 1

    SERVICING FEE SCHEDULE

    Servicing Fees relating to Receivables (a) with respect to which the Servicer has not engaged a Subservicer or (b) under the W&A Subservicing Agreement:

    CLASS OF RECEIVABLE

    PERCENTAGE

    Receivables directly being serviced by the Servicer or a Subservicer; provided, for the purposes of clarification, that any Receivable subserviced by a vendor under a Subservicing Agreement, will not be deemed to be directly serviced by the Servicer or a Subservicer

    24
    %

    All Bankrupt Receivables

    50
    %

    All Receivables outside of the related statute of limitations

    50
    %

    All other Receivables

    30
    %

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Servicer will undertake reasonable best efforts to reduce the fee paid to the Subservicer under the W&A Subservicing Agreement by 4%, to the extent W&A utilizes information obtained by the Servicer in connection with the Unifund Servicing Agreement, and, in connection therewith, reduce the corresponding Servicing Fee by such amount.

    Servicing Fees relating to Receivables under the Unifund Subservicing Agreement:

    35% of gross collections (as defined in the master servicing agreement, dated as of March 28, 2008, between the Servicer and Unifund CCR Partners)

    plus $275,000 per month through May 2009, inclusive

    plus 3% of gross cash receipts (as defined in the management agreement), dated as of March 28, 2008, between the Servicer and Unifund CCR Partners) for the first $500,000,000 of gross cash receipts on all Receivables under this Servicing Agreement

    plus 7% of gross cash receipts (as defined in the management agreement), dated as of March 28, 2008, between the Servicer and Unifund CCR Partners) thereafter on all Receivables under this Servicing Agreement

    Servicing Fees relating to Receivables under the Allied Subservicing Agreement, the FMS Subservicing Agreement, the FMS Inc. Subservicing Agreement, the Penncro Subservicing Agreement, the Active Subservicing Agreement, the Constar Subservicing Agreement, the AC Subservicing Agreement and the Plaza Subservicing Agreement:

    50% of gross cash receipts

    Servicing Fees relating to Receivables under the TRAKAmerica Subservicing Agreement:

    For Receivables identified as “recalls”: 32% of gross cash receipts or

    For Receivables identified as “Telecom accounts”: 30% of gross cash receipts for a six-month trial period or

    For all other Receivables, 30% of gross cash receipts plus

    For all Receivables (a) for which a judgment has been rendered within the preceding three years or (b) for which suit had been filed in the preceding twelve months that is in post judgment enforcement, in each case to the extent such Receivable has been closed or recalled from the Subservicer for reasons unrelated to the Subservicer’s breach of or failure to perform under the Subservicing Agreement before payments or promises for payments have been made, a 5% non-contingent fee payable upon such closing or recall

    Gross cash receipts for each Receivable means, for each Subservicing Agreement other than the W&A Subservicing Agreement and the Unifund Servicing Agreement, gross collections on such Receivable net, in the case of the TRAKAmerica Subservicing Agreement, court costs.

    ARTICLE III

    ADMINISTRATION AND SERVICING OF RECEIVABLES

    Section 3.1 Servicer to Act as Servicer of Receivables. The Servicer shall service, manage and administer the Receivables on behalf of the Borrower and the Collateral Agent (for the benefit of the Secured Parties) and shall have full power and authority, acting alone and/or through Subservicers as provided in Section 4.01 , to do any and all things that it may deem reasonably necessary or desirable in connection with such servicing and administration and that do not violate any of the material terms of this Servicing Agreement or the Accepted Servicing Practices. Consistent with the terms of this Servicing Agreement and the Accepted Servicing Practices, the Servicer may waive, modify or vary any term of any Receivable or consent to the postponement of strict compliance with any such term or in any manner, grant indulgence to any Obligor under a Receivable if, in the Servicer’s reasonable determination, such waiver, modification, postponement or indulgence is not adverse to the interests of the Borrower, the Collateral Agent or any of the Secured Parties. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Servicer in its own name or in the name of the Borrower is hereby authorized and empowered by the Borrower when the Servicer believes it appropriate in its best judgment to execute and deliver, on behalf of the Borrower, any and all instruments of satisfaction or cancellation, or of partial or full release or discharge and all other comparable instruments, with respect to the Receivables.

    The Servicer shall service, manage and administer the Receivables in accordance with applicable law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1968, as amended, and comparable state statutes, and by employing such procedures (including collection procedures) and degree of care, in each case as are customarily employed by the Servicer in servicing, managing and administering contracts owned or serviced by the Servicer comparable to the Receivables. The Servicer shall take all actions that are necessary or desirable to maintain continuous perfection of security interests granted by the Obligors in any collateral securing the Receivables, including, but not limited to, recording, registering, giving notice, obtaining consents, filing, re-recording, re-registering and refiling security agreements, financing

    statements, continuation statements, notices, recordings or communications with court or other instruments as are necessary to maintain the security interest granted by the Obligors under the respective Receivables or as are required to perfect any Transfer of the Receivable Assets. The Servicer shall comply at all times in all material respects with the Accepted Servicing Practices and shall not take any action to impair the Collateral Agent’s security interest in any Receivable or related collateral, if any, except to the extent allowed under this Servicing Agreement, consistent with Accepted Servicing Practices or required by law.

    The Servicer shall, at its expense, make, procure, execute and deliver such financing statement or statements, or amendments thereof or supplements thereto, or other instruments, certificates and supplemental writings, and do and deliver all acts, things, writings and assurances as necessary in order to comply with the UCC, or any other applicable law, to preserve and protect the security interest granted under the Transaction Documents and the priority of such security interest.

    The Servicer may perform any of its duties pursuant to this Servicing Agreement, including those delegated to it pursuant to this Servicing Agreement, through Subservicers appointed by the Servicer, including Affiliates of the Servicer; provided , that, in each such delegation to a Subservicer: (i) such Subservicing Agreement shall be entered into in accordance with Section 4.01 ; and (ii) the Administrator, the Lender and the Collateral Agent shall have the right to look solely to the Servicer for performance. Notwithstanding any such delegation of a duty, the Servicer shall remain obligated and liable for the performance of such duty as if the Servicer were performing such duty. No later than June 30, 2008, each Subservicer shall agree in writing, to the extent not provided for in a Subservicing Agreement, to the following terms, in form reasonably acceptable to the Administrator: (i) following the termination of the servicing by the Servicer hereunder, the Collateral Agent may, at its option, (y) become, or appoint, an assignee under such Subservicing Agreement or (z) after no more than thirty (30) days prior written notice to the Subservicer, terminate the Subservicer under the related Subservicing Agreement (other than under the W&A Subservicing Agreement, except in connection with a Subservicer Termination Event (as defined therein), or under the Unifund Subservicing Agreement, except in connection with a Servicer Event of Default (as defined therein)) with respect to the Receivables other than Exempted Receivables, (ii) the Subservicer shall deposit all Collections received by such Subservicer directly into the Collection Account or an account designated in writing by the Administrator to the Servicer and the Subservicer, and the Subservicer will not, without the prior written consent of the Administrator, follow the instructions of the Servicer with respect to the depositing of Collections, (iii) the Subservicer will, upon the request of the Collateral Agent, deliver to the Collateral Agent information with respect to the Receivables as reasonably requested and (iv) the Subservicer shall agree to provide the Administrator with the same audit and inspection rights provided to the Servicer and its lenders under the related Subservicing Agreement.

    The Servicer may take such actions as are necessary to discharge its duties as the Servicer in accordance with this Servicing Agreement, including the power to execute and deliver on behalf of the Borrower such instruments and documents as may be customary, necessary or desirable in connection with the performance of the Servicer’s duties under this Servicing Agreement (including consents, waivers and discharges relating to the Receivables and related collateral, if any, and such instruments or documents as may be necessary to effect liquidation of

    ARTICLE IV

    SUBSERVICERS

    Section 4.1 Subservicing Agreements Between Servicer and the Subservicers. The Servicer, with the prior written consent of the Administrator (if such Subservicing Agreement is with a Subservicer other than each Subservicer listed on Schedule 2 hereto, as amended or supplemented from time to time with the prior written consent of the Administrator), may enter into Subservicing Agreements with one or more Subservicers for the servicing and administration of some or all of the Receivables. References in this Servicing Agreement to actions taken or to be taken by the Servicer in servicing the Receivables include actions taken or to be taken by a Subservicer on behalf of the Servicer. Each Subservicing Agreement shall provide for each Subservicer to service the related Receivables in accordance with Accepted Servicing Practices; provided, that no Subservicing Agreement shall provide for the servicing of Receivables on terms and conditions that would result in the failure of the Servicer to comply with the terms and conditions of this Servicing Agreement (including the modifications set forth on Schedule 2 hereto, as may be amended from time to time) in any material respect. Each Subservicer may hire third party vendors, provided that such Subservicers remain at all times in compliance with the related Subservicing Agreement. The Servicer hereby acknowledges that it is holding the Receivable Files and any other items of the Collateral in its possession from time to time for the related Receivables as bailee of Borrower and the Collateral Agent (for the benefit of the Secured Parties) in accordance with Section 3.03 .

    Section 4.2 Obligation of Servicer. Notwithstanding any Subservicing Agreement, any of the provisions of this Servicing Agreement relating to agreements or arrangements between the Servicer or a Subservicer or reference to actions taken through a Subservicer or otherwise, the Servicer shall remain obligated to the Borrower and the Collateral Agent for the servicing, managing and administering of the Receivables in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.01 without diminution of such obligation or liability by virtue of such Subservicing Agreements or arrangements or by virtue of indemnification from a Subservicer and to the same extent and under the same terms and conditions as if the Servicer alone were servicing, managing and administering the Receivables. The Servicer shall be entitled to enter into any agreement with a Subservicer for indemnification of the Servicer and nothing contained in this Servicing Agreement shall be deemed to limit or modify such indemnification.

    Section 4.3 No Contractual Relationship Between a Subservicer and Borrower or Collateral Agent. Any Subservicing Agreement that may be entered into and any other

    transactions or services relating to the Receivables involving a Subservicer in its capacity as such and not as an originator shall be deemed to be between a Subservicer and the Servicer alone and the Borrower and the Collateral Agent shall not be deemed parties thereto and shall have no claims, rights, obligations, duties or liabilities with respect to a Subservicer except as set forth in Section 4.04 .

    Section 4.4 Assumption or Termination of Subservicing Agreement by Collateral Agent. In the event the Servicer shall for any reason no longer be the servicer of the Receivables (including by reason of a Servicer Termination Event), the successor Servicer shall, at the direction of the Administrator, in accordance with Section 3.01 : (i) assume all of the rights and obligations of the Servicer under one or more Subservicing Agreements that may have been entered into by giving notice of such assumption to the related Subservicer or Subservicers within ten (10) Business Days of the termination of the Servicer as servicer of the Receivables or (ii) except with respect to Exempted Receivables, terminate all of the rights and obligations of any Subservicer under the related Subservicing Agreement. Upon the giving of such notice, the successor Servicer shall be deemed to have assumed all of the Servicer’s interest therein and to have replaced the Servicer as a party to the Subservicing Agreement to the same extent as if the Subservicing Agreement had been assigned to the assuming party except that the Servicer and the Subservicer, if any, shall not thereby be relieved of any accrued liability or obligations under the Subservicing Agreement and the Subservicer, if any, shall not be relieved of any liability or obligation to the Servicer that survives the assignment or termination of the Subservicing Agreement.

    The predecessor Servicer shall, upon request of the successor Servicer (at the expense of the predecessor Servicer), deliver to the assuming party all documents and records relating to the Subservicing Agreement and the Receivables then being serviced and an accounting of amounts collected and held by it and otherwise use its best efforts to effect the orderly and efficient transfer of the Subservicing Agreement to the assuming party.

    ARTICLE V

    SERVICER TERMINATION EVENT

    Section 5.1 Servicer Termination Event. “Servicer Termination Event,” wherever used herein, means any one of the following events:

    (i) the Servicer shall fail, or fail to cause any Subservicer, to deposit all amounts required to be deposited in the Collection Account by the Servicer or Subservicer when required to be deposited under this Servicing Agreement and such failure shall continue unremedied for 1 Business Day after the Servicer has knowledge or notice thereof, other than with respect to administrative errors not to exceed $10,000 of Collections in any Collection Period for which such grace period shall be 5 Business Days after the Servicer has knowledge or notice thereof; or

    (ii) the Servicer shall fail to observe or perform in any material respect any other of the covenants or agreements on the part of the Servicer contained in this Servicing

    Agreement or any other Transaction Document to which it is a party and such failure shall continue unremedied for a period of twenty (20) days after the Servicer has knowledge or notice thereof;

    (iii) a decree or order of a court or agency or supervisory authority having jurisdiction in the premises in an involuntary case under any present or future federal or state bankruptcy, insolvency or similar law or appointing a conservator or receiver or liquidator in any insolvency, readjustment of debt, marshaling of assets and liabilities or similar proceedings, or for the winding-up or liquidation of its affairs, shall have been entered against the Servicer;

    (iv) the Servicer shall consent to the appointment of a conservator or receiver or liquidator in any insolvency, readjustment of debt, marshaling of assets and liabilities or similar proceedings of, or relating to, the Servicer or of, or relating to, all or substantially all of the property of the Servicer;

    (v) the Servicer shall admit in writing its inability to pay its debts generally as they become due, file a petition to take advantage of, or commence a voluntary case under, any applicable insolvency or reorganization statute, make an assignment for the benefit of its creditors, or voluntarily suspend payment of its obligations;

    (vi) the Servicer shall have breached any of the representations and warranties set forth in Section 2.01 in any material respect and the Servicer shall have failed to cure such breach within ten (10) days of its receipt of a notice of such breach;

    (vii) a Change in Control shall have occurred with respect to the Servicer (if Palisades Collection is the Servicer);

    (viii) (a) the amendment of any Subservicing Agreement without the prior written consent of the Administrator or (b) the Servicer or Borrower enters into a new Subservicing Agreement with respect to the Receivables without the written consent of the Administrator;

    (ix) an Event of Default (as defined in the Loan Agreement) has occurred under such facility which has not been waived prior to termination of the rights of the Servicer under this Servicing Agreement; or

    (x) a Termination Event shall have occurred under the Receivables Financing Agreement.

    If a Servicer Termination Event shall occur (which has not been waived), then, and in each and every such case, the Administrator may, by notice in writing to the Servicer (with a copy to the Borrower and the Collateral Agent), terminate all of the rights and obligations of the Servicer under this Servicing Agreement and in and to the Servicer’s interest in and to the

  7. Kathy April 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Russell Simmons has been and still is a HUGE asset to the black community. If he’s not offended by these comment, rest assured I am. Not only myself but many others. Just do an internet search.

    1. His early work in the Hip Hop community not only created wealth for himself, but enormous possibilities and avenues of income for others within the community. Depending on when you were born and where you are from, you may not have witnessed the growth in the community. Keep in mind it did not help all. However his work paved a way for many African Americans to enter the entertainment industry, especially since, the Motown Era, funk, etc was at a stand still for African American musicians and entertainers.

    2. His idea to launch Def Comedy Jam, created, once again, ENORMOUS possibilities and wealth for African American Comedians. It did not help ALL. And, he’s not a comedian. However his idea to promote Def Comedy Jam, brought many out of the one night gig comedy bars to mainstream viewed by millions.

    Now in regards to the Rush Card. The Rush Card is not for everyone. His intentions was to help the underpriviledged. You would not understand it unless you are underpriviledged. The commercial banks and credit unions have outstanding fees that can eat up a person’s check especially if they live from check to check. They intentionally keep transactions pending and some will not even show which transactions are pending. The overdraft protection that is provided for the underpriviledged is a huge Overdraft Fee ranging from $30 to $50. Unless you have X amount deposited in your account, there is a maintenance fee. No matter what bank you go to there will be fees associated.

    Once again his intentions were to help those who have fewer options. If you are not one of these, then yes the Rush Card may not benefit you. However, thank you Russell Simmons for remembering those who are sometimes forgotten.

    Ryan Mack, since your expertise is in finances, perhaps you can further empower the community. Russell Simmons has found a way to help us manage our funds. Show us how to move to the next step.

    • yoy50 May 3, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

      Kathy–

      I’m not sure what banks you’re referring to, but when i was struggling, the minimum to open that account (at a small FDIC branch) was $20. monthly fees were $1.50. there are additional fees if you were to use an ATM at any other location than the originating banks, but that’s a good incentive to exercise discipline. Agreed, that overdrafts are expensive (another incentive to exercise self-discipline IMO). I can truly relate to ‘living paycheck to paycheck’– been there done that. What i know for certain is some black people “don’t do without”, even when they can’t afford it. by that i mean, getting their hair/nails done and other irresponsible behaviors. you are not born with bad credit, you create the bad credit by being irresponsible. i would not point a finger had i not gone through that stage in my life. i know that i was irresponsible back then.

      Russell may have started out a great inspiration, (Run DMC, Def Jam) but after that, i can only see how he is manipulating the black community with his so called ‘ventures’. and def jam was not necessarily his idea, but he was the first one with the capital to fund such a project. and his clothing line, for example is not affordable to the average underpaid hard working black person, yet, they are finding ways to buy his products. my thing is this; why would anyone pay to spend their own money? i’d almost turn the other cheek if the only charge associated with his card was a nominal one time fee to activitate it, but he’s treating it the same way as a bank.

      I hope russell does see my post here, because i think he’s a snake and a sell out. he certainly is not sharing any of his wealth with a sister that’s for sure (where’s the love of the black community in that?) your defense on his behalf is astonishing. he’s the worst version of Robin Hood, he robs from the poor and gives to the rich-those white (too young for him) girlfriends. Don’t misunderstand that statement though, I have no problem with interracial dating, but I loathe it when black men will exclude black women completely. That 24 year black girlfriend he had a while back doesn’t count IMO, because she was young enough to be his child. He obviously doesn’t have anything to offer a woman his own age, except his money.

      that rushcard is no different than the Rent A Center scam that black people buy into. Rent a computer (an example) for 20 dollars per week with a year contract. while you’re thinking that’s a good deal, you’ve actually paid over $1,040 (and that’s a conservative figure because i’m not including your late fees, and anything else they will dream up to charge you for) for a USED computer. the self disciplined person will set aside that 20 dollars on their own for however long it takes and buy a new computer (eventually) instead. it’s called delayed gratification. but unfortunately, lots of black people have never been introduced to that concept.

      I believe that Mr. Mack did provided sound information and options for people to look into. your logic, escapes me so i had to respond to it. Mr. Mack– keep doing what you’re doing and reach those who will listen–i learned a long time ago, you can’t help everyone.

  8. James April 29, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    Ryan Mack,

    I read your report and findings and I feel the same way you do.
    People should try to work with the smaller FDIC Banks, Credit Unions are also good to help build your credit.

    Russell Simmons is quick to jump on any new fad or opportunity to sell to the “Hip-Hop” or younger generation folks.

    I believe Russell Simmons also sold Telephone Cards when they were hot, and he may still sell them.

    The Fees Russell Has on the Rush Cards are very high. It would be great if Russell Simmons offered the Rush Cards for Free with no Fees in any way. Now this would be giving something back to the Community and it would not hurt Russell’s wealth in any way.

    I don’t have a credit problem because I save my money and I do not buy expensive cars, watch’s, and Toys I don’t need. I have a Visa, MasterCard & American Express mostly for traveling but they do come in handy for purchases.

    I noticed one person on the other site complained The Banks gave them all the credit they wanted, and increased thier credit limits etc. Well, that’s not the Banks fault, the person was spending money they did not have. I carry a Zero balance on all my cards, if I don’t have the money I don’t buy things. My car is a 2000, nine years old. But the car is like brand new with low miles on it. I don’t buy 20,000.00 rims and expensive loud music systems that will only give you hearing problems when you get older.

    It’s not a Black or White Problem, it’s a Common Sense Problem. Don’t buy things you cannot afford.

    I bought my first house at 17 years old as a Sienor in High School for 23,000.00. The house was a dump, as it was built in the late 1800’s with no heat, and the entire house had to be gutted and all new utilities installed in the home. I saved 10,000.00 to buy the home from delivering newspapers and cutting grass and shoveling snow in the winter. it took me 5 years to fix the house as I did it room by room. I stripped the old plaster and lathe off the inside walls, I vacuumed all the dust out the home, installed new wiring, plumbing, alarm wires, stereo wires, then I insulated the walls with the Pink Owens Corning Fiberglass, then I installed Tyvek, then I installed the Sheetrock. I then installed Crown Moldings and Chair Railings & baseboard. My Bedroom was first, then the other bedroom and on an on. Well, I still own that house and it’s just as nice as it was when I lived there. I rent the home for extra income.

    When I first got the house all my friends laughed at me, when the house was finished they all wanted to be my roommate. I always lived alone and had all the privacy with my girlfriends.

    A home is the best thing you can ever buy. Forget the Lambo, Rolls Royce and all the other expensive toys you see many Rappers buying, the home is the best thing you will ever buy. learn how to fix and repair homes and you will be on your way to financial freedom.

    And I ask all the people who say Russell Simmons is showing you how to manage your funds? You will always be a follower and not a leader.
    Ryan Mack is a leader in my eyes and I have never met him.

    Ask Russell Simmons if he would ever check into a Hotel with his friends using a Rush Card? Of course he is going to say he uses it because he is selling them now, but his Black Card American Express is the Card he likes to flash.

    I don’t need Russell Simmons, Richard Simmons or anyone else to show me how to manage my money. Most people have such little money to manage how hard can it be? Even telephones have calculators in them if you cannot do math in your head.

    And Bank of America has low balance accounts that have no fees.

    I cannot believe some people feel they need a successful multi-millionaire to tell them how to spend and manage their money.

    If Russell was giving the Rush Cards with no fees I would applaud him, but I feel Russell is taking advantage of people who want to look cool flipping plastic when they can’t even balance a check book.

    I believe people who buy the Rush Card just want to “Fit-In” and look cool. Many of them have several Phat Farm Shirts in the closet I’m sure.

    That’s all I got to say about that,
    Self-Made Businessman 50 years old.
    _________________________________

    Quote:
    Russell Simmons has been and still is a HUGE asset to the black community.
    _________________________________

    Russell Simmons is fueling his Leased NetJets Gulfstream Jet with your RushCard Money.

    It’s more like You are a huge Asset to Russell Simmons…

    Keep giving Russell your money, he needs another marble toilet in his home.

    • yoy50 May 3, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

      THANK YOU JAMES— i found myself a little enraged by reading some of these comments. it bothers me that i have to say this, but some black people will never understand how much they are not even in the game! huge asset my ass! the person above your comment, simply blew me away with her thinking therefore i replied to it. but it’s good to see that there are some right thinking black folks out there. right on “self-made businessman”, right on!

  9. James May 4, 2009 at 1:41 am #

    Ryan Mack & yoy50,

    People who feel the RushCard is good for them more power to them.

    The line on the banner that says, “Start Your Journey toward building Credit” is very misleading and just not true.

    This card does not build credit from what I read and is not much different than the Debit Cards you can buy in Stores, Like the Visa 50.00 cards etc.

    There are going to be many more disappointed users than a satisfied customer base.

    • yoy50 May 5, 2009 at 5:17 am #

      Hello James– i totally agree! I didn’t realize that his promotional tag is “Start Your Journey toward building Credit”. Doesn’t that fall under false advertising? He should be held accountable for that misleading statement.

      thanks for the reply too. check out my blogsite at yoy50.wordpress.com one day. We’re just getting started, but we’re attempting to get some important dialogues going. tell us what you think!

      have a great day

  10. kudt May 4, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    Ultimately, there is one man and his three sons that are responsible for inflicting finical pain and suffering on over one million families in America: Bernard D. Zises (Ben) and Sons Jay, Selig and Seymour. Ben and his sons ran Integrated Resources, a real estate investment trust. Small-time investors put their life savings into a scheme that let the investor use a tax depreciation on commercial real estate, and at the same time, get capital gains when the investment matured and was sold. The company was privately held by the Zises family.

    But, they got wind of pending changes to the tax laws that would put them out of business. So, what’s a nice Jewish family to do? How about go public and sell the business to a couple of thousand suckers! Yeah, they can get their good friend Michael Milken to sell securities in Integrated Resources, just before the company becomes completely worthless. Bernard Zises and his three sons became filthy rich, and investors were out $995 million dollars.

    Ben, what would your Mother Fanny, Father Samuel, and older brother Louis say to you if they could see you today? Would brothers and sisters Sidney, Rose, Ida, Peppie and David be ashamed to meet you again? You are about to meet them all again, and for eternity. Will you have to explain yourself and the suffering you have caused? Did your wife Ruth have to explain for you already when she met her maker?
    Ben, have you been a good human being? Did you leave the world a better place than when you entered it? What will the ghostly members of the basketball team from Thomas Jefferson High School, or your spirited alum of Long Island University have to say:”….guilty, of crimes against humanity”?
    But, you sons have done so much better than you at inflicting finical pain and suffering. They have a very good teacher, Dad. Your son Seymour runs Forest Hill Capital a.k.a. Family Management Corp. where he has lost millions of investor’s money by investing with Bernie Madoff. I’ll bet Seymour figured out an angle to end up with the money as a result of this suffering too.

    Better yet, all three sons are the founding principles of Unifund CCR partners, a vicious collection agency. This year, Unifund will sue 160,000 families for credit card debt. Many families will be sued for cards they never owned. Even more will be sued, and never know about it until their wages are garnished, their bank account is cleaned out or the Sheriff sells the family home. This is an exceptionally profitable business. A face value account of say $8000 can be bought for less than $400, and yield a default judgment in excess of $20,000. And, since the tax laws treat purchased debit proceeds the same as loss recovery mitigation, the profits are mostly not reportable and tax free! Woopie!!!!

    The industry is full of illegal activity all the way up to the corporate management level. Unifund has a contract with Asta Funding a.k.a. Palisades Collections that rewards Unifund CCR Partners with a premium commission for collecting “…outside the relative statute of limitations”. I am sure the Zises Brothers have multiple offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Isle of Man, Isle of White and various South China Sea banks. They must be using their accounts with the Israeli Discount Bank on 5th avenue, which has a branch in the Cayman Islands, as a vehicle to get the unreported Unifund proceeds out of the country.

    Ben, I think there are a lot of people that want their money back. The first thing they should do is to send you a demand letter:

    Bernard D. Zises

    72 Estates Ter N.

    Manhasset, NY 11030

    (516) 484-0887

    Or

    Bernard D. Zises

    2201 Christy Ln
    Oldsmar, FL 34677

    (727) 789-4211.

    If you cannot find him there, try the house of his son Seymour:

    Seymour W. Zises

    1016 5th Ave.

    New York, NY 10028

    (212) 535-7734

    Or

    Seymour W. Zises

    71 Jefferson Blvd

    Atlantic Beach, NY 11509

    (516) 239-3576

    If you cannot find him there, try the house of his son Jay:

    Jay H. Zises

    965 5th Ave., #10B

    New York, NY

    (212) 879-0212

    Or

    Jay H. Zises

    639 Ocean Rd

    Bridgehampton, NY 11932

    (631) 537-5628

    Or

    Jay H. Zises

    106 Old Orchard Rd

    Palm Beach, FL 33480

    (561) 588-9700

    If you cannot find him there, try the house of his son Selig:

    Selig A. Zises

    988 5th Ave., #9

    New York, NY

    (212) 772-6460

    (212) 593-6700

    Or

    Selig A. Zises

    760 Sagg Main St

    Sagaponack, NY 11962

    (631) 537-0537

    Or

    Selig A. Zises

    3035 Countryside Blvd #35B

    Clearwater, FL 34621

    (813)796-8922

  11. James May 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    Kudt,

    I live in Palm Beach, FL and there is no Old Orchard Rd., it does not exists. Are you sure all your facts are correct?

    All these big-wig people are involved in so many deals, this is a perfect reason to deal with an Established Bank or Company when looking into a Debit or Credit Card, instead of putting your money in a “Start-Up” RushCard Company with no Track-Record or History. Don’t be a Guinea Pig, be the Bear and invest in Solid Institutions with FDIC Backing.

  12. luyfoufgyo May 5, 2009 at 3:14 am #

    Seems to me like Representative Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY) has some explaining to do.
    Records – reported on http://www.r8ny.com, a New York City political Web site – show Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) accepted a “personal loan” last year for as much as $100,000 from Selig Zises, a large investor in a California-based company that Ackerman called Xenonics Options. However, Ackerman, who denies any improprieties, said the alleged loan was actually a sale of stock that he accidentally misreported.
    “I no longer have it,” Ackerman said yesterday. “I sold it off a couple weeks back.”

    On March 9, 2002, Ackerman, a senior member on the International Relations Committee, purchased between $1,001 to $15,000 of stock in Xenonics, which is today valued at between $100,000 and $250,000, according to financial records.
    The 12th-term lawmaker said he decided to invest in Xenonics – a name he said he doesn’t even know how to pronounce – after a suggestion from Zises, whom he described as a friend.

    The U.S. Army awarded the company a $2.98 million contract a year later to manufacture night-vision equipment. Ackerman said he played no role in steering federal dollars to Xenonics.

    Within two years of his initial investment, Ackerman’s stake in Xenonics Options had ballooned to as much as $1 million.
    Why Xenonics? The answer can probably be found in Ackerman’s close ties to the Zises family, one of New York’s uber-Likudniks. Since 1990, the Zises family Bernard, Seymour, Selig & Jay, contributed at least $30,000 of Unifund CCR Partner proceeds (a vicious collection agency that will sue 160,000 Americans for Credit Card Default this year) to Ackerman’s campaign coffers.
    How close are Ackerman and the Zises? Close enough apparently for Ackerman to have made a statement on the House floor last year in celebration of patriarch Bernard Zises’s 90th birthday, and another upon the death of the Zises family matriarch, Ruth Zises . That’s right: a statement on the House floor.

  13. Tyrone Pritchett May 5, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Seems like people are using this thread to cry about other Rip-Offs.
    Thou not off topic too much, this is about the rip-off Rushcard and the Fees with Fleas.

    They call it the RushCard because when you get the Monthly Bill, You Get A Rush to the brain! When the monthly fees cost as much as the RushCard , people will stop using it right away.

    Russell Simmons and his Money grubb’in wife need more materialistic possessions like Louis Vuitton HandBags more shoes, more bodyguards & Limos, more flashly things to impress people.

    if Russell truly wanted to help the Black Community he would invest in Free Heath Care Mobile Bus units and drive to inner cities and help people with basic needs. Simple things like band-aids & Neosporin, small wound care, and other related help.

  14. kugfkgh May 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Correction:
    Jay Zises
    106 Old Orchard Rd
    Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
    (561) 588-9700

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Predatory Lending in the Black Community « Dr Boyce’s Finance Class - April 16, 2009

    […] talked to my good friend Ryan Mack, CEO of Optimum Capital Management, the other day. Ryan wrote an interesting piece about The Rushcard, a new prepaid debit card offered in a partnership between Russell Simmons and Unifund, a company […]

  2. Predatory Lending in the Black Community « Dr. Boyce Personal Finance - April 16, 2009

    […] talked to my good friend Ryan Mack, CEO of Optimum Capital Management, the other day. Ryan wrote an interesting piece about The Rushcard, a new prepaid debit card offered in a partnership between Russell Simmons and Unifund, a company […]

  3. Why Financial Predators Usually Have Black Prey « African American Money - April 18, 2009

    […] talked to my good friend Ryan Mack, CEO of Optimum Capital Management, the other day. Ryan wrote an interesting piece about The Rushcard, a new prepaid debit card offered in a partnership between Russell Simmons and Unifund, a company […]

  4. Black Money: Why Financial Predators Usually Have Black Prey « Black Public Scholars - April 18, 2009

    […] talked to my good friend Ryan Mack, CEO of Optimum Capital Management, the other day. Ryan wrote an interesting piece about The Rushcard, a new prepaid debit card offered in a partnership between Russell Simmons and Unifund, a company […]

  5. Black Money: Predatory Lending in the Black Community - YoungBlackMoney.com - April 18, 2009

    […] talked to my good friend Ryan Mack, CEO of Optimum Capital Management, the other day. Ryan wrote an interesting piece about The Rushcard, a new prepaid debit card offered in a partnership between Russell Simmons and Unifund, a company […]

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