A recent exposé on the trucking industry in California, “Rigged: Forced into Debt. Worked Past Exhaustion. Left with Nothing.” by USA Today, brought to light deeply concerning and exploitative practices by some truck companies. In addition to a range of harmful labor practices, the report also uncovers predatory financial practices in which drivers were forced into costly lease-to-own contracts or risk losing their jobs. In many cases, (and often due to company policies) the drivers were unable to keep up with truck payments and lost both their livelihood and down payment at the same time. These practices damaged not only the economic well-being of many truck drivers but also their basic human rights.
At Opportunity Fund, we care deeply about both human dignity and financial wellness. We also care deeply about truckers—nearly one-third of the loans we made last year were to truck drivers purchasing or improving their vehicles. Our trucking clients are primarily low-income men of color, similar to the drivers profiled in the exposé.
We serve people like Mo, a long-haul truck driver based in Concord, CA. He’s been driving trucks for over two decades, ever since emigrating from Sudan. With a loan from Opportunity Fund, Mo was able to become his own boss, buying a used truck and driving for himself rather than a company. Mo came back to Opportunity Fund for a second and then a third loan to buy used refrigerators for his trailers, enabling him to haul cold and frozen foods which earn a 40% premium on dry goods.
“Nobody wants lend to a trucker! But Opportunity Fund did. You guys have quite a name now among all us truckers. It means the world to know that you’re supporting the little guys like us.”
– Mo, “Opportunity Funded” and self-employed trucker from Concord, CA
Labor, health, and safety laws must be upheld for the health and well-being of the drivers themselves as well as all of us who share the roads with them. At the same time, we believe that when given responsible (rather than predatory) financing, self-employed truckers can earn a decent living and provide for their families, all while moving essential goods around our state and nation. Opportunity Fund is proud to serve small business owners of all sorts—including hard working truckers.
If you know a California-based trucker looking for affordable, responsible financing, please send them our way.