NEW YORK–A new TV news program from the New York Times that is airing on FX and on Hulu highlights all of the problems around taxi medallion loans in one of its first episodes.
Called “The Weekly,” a trailer for the program announces, “This is Mohammad Hossain. He drives a taxi seven days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day. And he takes home $25, 000 a year–if he’s lucky. And for that privilege he owes the bank three quarters of a million dollars. And there are thousands like him.”
The medallion on which Hossain owes all that money is valued at approximately $150,000.
While the lender on Hossain’s taxi medallion isn’t mentioned in the trailer for the new program, the episode is based on extensive reporting the New York Times has done and continues to do on the crash of the taxi medallion industry, including the role credit unions and NCUA played. A half-dozen taxi medallion credit unions have failed at a cost to the NCUSIF of nearly three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars. CUToday.info has complete coverage here.
The episode features reporters Brian Rosenthal and Emma Fitzsimmons.
“Our reporters investigating the taxi industry for The Weekly found that a group of under-regulated industry leaders created a financial bubble in the market for medallions, the permits that let drivers own their own cab,” the Times said in describing the new program. “Bankers, brokers, fleet owners and even city officials artificially inflated the prices of medallions and reaped huge profits by steering immigrant drivers into reckless loans.”
For a preview, go here.