Midland Funding Gets Mentioned in John Oliver’s HBO ShowJune 6, 2016 | By: Sean Murray
The infamous Midland Funding you might know from the Madden v Midland case, was mentioned on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and not in the best context. Midland is a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, the largest publicly traded debt buyer in the United States and the episode was about the not-always-peachy world of debt buying and debt collection.
Oliver referenced Midland just to provide background on an industry as a whole, not to imply that they were involved in anything negative.
More background was added by Jake Halpern, the author of Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld, who explained that the sale of debt from one party to another is not always done using the most sophisticated means, with it often being simply a list of fields on an Excel spreadsheet.
Oliver, who took his research to the extreme, actually set up his own debt collection company in Mississippi and purchased $15 million worth of debt that was aged beyond the statutory collections period for the bargain price of $60,000. Rather than try to collect on the debt, which he mentioned would not have been illegal, he decided to forgive the debt entirely and set the record for TV’s largest monetary giveaway in the process.
Oliver was careful to remind viewers throughout that while there are a few bad seeds and horror stories, the industry itself is regulated and is not illegal. You can watch the episode below:
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, a 10-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.