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Insensitive Ad in the Western Addition Insults Renters

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Curious banking ad seems tone deaf to the plight facing many longtime residents

Another bit of questionable ad copy rears it head, this time on a San Francisco bus shelter. Financial lending company Social Finance, Inc. (aka SoFi), founded by four Stanford Business School grads in 2011, approved an ad that reads: "10% Down. Because You're Too Smart to Rent."

Granted, the ad is meant to grab the attention of those who can afford to plunk down a good chunk of change for real estate in San Francisco or the greater Bay Area. And while buying is definitely a wiser investment than renting, not everybody in San Francisco—a historically growth-stubborn city facing rampant gentrification and skyrocketing home prices, which has led to an almost insurmountable housing crisis—is lucky enough to do so.

Also of note: The ad is in the Western Addition, a neighborhood that, like the Mission or Bayview, has succumbed to mass evictions and subsequent culture change. Ad copy like this can't be a pleasant reminder for residents, longtime or otherwise.

In 2015, Airbnb approved a series of flippant ads in San Francisco that backfired, forcing the tech company to issue an apology.

Curbed SF reached out to Social Finance for comment. We'll update as soon as we hear more.