had an interesting conversation with a gentleman today while i was gathering signatures for Montana’s Initiative petition for Pay Day lending regulation I-164. the guy signed my petition and then told me he really needed a job but when a payday lender called him back on an application and offered him a job, he turned it down. this guy told me he needed to be able to sleep at night. he told me that “those loan sharks are just too evil to work for. no matter how broke i am, i couldn’t do that to people.”
this cycle of payday loan sharking traps people into debt they can never get out of. almost 80% of the customers of pay day lenders are repeated loans which are churned over and over again for massive profits and they further impoverish the already stressed out working poor in montana. read more about this industry here and help us pass I-164 to cap the interest rates for these type of loans to 36%.
because it is about time somebody put the brakes on payday lenders and vehicle title lenders in this country. President Obama promised he would fix this and we who work among the poor in trying to lessen their suffering sure wish somebody would. our most vulnerable citizens – the marginally poor workers and the underpaid workers in america are being preyed upon and their hope is being devoured by the interest rates these demonic businesses charge. imagine paying 25.00 for a 100 dollar loan for two weeks! that is the allowable charge under montana state law (a whopping 650% interest rate!)
the pathetic legislature in montana failed to muster enough moral gumption to pass a law protecting our most vulnerable citizens during the current legislative session from these slime devils but fortunately Senator Durbin of Illinois has introduced S 500 in the US senate which should alleviate this scourge from our midst.
rest assured i will be tracking the progress of S 500 as it wends its way through congress. let’s all hope this ends the enslavement of our most vulnerable workers in america and soon!
another fine group working on this is called work forward. it looks like a decent organization with doable goals. give it a look.
Arizona and Ohio voters resoundingly defeat payday lenders. tide is turning accross the nation as the american public becomes aware of the diabolical greed and the huge cost of these loans that is destroying families caught in the pay day lending trap.
payday loans prey on the most vulnerable during economic difficulties and it is time for Montana to pass legislation regulating these businesses. from seniors to newlyweds, anyone with a checking account and a job or social security benefits can walk into these places and get up to 300.00 instantly. all they have to do is postdate a check for their next payday and make it out for 375.00. easy money right? it is, but anything that easy has to carry a big stinger. what happens if your upcoming paycheck in two weeks is too small to cover the check you wrote? you have two choices. let the check bounce, in which case the lender can and will prosecute you for writing a bad check and you will go to jail or at the very least pay a lot of fines and attorney fees or, you can pay the 75.00 interest each month and have them “rollover” the loan again and again. the typical payday loan consumer does this rollover 10 months or more. thus paying $1500.00 for the original loan of $300.00. that same $300.00 loan if not paid within the year would cost you $1950.00- this is an interest rate of 650%!!!
what is the difference between payday loans and vehicle title loans or pawn shops? the difference is with a pawn shop or vehicle title loan you risk losing an asset like a rifle or diamond ring or a vehicle if you do not pay. this is fairly well understood and while pawning items and losing title to a vehicle can be painful, at least the loan is resolved and does not go on into perpetuity like a payday loan which traps the consumer every two weeks into insane interest rates. that is the insidious nature of this business, it traps the consumer in an endless cycle of debt that many people can never escape.
there are groups accross montana interested in introducing legislation in the next montana state legislative session which convenes on Jan 5, 2009 (less than two months away) there is already a group in billings working on it and they have already begun to garner support from both parties on this important issue of curbing payday lenders and regulating this business so that the terms are more fair for the consumer.
43 states accross america have already passed legislation to regulate this industry. Oregon, Ohio, and Colorado have managed to do this with both republican and democratic support. Montana should pass similar legislation and with strong leadership from both parties this session it can be done. these groups need our support and they need people willing to testify about their personal ordeals with payday lenders or about ordeals that friends and family members may have had. since this is early in the process i would like to invite anyone who has any dealings with payday loan lenders to share with us your story on this blog. you don’t have to give us your name and we will not ever divulge identities to anyone. but, we need your stories about payday lending and would invite you to share them with us.
hopefully, we can limit the interest to 36% per year as most states have and make the payments one month out instead of two weeks out to give people more time to pay. together, we can accomplish much to achieve change in America. payday businesses should not be allowed to prey on our fellow financially vulnerable Montanans without some regulation and consumer protections to guide them. please join in this small but important change. with the worsening economic climate many more Montanans will fall prey to payday lenders if we do not act this winter. call your local legislators and let them know how you feel about this issue. together we can make a difference one change at a time.