The Gift that Keeps on … Taking

Posted: August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Just yesterday I was working with a person who was struggling with finances. A whole series of events led to a desperate decision: go down to the corner payday loan shop on the corner. They were cordial and helped her obtain her loan in quick order. The problem was what came next. She was shocked by the interest and payments. It would be impossible to get out of this obligation. In fact, it worsened her original situation.

Payday lenders target the working class and poor folk, the most vulnerable communities, and trap them with impossible debt. In Missouri, these predators charge an average annual percentage rate (APR) of 445%. It’s one of the highest averages in the nation, 26 times the rate cap in Arkansas, where lenders can’t charge more than 17%.

Trapped families pay fees upon fees for what was presented as quick fix money. It sends them toward certain financial oblivion. There are now more payday lenders in Missouri than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.

And where do these profits go? Usually to large out-of-state corporations. Our Missouri families are charged triple digit interest rates and millions of dollars are drained from our communities.

What should we do? Like other states, we should act to cap the rate. The FDIC recommends a reasonable 36%. It’s long overdue.

We can’t avoid economic crisis for every family in Missouri. But we can prevent the vultures from circling over the wounded body laying by the side of the road. That we can and should do.

  1. N Miller says:

    AMEN, Tim! And this should be a question asked of every potential congressional candidate running in our state: “Will you work to legislate an APR cap for predatory userers in Missouri ?” The answer might settle some of the sediment in the muddy political waters.

  2. Nick Larson says:

    One of our sister churches (Brentwood Christian Church) in Springfield is really speaking out about this issue too. It’s wrong and absurd the rate they are able to charge.

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