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Payday and Car Title Lenders - the Real Grinches Who Steal Christmas?

December 15, 2006

Des Moines, IA - At this time of year, some Iowans may be so desperate to buy Christmas gifts for the family that they find themselves seeking such short-term solutions as a payday loan or car title loan. But Victor Elias, with the Child and Family Policy Center, urges people to resist a temptation that could lead to financial disaster.

"What the payday lenders and the car title lenders do is trap you into a cycle of debt that people have a terrible time getting out of. It could lead to bankruptcy, or losing your vehicle, in the case of a car title loan."

Elias says these lenders count on strapped borrowers who must "roll the loan over" into another, again and again, causing the interest to add up to 300 percent or more.

"These types of lenders make 80 percent of their profits on the rollovers. So, while it looks like it's an affordable loan if you pay it off in two weeks, most people can't pay it off in two weeks, and roll it over."

Elias' advice is for people to turn to church or civic organizations for help with gifts this year, and then commit to setting up a savings account in the new year, so that next Christmas, there's money available for holiday shopping without going into debt.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA