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Study: Borrowers Don’t Miss Payday Lenders if They Leave

November 19, 2007

Richmond, VA – When you've got money problems, easy money is not the solution –- and it can even lead to more difficult problems. In a recent survey, payday loan customers in North Carolina were asked about their experiences with these lenders. Most said the loans only delayed their financial problems, and certainly did not solve them. North Carolina shut down payday lending stores last year.

In Virginia, the payday lending industry claims it provides a necessary consumer service with its short-term loans.
However, survey author Roberto Quercia, of the Center for Community Capital, says where the loans are not available, people get by just fine.

"They talk to their creditors and come to terms in some kind of arrangement, so they can pay back whatever they owe in a way that works for everybody."

Quercia explains most of those surveyed said they were happy the loans are no longer available in North Carolina. Payday loans often come with interest rates that exceed 300 percent A.P.R. Congress recently capped rates at 24 percent for military families, citing the loans as a possible national security risk.

As an alternative to payday lending, some Virginia credit unions are now offering short-term lower-interest loans for customers in a financial pinch. Quercia says that's the right idea.

"There is still a need for some small-dollar credit product that is affordable and takes into account a customer's ability to pay."

In Washington, D.C., the city council also has voted to limit payday loan interest rates. The Virginia legislature is expected to take up similar proposals to regulate the loans. See the North Carolina survey results online, at www.ccc.unc.org.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - VA