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Payday Loan Worker Apologizes for Harming Virginia Customers

February 26, 2008

Richmond, VA - As the legislature reconciles two competing payday lending reform bills, some loan store ex-employees are "blowing the whistle" on industry practices. Cameron Blakely managed and trained employees in D.C. area loan stores, and he's one of several who quit after realizing he was hurting borrowers, not helping them.

"I was like, I'm sick and tired of people coming in here thinking we're doing them a favor, then we messed up their bank accounts, we messed up their mortgage account, it was so sad."

Blakely says he's blowing the whistle on his former bosses to try to make up for helping push people deeper into debt.

"I just want to apologize to all my customers for abusing their trust and being untrustworthy. I would never do it again, and that's why I'm doing what I'm doing right now."

Blakely says he trained workers to keep customers rolling their loans over month after month to keep them paying high fees. Lenders say they're providing a service to people with no other options.

A bill passed by the House of Delegates would limit revolving loans, but it faces a challenge from a Senate bill that would permit extended payment plans. The House and Senate are expected to work out the differences before they adjourn next week.

John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - VA