Group rallies against payday loan companies

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Payday loans allow people to get money quickly. But on Tuesday, members of the group, Kansans for Payday Loan Reform, rallied against lenders, saying they’re charging too high of rates.

Annie Ricker is a pastor at a church in Berryton. She said a couple of years ago she and her husband were living paycheck to paycheck. Then her husband lost his job, they had medical expenses and had car trouble to deal with.

“We felt like we didn’t have a lot of other options so we took a loan to cover what we needed and then because of the high interest rate, it just snowballed,” Ricker said.

Supporters said this is an all too common occurrence and that vulnerable people are being targeted.

Marilyn Stanley is the executive director at Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. She said many of the people her organization works with are struggling with payday or car title loans.

“Oftentimes because they’re worried about repaying that loan, they may miss other payments like utilities or food to feed their family,” Stanley said. “It could even be missing their rent or mortgage payment, getting delinquent on those, so it’s kind of a snowball effect.”

Currently, the state allows lenders to charge interest rates as high as 391 percent.

Supporters said lawmakers need to cap that number at a much lower rate so that paying for an emergency doesn’t become a long term economic struggle.

“We’re not wanting to excuse them from their financial obligation,” said Ricker. “We’re wanting to allow them to access this type of loan but to do so in a way that does not further cripple them.”

The group also said having legislators reform laws that would give people more time to repay loans would help those most in need.

Supporters said making new restrictions would keep more money in Kansas because many of the companies are owned out of the state.

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