Payday loan reform bill making its way to legislature

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Money problems are common, but for some people making ends meet each month, it’s nearly impossible. Because of this, payday loan businesses have become common.

Lenders give people a lump sum of money that they are required to pay back, with interest, by their next payday. For many, this is the beginning of a crippling financial cycle.

Dalton Wells was just 19 years old when he went to a Kansas payday loan business for help paying his rent. He only needed to borrow $100, however, the interest on his loan ended up nearly doubling his payback cost. When he was required to pay back his loan plus interest just two weeks later, he found himself in an even worse financial spot.

“It was like taking my whole check away from me and then I would have to be expected to live for the next couple of weeks without a paycheck,” said Dalton.

Dalton said the business encouraged him to take out another loan to make ends meet.

“It was just a continual cycle,” he added.

In the state of Kansas, payday loan companies have few regulations. Lenders are able to charge up to 391% interest on loans. Additionally, payment plans are rarely an option. People are required to pay back their loan by their next paycheck.

After months of back and forth, Dalton lost his job but still owed the business $500. Only then did the lender allow Dalton to set up a payment plan.

The group Kansans for Payday Loan Reform are working with legislators to prevent instances like Dalton’s.

“We want them to have months to payback because that’s reasonably what someone can do,” explained Christy Grecian with Kansans for Payday Loan Reform. “We also want to make sure that the payback amount, what they pay, is no more than five percent of their paycheck.”

A payday loan reform bill is in the works that will set stricter requirements on loan companies.

Grecian recommends that people seek financial help from friends, family or charitable organizations before turning to payday loans.

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