Groups to meet over payday lender and title pawn concerns
by Chris Norwood
Dec 20, 2013 | 1967 views |  0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of nonprofits will be holding community meetings in Sylacauga and Talladega next month to discuss various issues related to the rapid proliferation of payday lenders and title pawn businesses in the area.

The Sylacauga meeting will be Jan. 9 at noon at the Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce, and will be hosted by the Rev. Ross Reddick, pastor of First Presbyterian Church.

The Talladega meeting will be the following Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Talladega Family Life Center and will be hosted by City Council President Horace Patterson and the NAACP, chaired by the Rev. Hugh Morris.

Both meetings are being organized by Arise Citizens Policy Project, Alabama Appleseed and the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama.

“The purpose of the meetings is to help people understand the current laws regulating these loans, and the pitfalls of payday loans and auto title loans,” according to a press release announcing the meetings. “Presenters will share information from legal, religious and social perspectives about payday and auto title loans. Elected officials in both cities are invited to attend.”

The announcement goes on to say that “Payday lenders in Alabama legally charge over 400 percent annualized rates on loans designed for quick repayments and rollovers, while auto title loan interest rates are capped at 25 percent per month, which amounts to a 300 percent annualized rate. Alabama Arise members believe these loans devastate family finances, remove wealth from low-income communities, target those who can least afford to pay and reflect poorly on the quality of life in communities with the rapid growth of these storefront operations. Recent information from Arise confirms that there are four times as many payday lending storefronts as there are McDonald’s locations across Alabama.”

The Talladega City Council imposed a moratorium on licensing new title pawn and payday lending locations earlier this year, and Sylacauga is currently conducting an impact study.

A call to the offices of Modern Financial Services, a trade group, was referred to the group’s president in Athens, who owns a payday lender himself. No one answered the Athens number, and there was no voicemail available.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com