Payday Loan Practices Under Scrutiny

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.–Payday loans are a blessing and a curse for many Missourians. 

Some folks can use a little extra cash at the end of the week or the month for those unexpected expenses. Sometimes people turn to payday loan companies to float them that cash. But now, the interest rates charged by those companies are attracting the attention of our state legislature.

Missouri state representative Steve Helms (R—District 135) is working on the issue in a house subcommittee.

“When you add the fees and everything on top of it, you can have a couple hundred, three, even four hundred percent actual interest.”

The high fees pile up because people often can’t pay off the initial loan quickly.

According to Helms, “people are allowed to roll over that loan too many times. So you get your payday loan, payday comes around and boy something else took place. Can you give me another week?”

Most feel for the folks who have to spend lots of money on interest rates. But just exactly what the government ought to do about it, well, that’s still up in the air.

Helms says of his work in the Missouri House, “what we’ve been charged with is look at short-term financial transactions, find out what’s the problem, if there is a problem, and I think a lot of people would say there is.”

Helms wants to make sure that state regulations comply with federal rules on the payday loan industry.

“We’re probably going to have to wait until after 2019 or at least until the Trump Administration folks in the consumer financial protection bureau make the decisions whether they’re going to change any of the rules or not.”

Meanwhile, people continue to face a tough choice between taking the needed loan and finding a way to pay it back.

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