April 3rd, 2017
Oklahomans throughout the state are being hurt by predatory lending practices. Dozens shared their stories with us.
For more information on predatory lending, please visit our advocacy alert page on HB 1913.
“When my daughter was born I took out payday loans to keep us afloat and alive. I couldn’t pay the loan back so they suggested I go to another branch and take out another loan to pay off their loan. I was stuck in this cycle for 2 years. When I couldn’t afford to pay they kept trying to take it out of my bank account leading to hundreds of dollars in insufficient funds charges and banged up credit. All of that happened with the restrictions they have now. If they are allowed more flexibility more people will be stuck in this endless cycle!” – Ashley (Oklahoma City)
“I’m a public defender. People are charged with outrageous fines and costs that are enforced through warrants. Sometimes they take payday loans to make it through the month to feed their kids. With the interest they end up desperate and more likely to reoffend.” – Pat (Tulsa)
“Despite my parents working very hard, I grew up poor. A lot of the time we did not have enough money to provide for the needs of our family. In these instances my parents turned to payday lending businesses as a way to access extra money. As we all know, the interest rates and penalties for missing payments are high, often resulting in consumers finding themselves in a more dire financial situation than before they borrowed from these places. I have witnessed this first-hand. I have heard this practice described as a “debt trap,” and that is completely accurate. Many hard-working Oklahomans, including good people like my parents, are already drowning in a sea of high-cost credit. This bill will not help them or protect them from predatory lending practices, but will instead make their respective financial well-being much, much worse.” – Megan (Norman)
“I oppose this bill [HB 1913] because I’ve seen what it has done to a widow at my church. It has kept her strapped for money. She has not been able to get ahead because of these companies that charge her ridiculous fees for a small amount of money. I served nearly 21 years in the U.S. Regular and Reserve Army and I know that the military does not allow its service members to use these lenders. If the Army cares enough to protect its service members from such a practice why doesn’t our state government demonstrate the same level of concern for its citizens?” – Davison (Lawton)
“I have not personally used payday loans, but I see it all the time in my job at a bank. Customers take out these loans to fill a temporary need. Income is not verified, just that funds are in the account. Then when the loan comes due, they are still unable to pay. Which then requires them to get another loan to pay off the first and so on. In the meantime they are also racking up insufficient funds fees in their account. A vicious cycle that does not help them at all. Everyone loses – the customer, the loan company and the bank.” – Michele (Oklahoma City)
“I recently was able to get a payday loan paid off after a year of re-borrowing. Because of the already high interest rate, in a year’s time I paid back double what I borrowed. The company continues call me about once per week wanting me to reopen the loan. If you are unable to pay the loan company then sues and gets a judgement against you. Then a collector garnishes the borrowers check not caring if the borrower makes enough to feed and shelter their family. Such an event could very well make a family homeless.” – Micah (Oklahoma City)
“Payday lending keeps people in a cycle from which they struggle to break free. Before my father passed away in 2016 with pancreatic cancer he had taken a payday loan. When he couldn’t work any longer he couldn’t pay it back so the costs fell to my brothers and I to handle. Despite being cleared of the debt this predatory lending establishment in Tulsa continued to call my father on his cellphone regularly to remind him there was money available to borrow. They were cricket soliciting a man that could no longer make sound judgments on his own. This isn’t just payday lending; it is predatory. My family and I asked the loan agency to stop calling yet it continued until the day my father died. It was mind blowing and eye opening. Shame on any legislator that sides with an interest rate increase (or any other pro predatory lending action) rather than working to protect Oklahomans from a cycle of poverty.” – Harmony (Tulsa)
“My sister has been stuck in a cycle of overpriced payday loans for YEARS. Although my husband and I have offered repeatedly to help get her out of this cycle, her pride gets in the way when she is in need and she ends up returning back to the same high cost payday loans as before. The option being proposed in HB 1913 will NOT help people like my sister to get out of this cycle of poverty!” – Kathy (Warr Acres)
“My mother and I were very affected by predatory lending practices when I was a teen. She was sick, so she sometimes wasn’t able to go work often in order to pay the bills, therefore she would get payday loans. But, it was even more difficult because she wasn’t able to keep up with the payments so she had to get other loans on top of that which created a vicious cycle that was very hard to get out of. This put a bigger stress on her and on me which is why I had to drop out of high school and start working to help her out.” – Sinead (Oklahoma City)
“Several of my clients work minimum wage jobs, and several of my clients are legally disabled and live on very modest monthly incomes. They borrow a few hundred dollars and end up paying thousands back. These types of loan companies are no better than crooked loan sharks, and they take advantage of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable populations. Please vote against this bill!” – Misti (Broken Bow)
“My sister suffered a severe brain injury over 30 years ago. She thought these nice people wanted to help her when she was in a financial bind. It took forever to get his resolved…nasty calls, terrible letters, you name it.” – Maggie (Oklahoma City)
“Years ago, faced with paying a high electric bill (and shortly after my husband walked out on me and our children), I took out a payday loan. My checking account was a few cents short when the lender cashed my check. This resulted in close to $100 in overdraft fees, because they submitted the check several times. This resulted in my checking account being closed, plus a notification from the DA that I could be subjected to criminal charges By the time I managed to pay back my initial $350 loan plus fees, interest, overdraft charges and other associated costs, I was out of twice as much money as I had borrowed and my already-precarious finances were wrecked.” – Camille (Warr Acres)
For more information on predatory lending visit our advocacy alert page on HB 1913.