Friday, December 28, 2007

Payday Lenders Under Fire By Roscoe Reynolds

Let's suppose my friend Charlie Bishop comes to me and wants to borrow 100 bucks for a couple of weeks. Now I like Charlie, he's been a friend for years, and he and I both agree that I should charge him some amount of interest on that $100 loan. So we settle on 15%, in other words, he will pay me $115 dollars Friday after next. We're both happy. Charlie can prevent APCO from cutting off his power. Charlie doesn't risk bouncing a check and the exhorbitant fees that go along with that. Charlie doesn't have to get a cash advance on his credit card, which would cost him much more than $15. And best of all, I can gain 15 bucks wihout much work.

Some people, specifically Roscoe Reynolds for the sake of this article, would call me a predator for helping my pal Charlie keep his family out of the dark. If I was so bold as to open a storefront and make a business of transactions of this sort, Senator Reynolds would have me shut the doors, never to help anyone again.

Today I spent some time in the offices of a couple of those "nasty Payday lenders". There I met three delightful ladies, each of them eager to teach me how their industry works. I learned that they fulfill a real need in our community, a need realised by people from all cross sections of our society. Whether you are a local factory worker or an executive in one of those factories, a teacher in our local school system or a student away at college, a retiree living on a pension or a worker now living on disability, chances are you could benefit from the services offered at your local "payday lender". These three ladies related stories from each scenario. Stories of real local people they have helped get across a personal hump in their daily life.

I also learned there are currently over 20 of these businesses in Martinsville and Henry County. Businesses that employ from 1 to 5 people per office. At least 60 local families depend, at least in part, on this industry for their household income. That's 60 more local individuals that Senator Reynolds wishes to put out of work. That's also 20 more empty, unleased buildings in Henry County. Yes, Senator Reynolds wants to close these local offices. His Senate Bill No.25 would outlaw the services provided by the three ladies I spoke with today, and any other similar service throughout the Commonwealth. Ironically, I don't think it would outlaw the personal contract I spoke of earlier between me and Charlie.

I'll have more on this subject later, check back often.

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