Payday Loan Writer
Each time she drives past the payday lenders near her home, neighborhood activist Lori Lawrence wonders: “Why on Earth do we need two of them across the street from each other, another one a block away?”
Across the nation, cities and states are moving to limit faxless payday loan companies, which carry annual percentage rates ranging from 391 percent to 443 percent.
Thirteen states have banned them. Others are limiting the interest rates they can charge.
In some states, including Kansas, where regulations are less restrictive, some communities are acting on their own to cut down on the number of no fax cash loan outlets.
In the Kansas City area, for example, several communities have passed ordinances that keep the stores farther away from one another and from residential areas.
Wichita neighborhood groups say they’d like to see the same happen here.
But so far, city leaders have not discussed such measures. Some City Council members say they are reluctant to single out an industry for additional regulation.
The payday advance industry says it provides an important service to people who can’t get traditional loans.
Still, some neighborhood groups are worried about the growing number of stores. In 1995, there were 36 licensed payday lenders in Kansas. A decade later there were 10 times that many.
Consumers in Wichita now have about 75 places where they can get a payday loan, up 14 percent from last year.
When a new business anchors in the McAdams neighborhood, it’s often a payday loan shop or liquor store, says Paula Givens, a community activist.
“Whenever there’s something vacant or available, those are things that come to our neighborhood,” said Givens, who served as president of the McAdams Neighborhood Association for five years.