Saturday, June 24, 2006

Payday loans

The Wichita Eagle has done a lot of nice reporting on payday loan companies, and I hope the Pulitzer committee has kept an eye on those reports. Payday lenders change practically usurious rates, sufficiently large that many people simply can't pay off the interest on their loan, let alone pay down the principal. Today the Eagle's blog reports:
State Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita, called The Eagle editorial board to say he had received a contribution from LoanMax that he intends to return at a town hall meeting Saturday in Wichita. “I’ll be encouraging other Kansas senators to do the same,” he said, and work to pass new regulations on the industry.
LoanMax has been paying shills to attend community meetings to speak on its behalf, and has been spreading money around to various people, including the Attorney General (who is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating these shady businesses). Betts is right to return their money (or hopefully to give it to a charity that works to help alleviate the poverty these lenders prey on).

Betts is a great guy, and you'll be seeing his name more in years to come.