Monday, June 30, 2014

Why CitySquare Addresses Payday Lending

The little town of Utica, Mississippi has experienced in a macro sense, what poor communities have experienced in a micro sense. They've lost their bank. The only bank in town. Fortunately, they have a credit union that has stepped in to fill the space left by the bank. In fact they're doing more...they are helping people get out of debt caused by payday lenders...

"Overall, more than 68 million Americans live in “bank deserts” — defined by the U.S. Postal Service as communities with one bank or fewer. In 2012 alone, these Americans spent $89 billion on interest and fees, an average of $2,412 per underserved household, for alternative financial services. It’s a market that the financially embattled USPS has considered entering."
"When people living check to check rely on pawnshops and payday lenders to make ends meet, the real cost is written in the fine print."
"“While many of our residents don't want to use … these places, they will because it's convenient,” said Kimberly Hilliard, who specializes in urban planning at Jackson State University. “But many of us cannot afford to inherit the fees … When you go outside of a traditional bank and you go to a payday lending [service], the fees that you incur will be quite significant, and many of our families cannot afford it.”"
"In the Mississippi Delta, the number of residents lacking access to basic financial services is now more than twice the national rate. For White, a working mother of three, that meant fewer options to help buy her first home."
At CitySquare, working with the Anti-Poverty Coalition of Greater Dallas and Texas Faith for Fair Lending, we are helping reign in the most egregious practices of these predators by convincing cities to adopt ordinances that restrict the presence and practices of payday lenders and trying to convince legislators to enact state law that will do the same. 
Justice means you don't run roughshod over the poor...

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