When an emergency occurs and a bill must be paid, sometimes payday loans are the only answer. For people who find themselves in that situation, it’s immensely stressful trying to figure out what to do, especially if friends and family are unwilling or unable to offer a loan. Payday loans should be a last resort, but for many it’s the only choice when it comes to getting together the money to pay for an unexpected car repair, medical bill, or legal expenses. For Texans, there’s a new battle brewing that could affect payday loans in Texas cities and towns.
Enter the Texas Catholic Conference
While the state of Texas has been making strides to crack down on the fees and interest rates associated with payday loans, the Catholic Church in Texas recently announced it is joining anti-payday loan groups. The effort comes after studies within the church found that approximately 2 out of every 10 people receiving help from Catholic Charities, a group that offers financial assistance, receives assistance because their payday loan interest and fees are straining their finances.
Rather than going directly to the state government where little action has been taken to better control payday lending, the church is starting on the city level pushing for regulations on how many times a payday loan company can charge fees. For example, if a client borrows $200 and has already paid $800 in fees, those pushing for better reform feel the debt has been paid back. More than two dozen cities agree and have changed city and town regulations to match that idea.
The Catholic Church also wants to see more regulation on where and how payday loan companies operate. During their studies, they discovered many of the payday loan companies in Texas set up shop next to dentists and dental surgeons. They also found payday lenders operating in poor neighborhoods and marketing to those with disabilities or Spanish-speaking residents who failed to understand the terms of the loan paperwork they were signing.
If you live in Texas and need money now, payday loans can help, but they should be your last option. Talk to your church about a loan, visit your bank or credit union, and ask family and friends if they might be able to help. Once you’ve exhausted all other options, shop around for the best payday loan interest rate and fee structure. Never settle for the first company you find, always compare offers.