Alicia (name changed) is a Birmingham resident who used a Payday loan when she ran into financial trouble. She decided to take out a loan for $500. However, it took months to pay off the loan because she could only afford to pay off the interest, which was 85 dollars after two weeks. After renewing the loan seven times, she was able to pay it off. However, she ended up paying $595 in interest for the original loan and took out two more loans to make ends meet. The interest for these loans totaled $2350.
Alicia’s story (as told to the SPLC) is a familiar one for many individuals and families in Alabama. Payday lenders advertise easy money with low interest rates. However, the annual percentage rate attached to these loans is 456% in this state. Because of this, many borrowers cannot afford to pay back the principal in a month. Instead, they renew the loan and the interest continues to accumulate. As the months go by, countless people are trapped in a cycle of debt.
The YWCA Central Alabama is a member of the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama (ARLA). ARLA’s mission is to support laws that regulate small loan lenders, teach the public about predatory lending, and help find alternatives to these lenders.
ARLA members include: AARP of Alabama, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, Alabama Asset Building Coalition, Alabama Possible, Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, Arise Citizens’ Policy Project, Birmingham Faith in Action (includes 25 congregations), Birmingham-Southern College, Gateway Financial Freedom, First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Leading Edge Institute, Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham, Southern Poverty Law Center, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, YWCA Central Alabama, Zonta Birmingham, and individuals across Alabama.
Make an Impact!
Spread the Word
Tell 3 people each week about this information
Like the ARLA Facebook page to stay up to date
Use the hashtag #endusury when you talk about the issue on twitter
Write an op-ed or letter to the editor
Contact your legislator
Find your legislator and their contact information here
Let them know you support a 36% rate cap on payday and title loans
For more in-depth information, click here:
Payday lending report from Pew Charitable Trusts
SPLC report Easy Money, Impossible Debt
To tell your story or file a complaint, click here:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Alabama Asset Building Coalition Predatory Lending Video
This video presents information about how payday loans work and recent efforts to regulate them.
YWCA #EndUsury Video
This video shows the damage predatory lending has caused to women in Alabama.