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There are people suffering in Bloomington-Normal and we can help. Poor residents in our community, especially single mothers, are finding that they are unable to buy food or medications because they have taken out a payday loan at 400 percent interest to pay for rent or other necessities. But instead of relief, they found themselves in a trap, taking out more and more loans to pay for previous loans. The national average is nine loans per year per payday borrower.

Payday lenders prey on those who cannot pay back their loans in the short term, hiding their 400 percent interest rate behind payments of $15 per $100 loaned. They claim that without their loans, no one would lend to the poor. But a study for

the state of North Carolina after it made payday lending unlawful found that “the absence of storefront payday lending has had no significant impact on the availability of credit for households in North Carolina.”

For these and other reasons, 17 states and the District of Columbia have made payday lending illegal or capped interest rates at 36 percent.

The town councils in Bloomington and Normal are now considering a draft ordinance to put a 36 percent cap on payday lending. Please call your representatives and tell them that Bloomington-Normal stands for justice for all the members of its community, not exploitation.  

Jim Reid, Bloomington

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