give me a break ed…..

by problembear

this little tidbit floated into my inbox today and i have been working all day trying to help people who are suffering  most egregiously in this recession. so pardon me if i am late to the party but i have a few things to share with ed kemmick about the predatory practices of payday lenders and it’s awful effects on our working poor, our seniors on fixed incomes and on the families and the nonprofit charities who must step in and help these people after payday lenders have sucked them dry with unconscionable interest rates…..

angie mcneil took out a payday loan for $300.00 in august to pay for her kid’s emergency room visit. the admitting nurse told angie that she would have to at least pay the $250.00 co-pay on the bill to get further treatment. angie makes $8.50 per hour working night shifts as a cashier at a truck stop. angie is a single parent. the father pays little or nothing in child support and is currently unlocatable. angie takes home $587.00 every two weeks. her rent is $529.oo per month. her utilities another $130.00 in the summer. double that in the winter months. her car is a 1986 toyota corolla with bald tires, needs brakes and barely runs. she pays $95.00 a month for gas and insurance. this leaves angie with $420.00 for groceries, emergencies, and extras. on august 20 the payday loan check of $360.00 that angie had written to the payday lender was deposited and her check was now reduced to $227.00 after  the payday lender’s check cleared.

angie had to pay for utilities and medicine for her child which would leave her with no grocery money or gas money to go to work. oh yeah, and her car insurance was due also for $58.00. so angie went back to the payday lender and took out another loan of $300.00 to make it to her next check on september 5th. it is now october 11. so far, angie has paid $240.00 to these vultures to borrow the original $300.00 and that is still unpaid. angie doesn’t know what rock she is going to turn over to come up with an extra $300.00 until at least she can submit her taxes and get a small refund which the payday lender is more than willing to file for her as long as she signs it over to them.

and please tell me ed that you do not really support these thieves? please tell me that someone broke into your blog account and wrote that sorry apology piece for this evil industry while you were out hunting? please tell me that at the very least you were suffering from a high fever and are not responsible for anything you wrote here in montana’s largest daily newspaper?

i am appalled at anyone seeing any reason to allow these spawns of satan to continue doing business in montana. much less anyone using the story of a very well paid (by montana standards) person who sees no damage done by this type of loan.

good god ed. i am too shocked at your oblivious piece to respond. it is simply too wrong of you to take your experience and extrapolate from this brief and painless transaction and apply it accross the board to all montanans. please get out and visit with some real working poor ed before your piece gives these contemptible bastards the right to condemn people to their heartless system of squeezing the last drop of blood from those who are most vulnerable.


  1. Ed Kemmick

    I’m guessing by the way you phrase your questions that I will be condemned to hell no matter how I answer them, so I’ll ask you a few instead.

    Is Angie a real person or a hypothetical example? You don’t make this clear. Are you saying she paid $120 for a $360 loan? She needs to shop around.

    Also: The hospital demanded payment. Granted, it’s tough, but if you took payday lending out of the equation, what else would you have recommended that Angie do in this situation?

    • angie is very real ed. there are hundreds like her accross this state every day.

      do you really think these businesses make enough money off of relatively well-off individuals who are occasionally improvident?

      and so far, angie has paid 240.00 for that 300.00 loan : there have been 4 two week pay periods since she took the original loan out. at 60.00 per pay period that is 240.00 , not 120.00
      august 20
      september 5
      september 20
      october 5

      4 x 60.00 = 240

      and if you really think that angie should have “shopped around” that she would have had an easier time with paying 45.00 to bernie?
      i will pass that helpful advice along to her. i am sure she will appreciate it coming from a big supporter of payday lenders.

      as we both know ed, hospitals are not in the business of handing out charity but there are other avenues which a person can take if there is no other way to get money. usually a meeting is set up with the billing department and admissions to create an avenue for helping people in dire straits, but of course, the charge nurse is not going to offer that unless there is no other way.

      the businesses you proudly endorse do offer a way which ends up hurting families. angie is proud. a native montanan. she doesn’t like asking for charity from family or from institutions. so naturally, your champions are there to “help” her.

      the thing to ask is…… who are they really helping? and in the long run, how much does society end up paying for this “help” that leaves people with a burden this large. i can tell you that non-profits are burdened enough without this “helping hand that strangles” from your pillars of the community.

      payday loans end up hurting the very best people who are trying to not be a burden on their families, friends or on society at large by fitting them with a nice slip-knot noose that gets tighter with each pay day.

      • djohnson

        Gary Rivlin, national expert on the payday lending industry, said it best . . . “the payday loan is supposed to bridge a gap, but the problem is that the gap gets wider and wider and wider.” A person without the financial resources who resorts to a payday loan will likely not have the financial resources necessary to avoid taking out another within the two weeks / month it is due. At that point, a person is still financially strapped, and owns the exorbitant interest which the payday lending industry is able to charge. For some, payday loans may help. For the vast majority, they compound the problem and turn a bad situation worse. This is not just anecdotal evidence, it is a cold hard fact. Over 50% of the payday loan volume in Montana goes to borrowers with 13 or more loans per year. How does this equate to helping those most in need? Simple answer, it doesn’t. It equates to the promotion of chronic, predatory, debt.

  2. Ed- my job serving the poor and the hungry in montana starts every day at 8 and I will answer your questions when my shift ends at 5.

    What I would suggest is getting out and talking to some of our working poor and ask them how they feel about their options before endorsing payday lenders.

  3. Ingemar Johansson

    I’ll say it again.

    Money always returns to its rightful owner.

    • The Polish Wolf

      That doesn’t even make any sense. Bill Gates is the rightful owner of all his money, and by extension the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the rightful owner of any money I spend on software? ‘Shorty’ Guzman is the rightful owner of a billion dollars Americans decided to snort or smoke in the last few years?

      • JC

        Welcome to the world of IngyJo.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          Ok, I’ll dumb it down for ya.

          Fools and their money are soon parted.

          Money just happens to gravitate to some non-fools pockets.

          • i will let angie know you think she is a fool as soon as her shift ends today out at the Y b.s.

            she’ll appreciate it.

            • Ingemar Johansson

              Angie may not be as foolish about money as she was picking a dependable spouse.

              I’m no Dr. Laura but somethings tells me she had several warnings about who she really married.

              • “Something tells me”

                Watch out those voices in your head don’t get the best of you, bs.

              • The Polish Wolf

                So Ingy, by that logic you are substantially more foolish than Shorty Guzman, Kim Kardashian, and George Soros. The wisest religious leader in history? Muhammed & Abraham. The most foolish? Toss up – Jesus or Buddha. After all, two of them ended up rich, the other two ended up poor.

              • Ingemar Johansson

                Yeah, but Jesus never had to pawn his carpentry tools.

  4. Buckminster

    I hear stories like Angie’s every other day. Time for all those crying about losing their jobs if payday loans go under to go apply for honest work instead of being modern Guidos.

  5. daveprime

    So…..without the payday loan, her kid would NOT have received medical care? Of course, then she wouldn’t have to worry about paying back the loan, now would she?

    She had NO OPTIONS! Where do you expect her to “get help” when you close the doors of the only place willing to give her ANY money?

    Or would you just prefer that she go away and quietly let her kid get more ill and die, so YOU don’t have to have these “Dirty Lenders” to LOOK at….

    • no dave- hospitals don’t just send you home from an er without helping the patient. but angie wanted to do the right thing and pay her share. so your heroes were there to “help” her. to the tune of 240.00 profit so far on one 300.00 loan in a little over 2 months.

      you must be very proud.

      • what i was TRYING to say, is that at least she HAD an option. Is it a hard choice? YES. And yet she still had a CHOICE.

        I think it is time for everyone to let people make their own CHOICES. Yes the consequences are sometimes hard, but it is through those things that we learn.

        If these things are taken away, people at the bottom will have NO options when something happens to disrupt their meager budgets. It is all well and good to speak about how something “should” be, but in reality that is how it IS. Their options are already SEVERELY limited, why limit them even further?

        You say you work with the poor on a daily basis, so you should no that there are currently no other alternatives in these emergency situations. Most times, these folks (and I IS one) are barely scraping by. They are denied banking options due to bad choices in the past or their DTI ratio. Banks would laugh at them if they went in for a loan. (Been there.)

        What other option do YOU propose to help these folks out? Don’t remove their ONLY option until you have a workable one (that you consider “fairer”) in place.

  6. Chuck

    Check out who owns the truck stop where Angie works …and the Title Loan joint where she borrows.
    Maybe Angie just needs a raise from a scumbag boss.

    • JC

      How about some health care benefits, or access to insurance?

      Too bad that don’t kick in till 2014 under the health insurance reform act. Sure would make her life a lot better today.

  7. On one side – an unexpected source claims that the payday loan practice has practical benefits, as you are dealing, really, with people who have no other options.

    On the other, as far as I can tell, emotionalism. Yes, the people who are forced to payday lenders are often in hard straits.

    Often not. Usually they are just not very sophisticated, and maybe even impulsive.

    So the question is, should we let the market work? Sophisticated people will always take advantage of unsophisticated ones, as there is one born every minute.

    I say no. We don’t have to let everything go and pay attention to nothing. Shylocks need to be penned up as much as possible, so that they can chew on each other’s tails. Even though some may benefit, most don’t.

    • The Polish Wolf

      “Usually they are just not very sophisticated, and maybe even impulsive. ”

      Good point – actually, Angie sounds like one of the few clients who really needed a payday loan. She was charged outrageous interest, and hopefully after capping the interest rate, business or banks will find a way to make loans at 30% or so and still stay in business.

      But listen to the ads of most payday lenders -“Don’t let a lack of funds spoil your summer fun!” is one I remember rather clearly in Helena. They are advertising money now, to go have fun with. But most people who take them up on end up losing much more than they expect. In this way, I think it’s most comparable to gambling – in theory both parties come to an agreement that is skewed but voluntary. In practice, the net effect is so negative as to warrant regulations on what sort of contract can be entered into.

      • And when these payday loan places are ‘removed”, the only thing these people will hear when they ask “Who will help me out in this emergency?” will be crickets…

        Or are YOU willing to float people like Angie loans of up to $500 to help cover a car repair, or rent, or groceries? Until you are, leave the only option these folks have ALONE.

        • let me get this straight dave. your contention is that the free market cannot offer an alternative product that complies with 36% cap.

          that is a lie and you know it. 19 other states have instituted similar legislation and businesses seem to adapt and still offer profitable alternatives.

          quit lying for a living.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            You are an idiot! How many are still in business? You better get your facts and numbers straight. Not only will the lenders go out of business but so will everybody this trickles down to. Think about it…really stop and think about it. Oh…you can’t because you are so blinded by your negativity.

            Unemployment is at 9% nationally, 22% in Silicon Valley. That doesn’t even take into account who have had hours cut but are still considered employed.

            Government regulations will keep pushing employment numbers up, government will extend the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits that can be collected and bankruptcy and government assistance will climb…

            You think you are doing the world good with your ideas of regulating non-bank institutions out of business but in reality, you are ruining our economy.

            • actually, payday lenders take money out of our state. 80% of the money payday lending takes in montana goes to out of state owners.

              of the 150 or so payday lenders and vehicle title loan places 80% are owned by out of state companies.

              when these predators suck montana’s working poor dry, social services and non profits drain already strained resources to help get these single mothers and seniors on fixed income back on their feet so payday lenders actually cost the state of montana millions, while lining the pockets of out of state owners.

              with the economy as hard as it is now, montanans who donate to charities pay taxes to help our poor, hardly need payday lenders making things worse for our most vulnerable citizens.

              capping the interest rate at 36% is reasonable and will save this state millions in resources.

  8. thanks to hard-hearted capitalists like b.s. and apologists for bad behavior who write opinion pieces like ed kemmick endorsing payday lenders, it is getting difficult for this country to tell right from wrong. we are turning into a veritable tower of babel when it comes to being able to turn things around in this nation and start punishing bad behavior and rewarding good behavior.

    everywhere people who suffer and slave away for very little are watching our government and much of the main stream media turn a blind eye to those who fleece us. well, i am sick of it. it is a no-brainer to say that charging people anywhere near 300-650% is despicably wrong. and polls show that the people of montana are almost unanimous in our agreement on that.

    here’s a new ad from the folks who understand right from wrong….

    • Okay, what is YOUR idea for an alternative? Are YOU going to be standing down by Wal-Mart, checkbook in hand, to help these folks when the need for RIGHT NOW, emergency funds arises?

      Nah, I didn’t think so. But let’s make sure these “poor folks” have NO OPTIONS, “For their own good,” of course….

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