Cracking Down on Payday Lending

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

A national grass roots organization wants payday lenders to obey rules. Recently, a Rockingham County judge dismissed a case where a payday lender was trying to get back money from one of its customers.

The Cap America organization is using that case as an example to crack down on payday lenders. Cap America is asking legislators to pass a bill which would create a cap to end the debt-cycle that many payday loan customers get caught in.

Cameron Blakely was a store manager for a major payday lending company, Check n' Go, and he says the company taught him to do illegal practices and says he felt like the industry was victimizing people.

"We would take their trust, build relationships, and have them believe that we were going to give them the best possible way of getting extra cash, but in a way we were just making sure that they were going to be in a long-term loan," says Blakely.

However, a representative from Advance America says it's only a small handful of people that get caught in the cycle, and favors a bill in the senate that would help regulate the payday lending industry.

"We'd hope that the General Assembly would choose not to eliminate an entire industry and put 2,000 or so folks out of work and leave hundreds of thousands of consumers in Virginia without a trusted credit option," says Jamie Fuller, the Director of Public Affairs for Advance America.

Cap America wants the house bill that would put a 36-percent interest rate cap on loans to protect all consumers who use the service.

"They was coming in there, asking for money and we were giving it to them, thinking we were doing them a favor when we were actually laughing at them in the end. It was just so sad. I just couldn't do it anymore," says Blakely. "It wasn't me. That's not what I'm about."

The attorney who represents Payne's Check Cashing says the case is being appealed to circuit court. Due to pending further litigation, the attorney did not want to comment.


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