HOUSTON, TX – You’ve seen the shiny advertising: “Get cash now, pay back later.” And if you’ve ever been in a bind, it seems like the perfect bail out. But for many Houstonians, it’s turned into one big nightmare.
People can’t pay back the loans faster than the outrageous fees and interest rates accumulate.
Gail Rowland is one of those people. She spoke at a community event Tuesday, “Are we responsible? Absolutely we’re responsible for those choices that we make. But we do need help in regulating these loans to where they don’t continue to take full advantage of us.”
The problem is these loan companies aren’t regulated.
“They’re predatory lenders. They’re unregulated lenders. They’re people who take advantage of their brothers and sisters and their neighbors,” said Pastor Steve Well with South Main Baptist church.
It’s gotten so bad, community leaders are demanding legal action.
Mayor Annise Parker has drafted a Pay Day Lending Ordinance that would put regulations on these companies and make it possible for people to pay their debts. But there has been hesitation in bringing it to a vote.
“Let’s not play games. Let’s not postpone one more day the opportunity to assist hard-working families address their financial needs in a reasonable manner and not at the expense of a lender who traps them into refinancing the same principle amount over and over again,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.
On Wednesday, City Council members have one last chance until next year to pass the ordinance.
It’s something many Houston families are counting on.