Part 4: Three reasons I don’t believe payday loans should be restricted in Waco.
by Lisa Dickison
(Note: This is Part 4 in a series on Pay Day lending and its effect on our Waco community. For the rest of the series, click here: Pay Day Lending in Waco. — ABT)
Reason 1: The label “predatory” for Payday loans is an exaggeration.
A predator in the animal kingdom is one that stalks and hunts its prey. The payday loan companies are not stalking customers and forcing them into the store. Customers freely enter. They don’t grab the customers’ hands and force them to sign. In spite of the stacks of pages they must sign, a transaction is very simple: to borrow this much, for this time period, you will pay this much in fees and this much total. “Predatory” is not an accurate description. Everything is in the open and not forced.
Reason 2: Restrictions on payday loans remove options from those who already have few options.
I have experience with this. I’m a customer of these places. Much less so now that I’ve learned to better handle money, but it has saved me a few times. Once, I needed a $700 car repair. I didn’t have the cash on hand, but I needed my car. That’s how I got to work. I’m fortunate now that I can work from home. Many people do not have that luxury. For many, if they can’t get to work, they will lose their job. Restricting access to a quick way to get money just exacerbates the problem. Banks no longer loan money in those small amounts. They certainly don’t loan money to those with poor credit. If these loan companies cannot make a decent profit, which is the goal of being in business, they will leave town leaving those who already have few options with even fewer options.
Reason 3: It’s not the proper role of municipal government.
Different levels of government are designed for different purposes. The purpose of local government is to provide basic services (roads, water, trash collection) and to make laws that make it easier to live together in communities. We have laws that require lawns be mowed so that our neighborhoods are not overrun with vermin. State laws govern traffic laws for the most part, but cities decide where to put traffic lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices. Municipal governments should not protect residents from their own poor decisions.
Despite these opinions, I absolutely support a market-based alternative that is not funded by taxpayer dollars. I hope that the alternative being proposed works and is sustainable. It may not totally replace payday loan providers, but it may give some relief to those who are in need of additional options to manage emergencies.
Lisa Dickison is a local political activist who has lived in Waco more than half her life. Her passions are defending the Constitution, election integrity and protecting the right of the people to self-govern. She is Republican Precinct Chair for Precinct 29.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these Aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.