Kansas City, MO: Field Hearing on Small Dollar Loans 6/2/2016 (Part 2)

An important part of how the Bureau helps
consumer finance markets work is to hear directly from consumers—from industry, from our state
and local partners, and from community advocates across the U.S. One of the ways that the Bureau
gathers public feedback is through events such as these. We have held field hearings,
town halls, and other events across the U.S., from Miami, Florida to Itta Bena, Mississippi,
to Seattle, Washington, and, of course, Kansas City, Missouri. At these events we not only
hear from experts in the field, we also invite the public to participate.
Before I open the floor for public comments I want to remind folks that there are several
other ways to communicate your observations, your view and concerns or complaints to the
CFPB. You can submit a consumer complaint with the CFPB through our website at ConsumerFinance.gov.
Our website will walk you through that process. Or you can call 1‑855‑411-2372. The CFPB
takes complaints about mortgages, car loans or leases, payday loans, student loans, or
other consumer loans. We also take complaints about credit cards, prepaid cards, credit
reporting, debt collection, money transfers, bank accounts and services, and other financial
services. If you don’t have a specific complaint but
would you like to share your story with us, we have a feature on our website called “Tell
Your Story,” where you can tell us your story, good or bad, about your experience with consumer
financial products or services. Your story will help inform the work that we do to protect
consumers and create a fairer marketplace. We have another feature called “Asked CFPB,”
where you can find answers to over 1,000 frequently asked questions about consumer financial issues,
as well as additional resources. We also have a Spanish-language website called CFPB en
Espanol, which provides additional consumer resources. I encourage you to visit ConsumerFinance.gov
to learn more about the resources and tools that the Bureau has developed to help consumers
make the best decisions for themselves and for their family.
Now it’s time to hear from members of the public that are here today. A number of you
have signed up to share comments and observations about today’s discussion. The public comment
portion of the field hearing is also an important opportunity for the CFPB to hear and learn
about what’s happening in consumer finance markets in your community. Each person who
signed up to provide testimony will have 1 minute to do so, and what we hear from you
is invaluable. In order to hear from as many of you as possible, I encourage you to please
observe the 1-minute limit. If I call your name, because you’ve indicated that you would
like to provide testimony, but you have left the Music Hall, I will call your name again.
So please don’t fret if you have to leave for a few minutes. We will call on you again
one more time. I will call five public commenters at a time.
When I do, please make your way to the aisle, to the closest CFPB staff with a microphone.
Then I will call you again so that you may provide your testimony. Will the CFPB staff
with microphones please raise their hands? Great. Public comment will be open for the
next 4 hours to ensure that plenty of you have the opportunity to provide testimony.
So let’s get started, our first group of commenters: Tishaura Jones, City of St. Louis Treasurer;
Paul Curtman, State Representative; Ken Williams, Catholic Charities; Barbara Inman; Melinda
Robinson. Let’s start with Tishaura Jones. Good afternoon. I’m Tishaura Jones, Treasurer
of the City of St. Louis, and in August 2015, we opened the Office of Financial Empowerment
in City Hall to help people make better decisions with their money. And since then, we have
educated over 1,200 citizens and put them on the path to financial empowerment.
My most important reason for speaking up today is because I’m a single working mother. The
average borrower is a woman like me. I sometimes had to put everyday expenses or unexpected
expenses on a credit card because my money ran out at the end of the month or I didn’t
have enough saved for emergencies. Life happens, but we shouldn’t be punished for life for
it. One St. Louis area borrower, Naya Burks, saw
her $1,000 loan, unaffordable from the start, turn into a $40,000 debt as her lender applied
penalty fees and ultimately attempted to sue. Predatory lenders only open in neighborhoods
that have credit scores of 500 or less, prey on poor and minority populations, and keep
people in poverty. As my good friend John Hope Bryant often says, nothing changes your
life more than the love of God or a 120-point increase in your credit score.
Thank you, Ms. Jones. Thank you. Paul Curtman.
Thank you. There’s just a few things that I’d like to say. I’ve had an opportunity.
I’ve had to use these types of loans in the past. Sometimes these loans is all the stood
between me and paying a bill or visiting my family. However, I do want to mention my concern
about hundreds, if not thousands of pages worth of bureaucratic rules being written
that is directly going to affect the pros and cons of this market, and when a bureaucracy
can write, adjudicate, and execute the law, you have essentially robbed the people of
the representative government. In addition to that— —these particular laws, you mentioned that
there is a task that has to be applied by the lender to see whether or not the lendee
can pay it back, but what you haven’t done—and from what I understand—is you haven’t actually
considered whether or not the lendee will pay it back. So although you can manage— Although you can write rules for the lender,
if the lendee decides instead of being financial responsible with his next paycheck, he is
instead going to go take his friends to a concert and a round of drinks, how do you
fix that problem? I’m afraid that what’s going to happen—I’m
afraid that what’s going to happen is that as payday loan companies have to close their
doors to people that really need the money, people are going to look for other means of
acquiring this capital means they’re unregulated. Thank you, Mr. Curtman.
Thank you. Ken Williams.
Hi. I’m Ken Williams, CEO of Catholic Charities here in Northeast Kansas. A little over 6
months ago, we teamed up with the Country Club Bank here in Kansas City to launch the
Kansas Loan Pool Project to combat predatory lending in our area. What we do is we take
those who are participating in the program and pay off their existing payday loan and
convert them to 6 percent loans. We only have a few requirements; number one,
that they work with our case managers on a monthly basis to go over a budget, which we
have no problem creating with them in that first meeting, no problem whatsoever in determining
whether or not they can actually pay the loan back. And so, at the end of the day, why are
we in the payday lending industry, if you will? Why are we making loans? We’re a charity.
We’re a ministry to help people drive them from crisis management to self-sufficiency.
We’re doing so because the payday loan industry has obstructed our efforts. Most of the people
that we serve have payday loans. Their inability to pay them off is obstructing the path to
self-sufficiency, so we applaud your efforts. Thank you, Mr. Williams. Barbara Inman.
My name is Barbara Inman, and I am the president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Florida.
And I represent the 50 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the Sunshine State. We build
more habitat homes than any other state in the country, and we deliver $300 million in
economic impact and serve 1,000 families a year.
I am here because, simply put, the laws in the state of Florida do not protect Florida
citizens from the payday loan debt trap. I offer as proof that more than 80 percent of
the payday loan fees collected in the state of Florida are collected from families who
have stacked more than seven loans in a year, of payday loans in a year, and the APR, average
APR, is 278 percent. The result of this is that these families can no longer afford a
traditional bank mortgage, and so Habitat for Humanity may be the only outlet for them.
We are already serving— Thank you, Ms. Inman.
Thank you. Our next five include Reverend Phil Snyder,
Adam Rust, Sara Cook, Reverend Sekinah Hamlin, and Terrace Weis. Melinda Robinson? Reverend Phil Snyder? Adam Rust? Sara Cook?
Hi. My name is Sara Cook. I guess I wouldn’t consider myself an average American. I’m a
college-educated woman. I got into this trap because I’ve made some bad choices in my life,
and my effort to rebuild it, I have that job. And I should have been able to pay it back,
and then there were some earthquakes. And we weren’t able to work, and so I had to roll
it over. And then I had to roll it over again, and that’s not something that I would normally
have to do. And so, by the grace of God, I was able to go to Catholic Charities, and
I am a member of that program, and they are helping me put everything back together. But
if they hadn’t been available, I would have lost my checking account, my car, my home,
everything because of something I had no control over. I didn’t ask there to be earthquakes
in China, so— Thank you, Ms. Cook. Reverend Sekinah Hamlin?
I am Reverend Sekinah Hamlin, Director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, based in
Washington, D.C. We do the work that the National Council of Churches continues to do around
poverty. We are calling on the payday rule to close
all loopholes, to make sure there is an ability-to-repay requirement to every loan, increase protections
against loan flipping, and is broad enough to cover any loan that enables lenders to
coerce repayment from borrowers. We recognize that America is a nation of strivers,
people striving just to make ends meet. We recognize that because that is the story from
those that are in our pews every Sunday, and we also recognize that the Bible says that
you are not to exploit the poor just because they are poor, and so, therefore— —we stand to open our mouths and judge righteously
and plead the cause of the Americans that are striving to make ends meet. Families deserve
lending products that give them opportunities, not put them in oppression. It has to get
better. Thank you, Reverend Hamlin. The next group of five commenters includes
Hank Kline, Bill Francis, Kordie Marsenburg, Reverend Wallace Sr., and Reverend Wallace
II. Terrace Weis? Hank Kline? Bill Francis? Kordie Marsenburg?
My name is Bill Francis. I’m the Director of the Diocese in Human Rights and Respect
Life Office here in Kansas City-St. Joe, Missouri. I’d like to thank Director Cordray for this
opportunity. I want to echo something that Catholic Charities
said in our counterpart diocese. We have a lot of Catholic social service organizations
who are seeing more and more people who are suffering under the increasing burden of this
debt, but one thing that was mentioned with the panel that I don’t want to overlook is
a lot of the money that’s being paid and assistance that’s being provided is to people who have
money to pay their rent, to pay their utilities, to pay their lights, except for the fact that
most of their money is going to these payday lenders.
So those of us who choose to give our time and talent to our Catholic service organizations
try to help out. We’re actually complicit in this. We’re actually paying to help support
some of these predatory lenders. My role, I interact with a lot of different
agencies, a lot of different organizations, but what struck me during this panel discussion
is the narrative is all the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s immigration, prison ministry,
payday lending, abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia. The narrative is all the same.
People have to be responsible for the work that they’re doing, and if they’re not going
to take responsibility—the comment about “Hey, you can’t do this because you’re going
to put us out of business,” well, isn’t that what we’re talking about? “You can’t do that
to us because you’re going to put us out of our livelihood.” Thank you, Mr. Francis. Kordie Marsenburg?
Yes. I am Kordie Marsenburg. I am a master’s level social worker, and I am also a community
health worker. Yes, sir, what you’re doing is good, but that
is called codependency. Even though what is happening is for the good, it is codependency,
and it is supporting the payday loan industry. What I would like to say is I have to take
early retirement, and I got caught up in payday loans. I would like to say thank you. I had
a chance to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and speak to the Federal Reserves, and I had a
chance to speak with the Chief Financial—President Obama’s chief financial man.
And I asked him, “Who hears us?” and I’m grateful that you’re here. Your research is accurate.
Please do not deter from it. I have an ask. Please look at locations. Location, location,
location. I have passed universities here lately, and payday loans are right in front
of the universities. Students have a hard enough time with student loans. Why tax these
kids with more financial problems and stress? And I would also ask, since the Affordable
Care Act is fining hospitals now for return visits and we have those patients—
Thank you, Ms. Marsenburg. Oh, please, fine on defaults. Fine those folks
on defaults. Thank you for being here today. Reverend Wallace Sr.? Reverend Wallace II? The next group of five includes Eva Creydt
Schulte, Claudia Nelson, Reverend Brandon Mims, Carrie Hollis, and Shalon Collier . Eva
Schulte? Claudia Nelson?
I’m Eva Schulte. I am the Director of Communities Creating Opportunity. For 15 years, we have
confronted payday lending. We have seen how usury rates in Missouri protected families
in the ’90s at 28 percent APR, and when overturned, now the profiteering that’s happening within
our region is spiraling them into debt. Ms. Marsenburg, having double master’s degrees,
should not have to take out a payday loan that is designed to keep her in a cycle where
she is unable to pay. If you don’t have the money today, you don’t have it in 2 weeks.
We encourage the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make longer repayment. We encourage
the CFPB to make sure that the products that we have do not go above 36 percent APR, and
we encourage the CFPB to make sure that usury doesn’t happen in our region. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Schulte. Claudia Nelson?
Good morning. I’m Claudia Nelson. I am a part of CCO as well, and I stand to say that I
live in a community where I built my home. I’ve never had a payday loan, thank God, but
I have family members who have. And in my neighborhood, there are at least five within
walking distance of my house—five, all booming, doing a great business.
One of the panelists stated that they are going to go out of business. I highly doubt
that. The system of paying people less than a livable wage who have families to feed is
going to keep payday loans in business. They’re not going out of business. They also don’t have to distort from people
the amount of triple-digit interest rates, so that people don’t have an option.
A statement was also said that people have an option. There is no option for someone
who has to decide whether to feed their family to pay their rent, get their car fixed, and
there’s someone on the corner saying, “Just give us your banking account. We’ll give you
$300.” People are desperate. People are desperate. People have lost their homes, lost their jobs,
lost their—everything that they had. Thank you, Ms. Nelson.
Thank you. Reverend Brandon Mims? Carrie Hollis?
Hi. I’m Carrie Hollis, and I would just like to say that in the brief review that I’ve
had the rule, it almost seems socialistic.  It assumes that the government has a better
insight for consumers that obtain $300 to $500 loans than the consumers themselves. If anyone has an opportunity to obtain a cheaper
loan, surely they would take it. If this rule is implemented, what will be the impact on
the local economies and of the consumers that do not pay back the loans? Will there be a
study of these aspects of the rule? All of these consumers will still need credit. This
rule seems to exceed the Bureau’s authority, and as proposed, it’s overbroad and hurts
the very people it is trying to help. Consumers still need more credit options, not less,
and this seems to be exactly what the rule is going to accomplish. Thank you, Ms. Hollis. The next group of five
includes Alicia Brown, Winifred Jamieson, Steve Reuter, Dave Barringer, and Brittany
Hill. My name is Shalon Collier, actually. I was
recently featured in an op-ed in the Kansas City Star as a previous customer. I don’t
know all the details of the proposal, but I do appreciate the effort of everyone here
today. Thank you, Ms. Collier. Alicia Brown?
I work for a family-owned payday lending company. I’m going to absolutely disagree with stores
closing because I’ve already seen it within my company. I’ve already seen it within the
state licensings when you go onto their website and look. I’m the compliance officer for my
company, so it is my job to work with state regulators and to make sure that our company
follows the letter of the law. There are states that may need a little bit
more stricter regulation, but the laws that you put out, these proposed rules, are going
to shut down the little guys. I mean, there is no way you can do a one-size-fits-all for
all of us. I think we need to focus on illegal lending or with those states that do have
these horror stories of customers that have been mistreated. I’m not going to lie. There
are some, but there is so much good that we have done where we do not want top abuse customers
or to harm customers or to have them file bankruptcy. We are good people. There is a need for us. We cannot go away.
Right now, my contracts are three pages long, full of information our customers need to
need in nice large print. It’s not little small print. We review everything.
Thank you, Ms. Brown. Winifred Jamieson? Steve Reuter?
Hello. My name is Steve Reuter. I am one of American Credit Services single store located
in St. Louis. I started in the finance business in the mid-’90s when I noticed the need for
someone to borrow $300 to $500 based on an income of $1,500 to $2,000 a month. The new
rules would limit me to make that customer a $75 loan. That would not fit the customer’s
needs. I would be priced out of business, as customers will have no other options to
get the money they need. When processing our loan applications, we
currently turn out 50 percent of applications due to creditworthiness and lack of income.
Once these rules are adopted, I would lose everything. My employees would lose their
jobs and insurance. I had to take out a loan to build my business.
I will be defaulted on my loan. My landlord would lose his lease. Vendors would lose their
income. The state would lose my taxes and licensing fees. The losses will go on and
on and have a huge impact on the borrowers in our economy.
My business is regulated by the state, and I am audited every year to make sure I am
in compliance by the law. I have never been cited by the state, never had a complaint
on my business. If my customers fall in a situation and they cannot pay their loan,
I offer them a payment plan to help them pay off their loan. If you put me out of business,
my customers are going to go elsewhere, like the offshore operator that charges a much
higher APR, or the black market, which will cause corruption and more crime in our city.
Thank you, Mr. Reuter. Dave Barringer.
Hi. I’m David Barringer, National CEO for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic
network of volunteers in 4,400 U.S. communities. Last year, the society provided nearly a billion
dollars in cash and in-kind services to over 14 million people in need. On behalf of the
Society, I thank the Bureau for the opportunity to testify.
In our 600,000 home visits annually with people in need, the ascensions hear all too often
about the financial and emotional damage caused by predatory loans. This is why we support
strong regulation. Two-week loans often get rolled over and are still liabilities months
later, leading to stress and shamed as meals are skipped or medical appointments are canceled.
Predatory loans also divert valuable and limited community resources away from meeting human
needs. Instead of buying clothes or food or helping to make a rent payment, nonprofits’
financial resources go to lenders to pay off high-interest debt. Too many people struggle
to make ends meet and frequently need help. This calls for compassion, not exploitation.
The Society thanks the Bureau in its efforts to rein in abuses of predatory lending. Thank
you. Thank you, Mr. Barringer. The next group includes
Kayla Baylock, Courtney Reeder, Wendy Hurst, Nick Bourke. Brittany Hill? Kayla Baylock? Courtney Reeder?
Hi. I’m Courtney, and I work for Check Into Cash. And I just want to say that I was a
customer years ago. I’ve been in the industry for, like, 9 years, and I had to do loans
a long time ago when I was 18, and they helped me. And I got on my feet, and then I became
an employee. I love what I do. I help people. My customers love me. They come into my store.
They know what they’re coming in for, and I go over everything that’s in black and white.
And they sign it. They agree to it, and they come back and they see me. And we talk about
everything that needs to be talked about, and that’s it. Thank you, Ms. Reeder. Wendy Hurst?
Hi. Good afternoon. I am a district manager for Check Into Cash. I spent 15 years of my
life working for non-for-profits, some of those non-for-profits in this room. Everything
I do today helps people. Not everything I did before helped the public. There are twelve-hundred-thousand of us across
the nation. Who is going to take care of my family when I don’t have a job? Are the charities going to step in and pay
the electric bills that I can’t pay? No.
Are they going to step in and take care of my rent or pay education for my children?
They’re not for yours either. I am a responsible lender, and I take care of our employees.
I take care of our customers, and I ask people not to come back. There—
Thank you, Ms. Hurst. Nick Bourke? Thank you. I’m Nick Bourke, the director of
the Small-Dollar Loans Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. We are a public policy
research organization. The Bureau cited a lot of our research in its rule.
There’s a lot of harm in the payday loan market, and reform is urgently needed. This rule has
flaws, however, but it can still be fixed. To my friends in the consumer advocacy community,
this rule leaves too many people at risk. It leaves too many 400 percent APR loans on
the market. It gives payday lenders too much power to dictate whatever terms they want
as long as they collect the right data, file the right paperwork, and remain powerful enough
to take money directly from the borrowers’ checking accounts.
And to those at banks and credit unions, this rule blocks you out of this market. It stops
you from making lower cost available. Will payday lenders complete endless paperwork
to make a $400 loan and they’ll take on regulatory risk? You will not. You need clearly defined
rules which are lacking. There are a lot of borrowers here. We’ve talked to hundreds around
the country. They’ve told us they sometimes turn to small credit to get help paying bills.
They’re desperate for affordable payments, lower cost, and fairer terms. We urge the
CFPB to help borrowers get what they want. We urge the CFPB—
Thank you, Mr. Bourke. —to fix this rule by putting clear product
safety standards in. Thank you. The next group includes Martha Huffman, Carmelita
Clark, Markita Taylor, Julie Riddle, and Amanda Brewer. I see a young lady standing by Ed.
Good afternoon. I’m Kayla Blaylock. I’m a regional director with Advance America. I’ve
recently— I’ve recently relocated my entire family to
Kansas. You know, eliminating cash advances does not erase the consumer’s need for short-term
credit or ease the challenges that they face. These are real challenges that our customers
are facing. Consumers choose cash advances because they are reliable and transparent
and they do help them in their time of need. You know, we’re very proud to say we have
a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate. When the customers come in the rate their experience,
and, you know, 97 percent of them have a great experience with us. Consumers benefit from
more choices, not fewer. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Blaylock. Martha Huffman?
Yes. My name is Martha Huffman, and I’m a retired teacher, but my experience comes from
my neighbor. She is a young mother with four children at home, and she fell behind on her
utilities, so she took out a title loan. She took out an $800 title loan and she’s had
so much trouble paying it back that not only is her electricity off, she’s also lost her
car. She has come around the neighborhood asking people for food because she has not
enough money to buy groceries. While I understand the need for the payday
lending industry to make a living, it is not right to make a killing. When I look in the
eyes of her children— —I realize that what you’re killing is the
future of the children in this country, and you’ve got to stop. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Huffman. Carmelita Clark?
Hi. I am Carmelita. I am not against payday loan companies. I am against the high interest
rates being charge. Son lost car, car title loan. Friend, homeless, living in her car,
three payday loans. They started garnishing her disability check. What can I do, Lord,
I said? He said, as a songwriter, write a song, produce a music video: Beware of Payday
Loans. YouTube. Hook. I know you’ve got loans; we all do. Car notes, house notes, school
loans, too. But payday loan interests will rob you blind. It’s the biggest hustle of
all times. Thank you, Ms. Clark. Markita Taylor?
Thank you. I’m Markita Taylor, and I really want to speak from—certainly to talk about
the problems that my sister had. My sister took out payday loans. She’s extremely educated,
two master’s degrees, wonderful, kind, caring, had an emergency and was stuck in those payday
loans. I would have to take her all over town to pay the interest on this one to take care
of this one, because the interest was astronomical. She no longer has payday loans because she’s
dead. Sorry to hear that, Ms. Taylor. Thank you
for being here today. Julie Riddle? Good morning. I’m Julie Riddle with the United
Way of Greater Kansas. We represent six counties in the Kansas City metro area and we want
to join our voices to the chorus of people calling for common sense regulation of small-dollar
and short-term lenders. Specifically, we’re looking for longer repayment terms— —limits on harmful collection practices,
and ensuring people are able to repay the loans. We’re also disputing the term “short-term”
for many families, because they have to renew the loans, roll over the loans, refinance
the loans multiple times. We really support market-based interventions, but we want the
market to do better. We need the market to support the long-term financial stability
families throughout our community and create bridges and not sinkholes. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Riddle, and thank you for bearing
with the microphone. We’ll see if we can get a better microphone in that area.
The next group includes Amy Keaton, Bridget Hughes, Amelia Reyes, Ryan Miller, and Lesia
Manning. Amanda Brewer is next. I’m standing in for Amanda Brewer. My name
is Shaun Ilahi, and I am general counsel for Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, Nebraska. Like
many other Habitat volunteers and staff throughout the country, I’m here today to urge for a
strong CFPB rule to stop the harmful cycle of payday loans. In Nebraska, payday lenders
charge as high as 460 percent annual interest rates. Payday lending and payday-type loans
are a trap that takes advantage of weak and desperate moments and extorts money over time.
Habitat for Humanity works to reduce the cost of housing to families and advocates for affordable
renting units. We want to support individuals that thrive on strengths, stability, and independence.
Habitat for Humanity is a proud partner of Nebraska Appleseed and has worked to promote
consumer protection against the abuses of payday lending. Clear guidelines and standards
cannot be undervalued, and we appreciate CFPB’s courage and leadership on this issue. Thank
you. Thank you, Mr. Shaun. Amy Keaton?
My name is Amy Jude Keaton. I am reasonably intelligent. I am college-educated. I have
a master’s degree in English from Kansas State University. Ten years ago, I left my career
of 10 years teaching university classes to take care of my mother. When she passed away
in 2011, I began to struggle because I lost my home. I could no longer afford the rent
that she had been paying, and I could not find a job teaching in the Kansas City area.
I took out a payday loan last year because I had been struggling desperately to meet
my needs, my basic needs—my rent, my electricity, my water, my trash, and my garbage.
I thought, with my income from my retail that I do that I would be able to pay it back and
that everything would be okay within a month. And you get into that mindset when you are
struggling, that tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. So I took out the loan, even though
I knew it wasn’t a very good idea. I got into the point where they were expecting me to
give them $297 in cash every 2 weeks, and they would give me back $250 to struggle to
pay my bills. I was paying almost $100 a month just to take my own paycheck home.
I could no longer stand it, and I do want to just add to this. Catholic Charities and
the Kansas Loan Program did pay off all of my loans. I have a loan with Country Club
Bank that costs me $62 a month, and that will be paid off in full in September.
Thank you, Ms. Keaton. Bridget Hughes? Amelia Reyes?
Hi. My name is Amelia Reyes, and I’m with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. I
run our Kansas loan pool project. And the real issue for us that we saw is that the
community was really being damaged and not able to meet the needs that they had, because
they get so far behind in these loans that they are literally paying interest and nothing
to principal. That’s not acceptable. We need to find a way to adjust what’s going on with
the payday lending industry so that the product allows them to pay off. People do get in desperate
situations and they need options, but those options can’t put them in a place where they
will never get out from under it. We see a lot of people with fixed income who
come in, and their fixed income is never going to adjust. They are the ones who suffer the
most because they have no way of ever getting out from under things. So we need regulators
to help us, to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of when they are most
vulnerable. Thank you, Ms. Reyes. Ryan Miller?
My name is Ryan Miller, and I’m Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Ohio.
I represent the interest of 51 Habitat affiliates in the Buckeye State. Habitat for Humanity
serves low-income families at 30 to 80 percent of the area median income. This income group
is the same population that is inundated with vehicle title lenders. At Habitat for Humanity,
we’re not just building but also lenders. We offer affordable mortgages to Habitat homeowners
who go through a rigorous qualification process. We prepare our homebuyers for success by verifying
their ability to repay the loan. We have seen the negative effects of payday
lending on applicants for Habitat home ownership. Payday and car title lenders began exploiting
loopholes in Ohio’s law shortly after millions of Ohio voters overwhelmingly affirmed capping
interest rates at 28 percent. We respectfully request CFPB to issue a strong rule without
loopholes to stop the payday lending debt trap. We appreciate the leadership of Director
Cordray and the CFPB on this very important issue to hard-working families. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Miller. The next group includes Hank Klein, Mattie
Oakman, Reverend Tobias Schlingensiepen—I’m sure I mangled that; apologies in advance—Reverend
Susan McCann, Reverend Lloyd Fields, and Reverend Stevie Wakes. Lisa Manning? Hank Klein?
Yeah, I’m Hank Klein, founder of Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending, and I’m going
to talk about something no one else has talked about here. What happens when the payday lenders
leave? In Arkansas, we had payday loans for 10 years, from 1999 to 2009, even though the
interest rate charged exceeded our 17 percent constitutional usury limit many times over.
It took 10 years and hard work to overcome the payday lenders, with three Arkansas Supreme
Court opinions in 2008. A year later, the last payday lender left our state and we’ve
been payday loan-free for the last 7 years. How are people doing in Arkansas? Much better
than before. A recent survey conducted 7 years after the
payday lenders left found, in our state, that a significant majority of former borrowers
said their financial life was better off when there was no payday lenders enticing them
by offering quick cash at high-cost payday loans. Though payday loans may seem like a
lifeline during times of financial strife, they’re actually an anchor that causes the
borrower to sink deeper and deeper in a sea of debt that’s hard to get out of.
Thank you, Mr. Klein. Please issue a strong rule so that the nation
can get out of payday loans everywhere. Mattie Oakman?
I’m Mattie Oakman, and I need to thank Catholic Charities for the work. I am a volunteer.
I am also a college graduate. But the reason I went and got the payday loan is, after my
42 years in banking, as an African American, the first one ever hired to sit in the front
row of National Bank of Commerce, no one would give me a loan. Even though they had over
$240,000 of our family money, I could not borrow $1,000. That’s the reason for the payday
loan, and I do thank the payday loan, and the reason I borrowed is my son’s medication
costs $1,300 and they said, “Oh, we can’t help you because you’re Oprah Winfrey’s family
and y’all got too much money in y’all’s bank account.” Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Oakman. Reverend Tobias Schlingensiepen. Reverend Susan McCann? Reverend Lloyd Fields? Reverend Stevie Wakes? The next group includes Merle Zirkle, Seft
Hunter, Reverend Edmondson, Elliott Clark, and Larry Ginter. Merle Zirkle? Go ahead.
Hello. I’m Reverend W.T. Edmondson from Jefferson City, Missouri. We have started trying to
deal with payday lending for a number of years. We were collecting petitions. Petitions were
stolen in Springfield, Missouri. We have found, and we have had individuals to come and testify
before us, and there are many problems. You’ve heard all the problems. The fact of the matter
is, no one wishes to put the payday lenders out of business. We simply want them to do
fair business, and fair business, if it’s good enough—36 percent is good enough for
the military, it’s good enough for the rest of the country. Thank you, Reverend Edmondson. Seft Hunter? Elliott Clark? Larry Ginter? The next group includes Rashin Moore , Scott
Morris, Ashley Tisby Jennifer Crim, and Tim Thomas. Let’s start with Rashin Moore.
Hi. My name is Rashin Moore. This rule is going to have a devastating impact on the
industry that far exceeds the Bureau’s authority. Seventy percent of the lending industry will
go away, particularly the small businesses that serve rural areas. This is not helping
the consumer. If you think the banks and credit unions will fill the space, you just don’t
know the consumer very well. Banks and credit unions could have services long ago if they
wanted to. They made a conscious and logical choice not to serve these consumers, as we’ve
heard earlier today. Thank you, Ms. Moore. Scott Morris?
From what I can see, there’s no credible evidence to back up what this rule was outlining for
a $300- to $800-loan. It’s totally unreasonable and ridiculous. I have to ask, how many focus
groups have you had with customers to run this rule by them, or how many stores have
you visited and talked with the actual consumers? It appears that this rule has been made up
in a vacuum, and that there is no real-world evidence to back up the need for such a draconian
rule that will hurt the very people that the rule was supposed to help. From my years of serving customers and reading
through this rule, it appears to me to be unproven, unsupported, and illogical in its
totally incorrect assumptions. One would think it is just based on preconceived notions after
reading through it once. Thank you, Mr. Morris. Ashley Tisby?
Hello. My name is Ashley Tisby, and I want to start off by saying what I’ve said to so
many of my customers: Yes, this loan can become expensive if you don’t utilize the options
that are available to you, and I’d advise against if you feel as if this may be too
expensive for you. If you feel like you cannot pay this back within one or two payments,
I’d advise you to go ask a friend or family member to loan you the money to take out this
loan. What’s being missed here is when these rules
and regulations are passed, the employees are at risk. We lose our jobs. I was a part
of a layoff because of rules and regulations. I lost my place to live. I lived in my car
too, not because of a payday loan but because of rules and regulations that were passed.
I was homeless, because of the consumers not wanting to pay attention to us when we’re
explaining to them how this loan works, or not wanting to ask questions when they take
out this loan. I think it’s just as much of a responsibility
of a lender to provide this information to the consumers as it is to the consumers to
pay attention to the rules and regulations that are being in place by the lender. Thank you, Ms. Tisby. Jennifer Crim?
I was a loan officer for 7 years for a large financial institution. I had to turn away
numerous people every day because people who needed a small, short-term loan didn’t meet
our underwriting guidelines. The company I work for now helps where they don’t. I had
a mother whose son was in a horrible car accident and he was in critical condition. Because
of my organization, she was able to get to her son before he passed. We helped her when
no one else could. We offer solutions when there are no other options.
There are many, many stories like this and all of our customers are educated about the
written terms and conditions of the agreements that we provide. If the loan is treated responsibly,
people will not fall into the overused term today that has been called the debt trap. Thank you, Ms. Crim. The next group includes
Jamica Cox , Miguel Rodriguez, Amy Jude Keaton, Jim Davis, and Dorothy Kaiser. Tim Thomas? Jamica Cox? Miguel Rodriguez? Is that Ms. Cox?
Hi. My name is Jamica Cox, and I work for Sension X . And I’ve been in the payday loan
industry for about 11 years, and I just want to say I’m here to support not only the customers
but as well as the employees. We have families too, and we’re trying to make it just as much
as they are. We are always giving them the terms and the understanding of what these
terms will help them through in the future, so we can get them out of debt. Excuse me.
I’m very nervous, but I could not sit there and not say anything, knowing that I have
three children at home that look towards me to be supportive to them. So without me having
a job, this affects my children as well as my coworkers. And it’s really sad that we have to stand
here today and explains ourselves when we explained it to them several times, and ask
them, “Do you understand this? If you do not understand this, please ask questions.” Thank you, Ms. Cox. Miguel Rodriguez? Amy Jude Keaton? Jim Davis?
Hi. I’m Jim Davis, and I’m here as a former member of the Missouri Silver Haired Legislature,
which is an advocate group for seniors. We would meet once a year and we would devise
what we felt were the top priorities for seniors, and we’d present that to the state legislature.
The whole time I was involved, and well before that, payday loan reform was one of the top
issues that we submitted and we never got any support from it. We couldn’t get any action
taken. And I can say, with a high level of confidence, that the Missouri legislature
will never solve the payday loan problem in Missouri.
I also coordinate financial ministries for my congregation, and I’ve done this for about
10 years. And it’s a sad story, but most of the people I try to help, no kind of a loan
would help them. That’s just going to push them farther and farther into debt. I think
there’s a place for payday loans, but I think it’s highly abused.
And I have a question for the Bureau, actually. Thank you, Mr. Davis.
Okay. Thanks. The next group includes Elizabeth Glenn, Larry
Ginter, Steve Glorioso, Bishop James Tindall, and John Westin. And I’ll call for Dorothy
Kaiser. Elizabeth Glenn? Larry Ginter? Steve Glorioso? Bishop James Tindall? The next group includes John Westin, Barry
Brandon, Gynnie Robnett, Steven Reeves, Reverend George Paulwood, and Garland Land. John Westin?
My name is John Westin. I had some comments that I wanted to say regarding what I thought
was a little onerous of the over 1,300-page document or a $350 loan. But as I sat here
and listened, there was a couple of things that I wanted to notice. When Ms. Martinez
started the entire discussion today she said that the goal of the CFPB and their mission
is to “empower the consumer.” I’m not sure how taking things away from a consumer actually
helps empower them. Where does that leave their free choice? And
I’ve heard over and over discussions of personal responsibility. The consumer needs to have
personal responsibility. They’re empowered to do that. Director Cordray said, in his comments, that
“we want to restore a larger measure of control over their own financial condition,” for the
consumer. Again, by taking things away, how do we provide an additional control over their
own financial condition? I just don’t see it. So those are my questions.
Thank you, Mr. Westin. Thank you. Barry Brandon?
Hello. My name is Barry Brandon. I’m the Executive Director of the Native American Financial
Services Association, or NAFSA as it’s called. NAFSA represents over 20 federally recognized
Indian tribes that are currently involved in the short-term, online lending space. They
do so pursuant to tribal law, laws that are enacted by the tribe and authorized to run
these types of businesses. They also follow federal law. They also follow a model lending
code as established by NAFSA. They also follow best practices.
Interestingly, as was described about credit unions, tribes who operates these businesses
also operate nonprofit businesses. One hundred percent of the proceeds of these businesses
go back to fund basic services for the poorest people in this country. The tribes that we
work with are dedicated to regulation. They have established regulatory regimes that oversee
and operate these facilities. I think few would argue with the fact that Native Americans
in this country understand what it is to be discriminated against, to be oppressed, and
to be put down, and therefore our tribal leaders bring that same mindset as they do business
over the Internet, to service those who need these types of products. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Brandon. Gynnie Robnett?
Hi. My name is Gynnie Robnett, and I coordinate the Stop The Debt Trap campaign. We’re a campaign
of over 500 civil rights, labor, faith, consumer, and community organizations across the country
in all 50 states. And first we wanted to thank the CFPB for this action. This rule has the
potential to finally stop predatory practices that trap our communities and our families
in a cycle of debt. On behalf of one of our partners, I’m delivering
today 50,000 petition signatures urging the CFPB— —to put forth a strong final rule that will
finally stop the debt trap, and over the next 90 days, our partners and communities will
continue to work to provide comments to the CFPB in support of the strongest possible
rule. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Robnett. Chrissie, will you
receive the petitions? Thank you. Steven Reeves? Reverend George Paulwood? Garland Land?
I come as a volunteer from Independence, Missouri. I volunteer at the Holy Rosary Credit Union.
In the past 2 years the credit union has made loans to low-income people with an average
credit score of 575. The default rate has been 5 percent. The loan industry in Missouri
claims that their default rate is about 33 percent.
There’s two reasons why the credit union has a much lower default rate. First, the credit
union charges 5 to 20 percent interest rate as compared to a 455 percent interest rate
of the payday loan industry. Secondly, the credit union determines the applicant’s ability
to repay a loan. The small-loan industry does not determine an applicant’s ability to repay
the loan, even though Missouri law requires it. I hope the CFPB will keep the requirement
to determine if an applicant has the ability to repay a loan. There should be no exceptions
to that. I also volunteer weekly at one of the largest
food pantries in the Kansas City area. About 20 percent of our people who come to the pantry
have a payday loan. I often ask them, “What has been your experience?” I’ve never had
a single person say they were certainly glad that they could get a payday loan. In fact,
many of them say “that was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
Thank you, Mr. Land. The next group includes Andrew Szalay, Jennifer
Trogdon, Tamalu Brothers , Jennifer Simms, and Robin Moore. We’ll start with Andrew Szalay. Jennifer Trogdon? Tamalu Brothers? Jennifer Simms? Robin Moore?
Hello. My name is Robin, and I just want to say that I was a customer before I was an
employee. I work for Advance America. And I keep hearing that payday lenders are being
perceived as predatory, but I don’t recall them coming to my door, forcing me to get
a loan. It was my choice. I went to them to get the loan. I understood
the terms. I understood the amount I was taking out. I agreed to it. I signed the paper. That
was my responsibility to pay back the loan. Like I said, my choice to go there, my responsibility
to take out the loan. After I paid it back, I chose to work for Advance America because
I believe in what the company does and helps people, and I want to be one of those people
that helps the community and the people out there. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Moore. The next group includes
Brandi Trainer, Jared Martin, Pat Turner, Paul Curtman. Brandi Trainer? Jared Martin?
Hey, my name’s Jared. I want to discuss the rule for $300- to $500-loans. In my opinion
it’s completely arbitrary and it seems to be totally unreasonable. When you look at
the cooling-off period mentioned in the new rule, and combine that with percentage of
income to underwrite the loan, in my experience with this industry it’s absolutely arbitrary,
lacks any evidence that it can be backed up, and I think it’s pretty dangerous to try and
unravel something that would really hurt consumers by restricting access. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Martin. Pat Turner?
Hi. My name is Pat Turner, and I’m the President and CEO of Truman Heritage Habitat here in
Eastern Jackson County. The effects of payday lending in our community and throughout the
state are unmistakable. Habitat homeowner applicants, Habitat homeowners, Habitat friends
and loved ones with low income and no savings reserves have been faced with cash crunches.
Many of them have made a deal that was worse than the initial problem. The overwhelming
stress of these loans has more than just a financial impact. The financial strain of
trying to figure out how to get the money to pay off these loans impacts the borrower’s
health—physically, psychologically, and emotionally. If borrowers default, it damages
whatever credit they have and limits the chances of obtaining a loan later, which, in turn,
begets even more stress. We regulate mortgage debt. We regulate credit
card debt. We regulate auto debt. We must regulate payday and payday-type loans.
Thank you, Ms. Turner. Thank you so much, CFPB. Ed. Hi. Will you identify yourself?
Brandi Trainer with Advance America. Over the past 5 years I’ve been employed with Advance
America. During that time, I’ve done many different things with the company. My most
notable was probably working the counter as a center manager with my customers. Because
of Advance America and our lending product, I have been able to assist hundreds of customers
that had no other place to go. Taking access away from our customers would prove devastating
to their livelihood and place undue hardship on the people that I call my friends. Thank you, Ms. Trainer. Paul Curtman? The next group of five includes Nanette Phillips,
William Mullens, Mike Nisbet, Jackie Green , and Deena Beasley.
Good afternoon. My name is Chris Vaeth, and I lead the CFPB’s Office of Community Affairs.
It is a pleasure to be here with you in Kansas City. I am giving my boss, Zixta Martinez,
a little break. We will continue with the audience comments, starting with the group
of five that she named, and I will just say, in advance, that we appreciate the observation
of the 1-minute limit to ensure that we hear from as many of you as possible. Let’s please
continue to observe that limit. And with that we will start with Nanette Phillips.
Hi. My name is Nanette Phillips, and I wasn’t prepared to be able to speak before you, but
I thank you for listening. I had a payday loan, several many years ago, when I was new
to the Kansas City area, and I do see it as predatory, because they do come into your
house. There’s commercials. If you watch television, every other commercial is for a payday loan. And to me that is predatory. It was a car
issue that started it, and I took out two loans from two different companies, and I
could not pay them back so I had to get somebody else to pay that interest, so then I had three
loans. And that went on, every 2 weeks, just paying that $15 interest every 2 weeks, and
that went on for 6 months. And by the grace of God, my husband was able to get a job that
we were not living on minimum wage anymore, and that’s how I got out of that trap. But
I pity the poor people who can’t get out of the trap because they don’t have that extra
lift to get a better job. Thank you, Ms. Phillips. William Mullens?
I would like to draw attention to a couple of key points. One is it’s unfortunate that
I have to sit here and listen to employees working in this industry more or less being
played off against the 10 percent of the people who use these services who, I think, pretty
clearly are not up to the challenges of making the kind of choices that they’re being asked
to make. And so there’s an equity issue there. The second thing I’d like to draw attention
to is one comment regarding the use of algorithms and statistics and profiling by the industry.
This is only going to become more and more prominent, and in the process we’re going
to lose individuality, we’re going to be locking in entire blocks and ZIP codes, and I hope
that the Bureau is looking forward to how these techniques are going to be used more
and more aggressively in these loopholes. So a strong rule with few loopholes seems
like a very good idea to me, looking forward. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mullens. Mike Nisbet?
Hi. I’m a regional director for Flexible Finance, a local small business operating here in Missouri.
I’ve been in the industry for 13 years and regulations are not a new thing to us. We
have come to expect and accept change, and we welcome new, healthy consumer protections.
In Missouri we have protections in place including the 75 percent rate cap, renewal options requiring
5 percent mandatory principal reductions, and off-ramps, also extended payment plans.
The current CFPB proposal, in my opinion, does not offer additional healthy consumer
protections. I strongly urge you to speak directly to our consumers. When I ask them
how your proposal will affect them, they do not feel financially protected. Actually,
quite the opposite. They feel exposed and abandoned, knowing that they will have nowhere
to turn when they need the small dollar loan. With rising operating costs and strict limitations
proposed on the use of our products, the small business I work for simply will not survive.
In the absence of small businesses like mine, providing the necessary product, our customers
will turn to the black market where unlicensed lenders, both the industry and, most importantly,
the consumer loses. I sincerely hope to CFPB will be open to the
public feedback on the proposed rules and seriously consider alternatives before the
final rules are adopted. If adopted as proposed, our industry will cease to exist and the consumers
that we serve will not have access to the credit that they need when they need it.
Thank you, Mr. Nisbet. Jackie Green?
Hi. My name is Jackie Green, and I work for Advance America where I have been employed
for more than 8 years, and as has been said before earlier by several other speakers,
this is not only affecting our consumers. This is affecting the employees. The faces
of these companies are the ones that are going to be truly affected. Who’s going to pay my
house payment that I just bought? I’m a first-time home-buyer and now I’m threatened to not have
my home. You’re going to force me into bankruptcy before I’m 30. These are not things that are
available for the consumers. We need to not regulate what is available to them. What you’re
doing is making it even harder. It’s harder on me and my two kids if you pass the rules
that are proposed today. What about the Americans who have to work
and pay their bills? What about my children and the daycare and the food? I am an employee
for Advance America and I stand behind the product that is being regulated here today.
Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Green. I will call up the next
group of five. Reverend Wallace Hartsfield, Justin Hampton, Natasha Moss, Tonya Holmes,
and Pastor Leroy Glover. Please make your way toward the aisle. Deena Beasley? Reverend Wallace Hartsfield? Okay. We’ll come back. Natasha Moss? Tonya Holmes?
Good afternoon. My name is Tonya Holmes, and I’m a volunteer with AARP here in Kansas City,
Missouri. People on fixed incomes find themselves in difficult situations of their income not
stretching to the end of the month. Unexpected expenses like caring for a loved one, purchasing
necessary health items, or fixing a car—these things can send older Americans looking for
extra cash to get them through to the end of the month. The ease and availability of
payday loans and other predatory lending practices here in Missouri has led many people on fixed
incomes into a cyclical debt trap. When fees exceed interest rates of 400 percent,
it becomes nearly impossible to make that next check extend through the next month,
and the cycle continues. People are vulnerable who have fixed income, limited credit history,
or bad credit history. The business model of a payday loan lender demands that their
customers come back month after month, as they once again find themselves in the same
situation. This is a situation for which a payday loan is both a solution and the cause.
I represent, on behalf of over 760,000 AARP in the state of Missouri, I urge you to institute
common sense regulations on the payday lenders, or just, better put, pull the plug on the
entire predatory lending institution. Thank you, Ms. Holmes. The next five will be Dale Irwin, Reverent
C.L. Stancil, Rodney Bland, Jamaica Collins, and Eva Schultz. Now Pastor Leroy Glover.
First off, I’m glad to be named in the same group with Reverend Hartsfield. He’s standing
over to my right. But I want to say this first off. I’ve been
really listening, and one thing that anybody can say about me, I have honesty and integrity.
I’m the senior pastor of One Truth Ministries. I’m also the President of Foxtown East Neighborhood
Association, and as everybody can see, I’m the best-dressed in the room today.
But, you know, as I’ve been listening, I tried to listen to both sides, and I hope the people
that were on the panel today are still here, because if you’re not, that’s evidence that
you aren’t really concerned about what we have to say. So I hope that you’re still here
if you’re on the panel. But as I’ve been listening, I’ve also been
listening to the employees of some of these predatory lenders, and I call them predatory
lenders because they are. The reason I know is just as I know that Jesus Christ is Lord
and Savior, I also know because I was hired as a collector at one of these places. While
I was in training, I got fired on my fourth day because I kept asking them hard questions.
The reason why? I wasn’t down. They told me that their objective and their goals is to
keep you in debt. They do not want you to pay off the loan. So listen. When it comes to all the employees—and
I’ve noticed this too. All the employees that got up here and spoke, spoke about “woe is
me if I lose my job.” What about those that have? There are drug addicts, there are alcoholics,
there are gambling addicts, lots of people with addictions that have fallen into the
trap of this. You guys that are predatory lending, not the employees but the mamas and
daddies of it, you need to change your addiction too, and your mindset. Otherwise, you can’t
expect us to have sympathy for you if you don’t have sympathy for those that have already
hurt. Thank you, Pastor Glover. Did I hear that Reverend Hartsfield is here
in the room? Okay. Hi. My name is Wallace Hartsfield. I’m pastor
at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, with a regular membership of about 700. We have almost
10 percent of the people at our church that have been affected negatively by payday lending,
and I would just encourage the CFPB to take note of the fact that our charity efforts
are not being able to keep up with the injustices that are being put forth by payday lenders.
I’m not going to paint with a big paintbrush because I can’t speak for all of this nation,
but I can say with the communities that I am involved with, payday lending has not contributed
anything positive to our neighborhoods. Yes, it has provided small-dollar loans and
so forth but those loans have not built people. They have built profits and they have destroyed
people. Finally, let me say I keep hearing persons
say “if payday lenders go away, how are we going to fill the void?” I would say this
to you: There’s a great need in our neighborhoods for fathers in the home, but if I had to make
a choice of putting an abusive father into a home just so that I could have a father
in the home, I would not do that. That is not a reason to keep payday lenders around. Thank you, Reverend Hartsfield. Dale Irwin? What’s your name?
Justin Hampton. Okay, great.
Hi. My name is Justin Hampton, and I’ve actually worked for Quik Cash for the past 14 years.
I haven’t always lived in Kansas City. I’m from a small rural town in Missouri. You might
have heard of it—Sedalia, the state fair. I am not a pastor but my father is a pastor.
He’s not here today because he’s actually out spreading the word of God and not trying
to eliminate rights— —for Americans that need this credit. So
that being said, I also wish that there were a little bit more of the other stickers out
in the lobby, or in the audience, because I noticed after they spoke they left. I see
a lot of yellow out here. So I don’t want to preach to the crowd or preach to the choir,
but Mr. Mullens had made a comment about how he doesn’t like to hear from our point of
view because we work for the company. Very few actual customers have been in here today
disputing our product and services. I’ve seen a lot of groups coming in speaking on behalf
of other people, but I’ve yet—I think I’ve seen two customers out of all of the speakers
today, and everyone else is probably someone who has never had a payday loan. Thank you, Mr. Hampton. Now Dale Irwin? Reverend C.L. Stancil. Oh, sorry. Dale Irwin?
I’m Dale Irwin. I’m not being paid to be here today. I was a lawyer for Legal Aid in the
late 1970s when payday lending got its foothold in Kansas City, and it was illegal then, and
they were exploiting a usury loophole called a “brokerage fee.” I have battled this industry
my entire career. I’ve fought in the legislature. I’ve watched the lobbyists buy off legislators.
I know what happened when interest rates in Missouri went from 26.62 percent in 1989 to
450 percent in 1990, when the payday lending loan-sharking was legalized. And then I watched,
in 1998, when the usury cap was completely ripped off, and now there is no amount of
interest that is prohibited in Missouri. As a result, we have a case that came out
of the St. Louis Court of Appeals last year, Hollins v. Loan Express Co., where a woman
borrowed $80. They got a judgment against her for $2,000. They garnished her wages to
the tune of $5,000, and the balance on her loan, after that, is $19,000. I have not heard
anyone on that panel justify something like that. As a matter of fact, I didn’t hear anything— —I heard none of the industry representative
even mention the interest rates on these loans, and the traps—
Thank you, Mr. Irwin. —that people are put into by this predatory
situation. Thank you, Mr. Irwin. Reverend C.L. Stancil?
Hi. I’m Reverend C.L. Stancil. I’m here from St. Louis, Missouri, and I represent Wayman
AME Church, pastor at a major church in the city, and I heard one young man say that his
father was out preaching. I’m so glad. I’m here to speak truth to power, because that’s
my power. And we’ve got to be careful about the language
that I’m hearing. The language that I’m hearing is the same language that I’ve heard before.
When I listen to them talk and they talk about access, that the people need it, that the
people have to have it, and then we talk about the reoccurring cycle, it’s the same language
that I hear from the drug dealers when I try to get them out of my community. And just
like I try to get the drug dealers out of my community, I want the predatory lenders
out of my communities as well, because they’re doing the very same thing.
We need regulation, we need underwriting rules, and we need caps. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Reverend Stancil. Rodney Bland? My name is Natasha Moss, and
I would just like to say that I live in the
communities that we are discussing here today, and as a consumer, I have used payday loans
to help pay for my education. It’s not possible for me to walk into any of the churches in
my neighborhood to get help, to help pay for my education. The cost of tuition continues
to rise, and as it rises, I have to find ways to pay for my education. So as a consumer,
this has been a tool that has been accessible to me, and it has been beneficial to me. I
have been able to pay for tuition, to pay for books. I take classes online at time.
I’m charged extra at my university to take classes online, and this has been a tool that
has been beneficial to me. Thank you. And Rodney Bland? No? Okay. Jamaica Collins? We’ll call a group of five more and then come
to Eva Shultz. The next five will be John Sharp, Louie Kitcher, Teresa Kirkwood, Pat
Dukovich, Pedro Zamora. Eva Shultz? John Sharp? Louis Kitcher?
Larry Ginter. Thank you.
Hi. My name is Larry Ginter. I’m a third-generation family farmer from Rhodes, Iowa. I’m a member
of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and National People’s Actions.
I want to be clear: I did not get paid to be here. I came here to stand in solidarity with all
those folks who are caught up in the never-ending downward spiral of debt bondage to payday
lenders. I came here to charge the CFPB to protect those folks who are caught up in the
debt trap by ruthless payday lenders. Debt bondage has always been one of the crimes
that was led and does lead to unrest and poverty all over the planet. Here in America, the
crime of usury makes me mad. We’ve seen way too many times the devastating effects of
predatory payday lending in our communities and our families. It has to stop now, and
you have the opportunity to do that. You, CFPB, need to issue strong and comprehensive
rules with no loopholes to fix this injustice now.
Thank you. Teresa Kirkwood? Pat Dukovich? Pedro Zamora? Okay. The next group of five are Samuel Chu,
Claudette Humphrey, Reverend Clinton, Dave Tripper, Steve Kellogg. Samuel Chu? Claudette Humphrey? Reverend Clinton? Dave Tripper?
It’s Dribbee . Let’s take the hypothetical person who was talked about by one of the
speakers, Lisa, who was a single parent with a young girl child, and a victim of domestic
abuse. Let’s look at her situation. First of all, I’m going to recommend to that guy
not to lend her the $2,000 if she lives in the state of Missouri, and especially if she
lives on the north side of Springfield, Missouri, because there’s no way she’s going to pay
that back. Let’s be generous and say that working two
jobs, she might bring home $400 a week, and 10 percent of that, $40, she put away for
this payday loan. There would be 50 weeks if she didn’t have any interest, and we all
know how much in interest she’d pay over that period of time. But let’s think about the
other things that she’s going to have to deal with. She’s going to have to deal with the
fact that because she’s working the two jobs, she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, so she’s
going to have to come up with some kind of health insurance or she’s going to be responsible
for the health of her child. Think about food, clothing, shelter, et cetera. If anything
goes wrong, like maybe she has trouble with her car, think about the impact of that. Think
about the kinds of things that a person deal with every day, when you are poor, and you
can’t afford to have 10 percent of your income to pay off a $2,000 predatory loan.
We want fair and responsible lending, not usury.
Thank you. I’ll call the next five and then we’ll come
back to Steve Kellogg. The next five are Julie Kalkowski, Mary Hussmann, Jason Adams, Chris
Gilker, Shaun Ilahi. Steve Kellogg. My name is Steve Kellogg. I’m from Independence,
Missouri, and from 2005 to 2012 I was the Central Mission Financial Officer for Community
of Christ. We handled 30 congregations and about 10,000 members. We have a program we
call Oblation, which assists people who have unusual circumstances—job losses, illness,
accidents—to help them get through the crisis so they can be restored to financial stability.
We don’t provide any support for loans. We pay for utilities, clothing, shelter, basic
transportation. In order to help people, we encourage stewardship, we encourage people
to be responsible in their borrowing. The one time I broke that rule was when we
had a gentleman who had taken out a title loan on his car, and when I found out what
the interest rate was and how much he was paying, and the fact that he was unemployed
and was going to lose his transportation and his ability to search for a job, I went ahead
and paid the payday loan. We have people who get trapped because of
the way these rules are structured. And so for me, personally, the question comes down
to, if I were a person, and somebody in my family, or one of these panelists, if somebody
in their family needed a loan, would they encourage them to get a payday loan or would
they say, “No, there’s a better way in order to make your life stable.”
Thank you, Mr. Kellogg. Julie Kalkowski? Hello. I’m here representing the single mothers
I work with in Omaha, Nebraska. We had focus groups around payday lenders. This is what
they told me to tell you that they need. They need affordable monthly payments. They cannot
pay you back $500 after they borrowed it 2 weeks ago. They need longer repayment periods.
They want you to limit the percentage rate. Right now in Nebraska it’s 460 percent. Maybe
3 percent of the people borrowing at 460 percent can pay you back in 2 weeks but then the other
97 percent cannot. They want you to eliminate loan flipping.
I do know Robin. Robin told me to tell you, as a customer of payday loans, here is an
example—960 percent daily APR, 7-day term, $75 origination fee. No one can pay that back.
So I urge you to look at maybe Colorado. I know we’ve got to have a product that cash
flows, but there’s got to be a balance between dignity and cash flow. Profits should not
take precedence over poor people. Thank you. Mary Hussmann? Jason Adams? Chris Gilker? Oh, Jason Adams?
CFPB, we would like you to really take a look at this proposed rule. From the panel today
and several people, 1.5 percent of people have filed complaints. I believe that was
your statistic. These are products that help and benefit people, and one of the things
that I am not hearing today is a differentiation. There are responsible lenders out there. There
are people treating people fairly. There are products that are beneficial to the consumer.
We need to make a differentiation between those of us running an ethical business and
the ones that you guys are labeling broadly predatory. Your sweeping regulation cannot
go. It will put too many good Americans out of work.
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Adams. Chris Gilker? I want to share my experience for my family
and people I know at my church who have used small-dollar loans, and it helped them out.
They’re not all negative experiences, as we seem to hear. If they didn’t have access to
that small dollar amount of loans, I don’t know where they would have gone. Look, these
people can budget. They can make their own decisions, and they use this product responsibly.
I look at little bit at the CFPB rule, and it doesn’t seem to have real-world economics
to it. It sounds a little bit like the credit union product that was out there. The consumers
didn’t want it, and lenders can’t make any money on it. So it doesn’t look like these
rules will solve any needs. It sounds like there’s some rate controls, some price controls,
and a whole bunch of regulation. That’s not going to create any additional access. It’s
not going to replace any credit to any markets that you’re trying to serve. Thank you, Mr. Gilker. Please go ahead.
My name is Mary Hussmann. I’m from Columbia, Missouri. I want to tell you a little bit
about my experience about why maybe you’re not getting complaints. First of all, people
don’t know where to file a complaint. Are you supposed to file it—are you supposed
to file it where you got the loan? Are you supposed to file it with the state government?
I mean, who do you file a complaint with about? Okay. Part two. I went in with a friend of
mine, and he signed for somebody else. He didn’t know what he was doing because he just
didn’t understand it. But he signed for somebody else. The other guy got the $200. They went
after this young man. He wanted me to go in and help him straighten it out because he
didn’t know anything about it. He didn’t get any money.
So I went in. I started doing the complaint. I said he didn’t know what he was signing,
this, that, and the other. Turn around; here’s the police. They said, “You’re interfering
with business here.” I said, “I’m interfering with business? I’m putting in a complaint.”
They said, “No, you’re interfering with business. You’re leaving, or you’re going to get arrested.”
And I said to her, I said, “You called the police on us, on me and my friend?” She said,
“I sure did. You’re interfering with business.” Well, how are you going to get complaints
with something like that happening? Thank you. And that may present an opportunity for me
to announce the CFPB does have a complaint system on our website. You can file a complaint
at consumerfinance.gov, and the telephone number, which is staffed in nearly 180 languages,
is 855-411-CFPB. The next five will be Jamie Turn, Reverend
Dr. Jim Hill, Danny Chisholm, Reverend Rodney Williams, and Rabbi Doug Alpert. And I think
Shawn Ilahi had an opportunity. Am I correct? Okay. And Shelly? Okay.
Hi. I am Elliott Clark. I want to thank Director Cordray. We met before in D.C. I appreciate
you coming to Kansas City. It made my day. Thank you, Chris, as well.
You all know my story, but they’re talking about how people are taking this money and
goofing it off or whatever. Well, I didn’t. My wife fell and broke her ankle. I fell on
hard times. I was struggling, doing the best I can. I got $25,000 medical bills. I’ve got
lights, gas, water to pay; two girls in college. My other daughters are trying to have babies.
I’m doing the best I can with what I have, the good Lord gave me. They say, “Pull yourself
up by your own bootstraps.” Well, that’s what I’m doing. I’m also a United States marine,
so you know I don’t give up. I going to keep right on fighting. So now they’re telling me that, “Oh, okay.
Well, they’re going to put us out of business if we don’t have”—get this—”the right
rules.” They want us to ease up on the rules that you’re trying to bring forth. Well, hey,
what about people like myself? We’re struggling. We’re fighting. We’re trying to do the best
we possibly can, but just because you got a job for the payday loan company does not
mean that you go by the same rules that they do. They make their rules. All they do is
hire you to enforce them. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Clark, and thank you for sharing
your story. Jamie Turn? Reverend Dr. Jim Hill? Danny Chisholm?
Good afternoon. My name is Danny Chisholm. I’m pastor of University Heights Baptist Church
in Springfield, and recently, our church entered into a partnership with a credit union near
our building. And we have been able to assist and help persons who have been trapped in
payday and title loans, and while this has been very rewarding for us and for me personally,
it’s also reinforced the idea that much more needs to be done in terms of regulating this
industry. And I wanted to tell you what really has me
invested emotionally and otherwise in this issue. First of all are the stories, the stories
of the people who are really ashamed in some ways and embarrassed to talk about the fact
that they have gone to these companies and gotten a loan and then 2 weeks later and 2
weeks later and so on, and they have fallen into a cycle that they can’t get out of. And
so we have been doing our best to assist them. But the other thing that has gotten me invested
is when I actually saw a loan application for $650, and the interest rate was 450 percent.
And I realize this is beyond the purview of the Bureau, but it made me ask the question:
How can this be right to do this to other people? I can’t think of a scenario when this
amount would be justified. And so I simply rise to commend the Bureau
for taking these steps, and any additional regulations you might have would be appreciated.
Thank you, Mr. Chisholm. Reverend Rodney Williams?
Good afternoon. My name is Reverend Rodney Williams. I am the pastor at Swope Parkway
United Christian Church here in Kansas City, president of the Missouri Faith Voices, and
board member of MORE2. The reason that I have so much concern is
that several members of the church in which I’ve pastor have come to me in confidence
and shared with me their situations with payday lending. They felt shamed. They felt abused,
and they could not find any way out of this debt cycle. And so what I’m hoping for today
is that the Bureau’s proposals will go forth and will help us enter into what I believe
is called the emancipation from poverty. That we need to be emancipated from poverty and
predatory lending tools that payday loans are tools help to create oppression rather
than tools to create opportunities. I think that the banking industry, the payday
loan industry, which I do believe have some type of connection, should be tools of opportunity
where people can live the American dream. God bless you. Thank you, Reverend Williams. In a moment,
we’ll come to Rabbi Doug Alpert. The next five will be Susan Schmalzbauer, Jennifer
Trogdon, Tom Faulkner, Colleen Simon, and Marla Marantz. Rabbi Alpert?
Good afternoon. Rabbi Doug Alpert with Congregation Kol Ami, here in Kansas City. I’m the board
of Missouri Faith Voices, Faith Co-chair Missouri Jobs with Justice, and Clergy Caucus, a metropolitan
organization for racial and economic equity. I stand with the many, many people of compassion
who are tired of seeing lives destroyed and our communities destroyed through predatory
lending. I can tell you the compassion is not the lobbyists who descend on our State
Capitol every year from the payday lending industry. It’s not the obscene campaign contributions
that go to Missouri legislatures to keep decent and reasonable regulations from being enacted
here in Missouri, and it is not greed and self-interest disguised as compassion and
concern for the borrowers. I’m here to say thank you to CFPB for your
compassion, and I would ask you simply to follow your own meticulous research in enacting
the strongest rules without loopholes to protect borrowers going down the road from here.
And, finally, I would say if your business model is based on charging triple-digit percentage
rates or interest rates, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business. Thank you. Thank you, Rabbi Alpert. Susan Schmalzbauer?
Hi. I’m Susan Schmalzbauer from Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, and we are a group
of clergy and lay leaders who are concerned about our community in Springfield.
And what we see is that payday harms us all. With the 450 percent interest rate, it not
only destroys the borrowers, but also our whole community. We see this in the Department
of Urban Development—Housing and Urban Development’s designation of Springfield as a severely distressed
city. The Impacting Poverty Commission reports has flagged predatory lending as a symptom
of poverty in our city. We have seen it in the human toll on our neighbors.
Kathy needed gas money to travel from Springfield to St. Louis for heart life-saving heart surgery.
She took out a $100 payday loan to fill up her gas tank. To pay back that loan, she paid
$30 twice a month for more than 2 years. Ultimately, she paid $1,500 for a tank of gas to save
her life. A young professional was strapped with student
loans and a car repair bill, a broken alternator. He took out a payday loan and spiraled into
what he tearfully told me—he described this as the worst 6 months of his life.
Thank you, Ms. Schmalzbauer. Jennifer Trogdon?
My name is Jennifer Trogdon, and I’m from Springfield, Missouri. I am a mother of five,
with four of them special needs. My husband, he makes barely over minimum wage, and I am
disabled with heart, lung, and arthritis problems. An auto emergency caused us to take out a
$400 payday loan, and that turned over to be over $3,000 over a 4-year period. We had
to take out a $500 title loan to help with daily needs, gas, utilities, and had to keep
paying on that. Total, it ended up being over $6,000 for both loans.
Recently, we got help with the payday loan through a local church with a credit union,
University Heights, and we just recently paid off our title loan. And we are currently payday-
and title loan-free. Thank you, Ms. Trogdon, and thank you for
sharing your story. Tom Faulkner? Colleen Simon?
I speak today for Bishop Roger Gustafson of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, who thanks the CFPB for considering changes in the rules
that govern short-term consumer lenders. The human devastation created by predatory lenders
in Missouri and Kansas is unmistakable, and substantial revisions in the laws governing
them regarding payday installment and car title loans is essential.
I am writing because we believe God is at work in economic life, and therefore, how
we manage that life is a deeply theological issue. In the statement, sufficient, sustainable,
livelihood for all, our denomination affirms that economic life is intended to be a means
through which God’s purposes for humankind and creation as to be served. When this does
not occur, as a church, we cannot remain silent. God stands in judgment of those in authority
who fall short of their responsibility. God is moved with compression to deliver the impoverished
from all that oppresses them. A Lutherans, we believe the purpose of government
is to oversee and promote the common good. In considering these rule changes, you have
an opportunity to make our community safer for their most vulnerable members. Therefore—
Thank you, Ms. Simon. Thank you very much for your reasonable limits.
Thank you. We will come to Marla Marantz. The next group
of five will be Pastor Wes Helm, Gordon Martinez, John Miller, David Gerth, and Dr. Rex Archer.
Marla Marantz? Hello. My name is Marla Marantz. I’m from
Springfield, Missouri, and I’m with Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri and Temple Israel
Sisterhood. Springfield, Missouri, has the most rapidly
increasing poverty in the state, with a greater percentage of people living in poverty than
in St. Louis or Kansas City. In Greene County, one out of four of our families are living
at or below the poverty level. Low unemployment and high poverty is due to our low wages,
even when adjusted for a lower cost of living. As poverty increased, so did predatory lending.
We have over 70 payday and title loan companies in our town.
I worked on the petition drive in 2012, and the payday loan industry hired thugs to stop
the petitioning in Springfield. I was followed, shoved, grabbed, surrounded, threatened. My
child was threatened. I was assaulted twice. They broke into our notary’s car and stole
our petitions. They bragged about spending this million dollars, and there’s nothing
to lead us to think that they treat their clients any differently.
I watched strong language and definition of terms from the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau. For example, a title loan company in Springfield routinely gets people to agree
to waive the state-mandated 7-day grace period before their car is repossessed for nonpayment.
For a lower rate, they agree to have their car towed to the office after 2 days. Well,
their car is towed to an office, all right, in a different county, and they are assessed
an additional $800 fee. And I was told this story by a man who worked there.
Thank you, Ms. Marantz. Okay, thank you. Pastor Wes Helm?
My name is Wes Helm. I’m here with Spring Creek Church and Faith in Texas. Dozens of
families in my church have lost thousands of dollars, their vehicles, their homes, and
worst of all, their dignity to payday lenders. My church sent me a cross the country to tell
you our stories and to tell you that we believe more is at stake than just our assets. Our
moral center is at stake. The industry says that because the market will allow it, it
is just to charge obscene interest rates that violate our scriptures and our ethics.
We say that the market cannot dictate our morals. All people should have their dignity
respected. Please know that in making the strongest rules possible against debt traps,
you are saying that we as Americans choose to be a just society, that our regard for
human life and dignity runs deeper than our avarice. That is a stand worth making.
Thank you, Pastor Helm. Know that we are paying for you, and that
we stand behind you. Hard days are to come. Be brave. We believe in you. Thank you. Gordon Martinez?
My name is Gordon Martinez. I live in Dallas, Texas. I am a member of the Spring Creek Community
Church in Garland and Secretary of Faith in Texas.
I am a borrower, an actual one in the building, number three or four or five or thousands
of us out there. But 8 years ago, I took out a series of payday loans because I was in
career transition, couldn’t make ends meet, and faced eviction. In the end, I lost my
home, ultimately my marriage, and all of my possessions were contained in two plastic
tubs. I would encourage you to have the strongest
possible rules to prevent my story from happening again going forward. The debt trap is real.
I lived it. Strong rules can stop it. Strong rules can offer both fairness and access,
and I encourage you to make a stand for people above profits. Thank you, Mr. Martinez, and thank you for
sharing your story. John Miller? Good afternoon. My name is John Miller. I’m
an attorney here in Kansas City, and I am a member of Platte Woods United Methodist
Church. I’d like to introduce you today to a friend
of mine. You see, I’d like to do that, but I can’t because my friend tragically took
his life several years ago when he found himself in the payday debt trap, and he saw no way
out. This immoral and unjust industry doesn’t just take people’s money. It robs people of
their dignity and in too many cases destroys their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Many of our elected officials, including my Missouri legislators, are all too willing
to gorge themselves at the money trough provided by predatory lenders. I commend you, Director
Cordray, for conducting an open rulemaking process and for protecting the rights of our
most vulnerable citizens. Strong rules help all of us, and that includes rules without
loopholes and without exemptions. Those rules will come too late to help my friend, but
they can prevent others from experiencing the depths of despair at the bottom of the
debt trap. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Miller, and we’re sorry for
your loss. David Gerth? Good afternoon. My name is Reverend David
Gerth. I am the director of Metropolitan Congregations United in St. Louis and a minister of the
United Church of Christ. A few years ago, I was happily oblivious to
what payday lenders were doing, and then I went to a workshop and found out what’s actually
going on in our state, and I found out the high rates of interest. And I thought to myself,
my goodness, what a wonderful issue for our legislature to take up, and then I found out
that they had been bought out by the industry. And so we hit the street, and we gathered
signatures, and I thought what a terrible hard thing to do to collect signatures for
this issue, and all we would do is say, “Did you know that the average interest rate is
450 percent in Missouri?” and people would say, “Give me that pen.”
One of the pastors that I was inspired by and really shaped my career told me that—he
did everything right in his life. He spoke multiple languages and is a faithful interpreter
of scripture, but his son got caught in a payday debt trap. And the family had to bail
him out and paid three or four times the original amount. This system hurts not just one generation
but multiple generations and often up the chain, not down the chain.
We are in a place where we are grateful, grateful for the leadership of the CFPB. It’s long
overdue in our country and in our state, and we need policies and procedures and rules
that close the loopholes and protect our families. Thank you, Reverend Gerth. We will come next to Dr. Rex Archer. The next
five will be Dr. Vernon Howard, Reverend Stan Runnels, Brenda Brink, David Wilkison , and
Craig Lloyd. Dr. Archer? Dr. Rex Archer, director of Health here for
Kansas City, Missouri. As a medical doctor past president of the National Association
of Sitting County Health Officials, I wanted to bring to bear the fat that for our half
million residents here in Kansas City, Missouri, we have 10 folks on average that die every
day. I can tell you how many of those are because of smoking or blood pressure, but
it would surprise you that three to four of those every day are from six social economic
factors. And I just have time to mention three: individual poverty, area poverty if you live
in an area—even if you’re not in poverty but others are, in affects how long you live—and
income inequality, which actually the difference between those that have more than they need
and those that don’t is the best predictor of life expectancy in developed countries.
So I really encourage you to move forward with everything you can in your toolkit to
help us save lives here in Kansas City. The last thing I want to mention is that neuroscience
tells us that when people are under stress and fear, they are not in their rational minds,
and regardless of what the industry tells them, what they think they are signing, they
don’t really understand because emotionally they’re in real pain and—
Thank you, Dr. Archer. —it takes these regulations. Thank you.
Thank you. Dr. Vernon Howard? Reverend Stan Runnels?
Stan Runnels from here in Kansas City, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The Book of Proverbs
tell us that the righteous will understand the plight of the poor; others will simply
never get it. We live with a moral imperative, a Christian
moral imperative that we share with many other faith traditions to seek justice on behalf
of all people, especially vulnerable people. That is why we are here today.
I commend the CFPB for pursuing these regulations. We ask for fair and equitable regulations
that protect consumers, but to pause for a moment, one of the panelists cited that over
50 percent of Americans do not have 4- or $500 to cover an emergency and that’s the
reason we need this industry. What does that say about our country that 50 percent of us
live in such economic injustice that we don’t have $500 to cover an emergency if we need
to? Economic justice is the underlying issue here. We commend to this Board to use their
resources and regulation to seek justice for all, which is a part of this United States.
Thank you, Reverend Runnels. Brenda Brink? I am Brenda Brink from Huxley, Iowa. I am
a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and National People’s Action.
Although I have nothing against earning an honest day’s pay, I am not paid to be here— —by the predatory lending industry. I and
nine others came from Iowa today because we are concerned about my friends and neighbors,
our friends and neighbors who fall into the debt trap created by this unethical and immoral
industry that thrives on triple-digit interest and thrives on a business model that creates
despair. I applause the Consumer Protection Financial
Bureau for these logical rules, which are overdue and need to be implemented as soon
as possible. Thank you, Ms. Brink.
Thank you. David Wilkison? Craig Lloyd?
Hi. My name is Craig Lloyd. I am with Sunflower Community Action from Wichita, Kansas. First
of all, I want to thank all of the religious leaders that are here. Usury has been a theological
issue dating back to the Babylonian times. Now, I want to start off with a quote, and
it goes, “Don’t you know this business is a blessing to the poor?” That was from Frank
J. Mackey, who was the kind of loan sharks in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.
Now, we’re not saying that there’s not a need for emergency small-dollar loans in this country,
but that doesn’t speak to the figures of the payday lending industry, but to deeper systemic
issues of income inequality in this country. I sincerely, sincerely hope the CFPB’s ruling
will provide an incentive to actually do what’s promised, and that’s help the economically
vulnerable and not trap them in a cycle of debt, which is the majority of the industry’s
business model. Thank you. Thank you. The next five will be Pat Turner,
Judy Hetzell , Shatome Luster , Jude Huntz, and Ken Hutcherson . Pat Turner? Judy Hetzell? Shatome Luster? Jude Huntz? Ken Hutcherson? The next five, Sharon Hannah , Sean Cummings,
Father Rafael Garcia , Vern Tigges, Amy McClard . If we have any of those five, go ahead and
just go to the microphone. Thanks. I’m Sean Cummings, and I’m here from Oklahoma
City. I heard the panel talk about complaints earlier, and if things were going so well
for the industry, we all wouldn’t be here today. Now, the loan business, when clergy
from 20 different areas can come and the one thing that they can agree on is that you’re
in the wrong, it’s not a beauty pageant that they’re here for today. It’s not a popularity contest. This is an
intervention. It’s time to open up and look at your industry and see that there’s something
actually wrong. No one is asking you to close your business up permanently. They’re asking
you to be fair. There is a place for your industry. There’s a place for small loans.
People that work for me in Oklahoma City have taken out your loans and have been taken advantage
of by your loans. Like I said, this is an intervention. You
either fix your business, or it sounds like your business is getting ready to shut down.
You’ve given us the option that your business is going to go criminal, or you’re going to
have to leave it like it is. It’s already criminal. Thank you. Thank you.
My name is Vern Tigges. I am a 21-year member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
That also makes me a 21-year social justice fighter, and I have not been paid to be here.
Mr. Cordray, we have met before. When the CFPB was first in existence, in the first
few months, Elizabeth Warren and you invited about 30 social justice people of the NPA
into your office to present testimony about the effects of payday lending. Also, possible
solutions were presented. Some of those people are here today. Even though it has taken this
long, the rules presented are a good start, but there are still items to be addressed,
such as investigation into the sources of funding for payday lending. Dare I say big
banks. I wanted to ask a quick question of Mr. Anderson
QC Holdings. I wanted to ask how much does your entity pay to lobbyists for a living
wage, and would you support $15 minimum wage? What would be the effect on your entity?
Mr. Cordray, now, as then, we have your back. Thank you, Mr. Tigges. The next group of five will be Michelle Scott-Huffman,
Teresa Perry, May Graham , Warren Daniel, and Cindy Becker. Do we have anyone from the
prior group of five, Father Garcia, Sharon Hannah, Amy McClard? Okay. Michelle Scott Huffman.
I’m Michelle Scott-Huffman, Pastor of Table of Grace Church in Jefferson City, Missouri,
and president of Faith Voices for Jefferson City.
People struggling with financial crises need education, empowerment, and living-wage jobs,
not predatory loans. I’d like to use Mr. Himpler’s very touching example of Lisa and her 5-year-old
daughter. To get out of an abusive situation, Lisa doesn’t need a loan that she can never
repay. She needs a community of people who have her best interest at heart, not a for-profit
company in an unrestricted industry that only cares about her when they’re getting her money.
That same compassionate, concerned installment lender will later harass her and extract money
she doesn’t have from her checking account until it’s closed and then take further action
to keep her living in poverty, afraid for herself and her 5-year-old daughter. She simply
traded one abuser for another. The threat that real industry regulation will
result in consumers being hurt by the remaining illegal and unregulated lenders is a Trojan
horse and a desperate attempt by a predatory industry that doesn’t want to release its
death grip on our moth vulnerable citizens. The CFPB has proven itself a strong and fair
regulatory agency that cracks down on illegal lending and collection activity. We must enact
strong rules now to do everything we can to stop the extraction of wealth from communities
that already have none. Thank you, Ms. Scott-Huffman. Teresa Perry?
How are you doing? I would like to say thank you all, first off, and I would also like
to change CCO, Ms. Flemings. My name is Teresa Perry. I am with NAACP. I think my family
here has already spoken, but I would just like to leave you with some words. The light
bill has went up. The water bill has went up. The gas bill has went up. You have different
things that people are dealing with far as they’re getting ready to go up on babysitting
fees, child development fees. When you have people say be accountable, tell them to look
into these families first. Look at the families. Every family is not alike. Everybody is not
born with money. Everybody is not, okay, here—you have some people that are really trying to
work and trying to make their families work. Then let’s go on the other side. Then you
have some banks that don’t want to loan to you if you’re of color. Let’s be honest. We’ve
got some redlining going on. So if they’re going to do it, tell them to tell the truth.
So I pray you look at everybody and try to help because we just keep fighting, fighting,
fighting. It’s just all the time, gentrification at its best. Tell them to quit raping. This
is a system that just keep raping and raping and raping. Thank you.
Thank you, Ms. Perry. May Graham? Warren Daniel?
My name is Warren Daniel. I am the compliance director for Gulfport Financial, LLC. Since
the creation of the CFPB, our company’s compliance expenses have quadrupled, and to be compliant
with the new proposed rules, our expenses will again go up dramatically. Our company
cannot afford the increase in expenses, while at the same time losing revenue due to the
restrictions you intend to place on our loan product.
In reference to making sure customers can repay their loan, I’ve been in this business
for over 20 years, and we have always made sure our customers can repay their loan. We
turn down nearly 40 percent of all applicants because of a lack of ability to repay. As
part of our loan underwriting procedures, we look closely at the customer’s income-to-debt
ratio. Also, if a customer loses their job and income, we work with them by placing them
in extended payment plan which provides repayment terms of up to 4 months, with no additional
costs. We have a bank loan, and when the new rules
go into effect, we will not be able to pay this loan off.
Thank you. We’ll invite Cindy Becker momentarily, and the next group of five will be Justin
Penn, Sara Stannis , Terry Lawson, Nadine Stallbaumer, and Catherine Hoegeman. Cindy
Becker? Hi. I’m a divisional director for Advance
America, and I have been with the company almost 11 years. My company provides our customers
a product that they can choose to assist when they have an unexpected expense. These customers
are responsible and appreciate our services because they have no place else to go in their
time of need. Thank you. Thank you. Justin Penn? Sarah Stannis? Terry Lawson? Nadine Stallbaumer? Catherine Hoegeman?
My name is Catherine Hoegeman from Springfield, Missouri, with Missouri Faith Voices, and
I want to take the panelists from the payday lending at their word. And I believe their
concern for the consumers and for their clients. So I guess I’m just confused as to why the
industry doesn’t voluntarily adopt some of the practice as capping the rate at 100 percent,
much less 30, extending loan periods, et cetera. So I guess I’m just confused as to why there’s
a protest against practices that they could voluntarily adopt to better serve their clients. Thank you, Ms. Hoegeman. The next group includes
Erica Bernal, Ben White, Chris Sudeth , Erin Burroughs, Steven McBride, and Maria Killian.
We’ll start with Erica Bernal. Hi. My name is Erica Bernal. I’m with eFinance.
I first want to state that they didn’t pay me to come here. I came here on an option,
so just laying that out there. And to start, consumers need to be responsible borrowers.
They voluntarily took out this loan, and we as the provider upheld our end in relaying
their information and their terms. Also, we do take into consideration customer income,
how many loans they have, and how their current debt—however, it is unfair to expect us
as the borrower to—I mean—I’m sorry—as the provider to budget every single customer’s
income, like their bills, et cetera. Also, may I add that this is not a trap. We
offer hardships payment arrangements, and customer does have the option to pay down
and pay off at any time. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Bernal. Ben White? Chris Sudeth?
Hi. My name is Chris Sudeth. Good afternoon. I do not work for a predatory lender. I work
for a credible on-loan, short-term loan provider. We use this term very loosely it seems as
well as saying that it’s a trap and that we’re offering loans that you can’t pay off. Just
food for thought. I don’t know what business owner out there wants to offer a product that
they’re not going to get paid for. That’s absurd that that’s the consensus. We are offering products that are reasonable.
We do offer products—or customers, rather, hardships, if they get into a situation where
they can’t pay, our goal is to provide a service, not to incur a debt. Every week, we have a
meeting about our default rate. So this idealism that’s in this room today that we are trying
to get them in a debt that they can’t pay is insane. Why would we want to increase our
default? One thing I would like to say is I love Kansas
City. I’m from Kansas City—well, Sedalia, as I yelled earlier, but I live in Kansas
City. And I’m glad to see the outpouring of community providers, Habitat for Humanity,
all the churches and food banks, et cetera, because if this ruling is passed that’s proposed,
I have 120 people and their families that will need all your support. Thank you, Mr. Sudeth. Erin Burroughs?
Hi. I’m Erin Burroughs with God’s Will in Action. We heard from a lender panelist about
a hypothetical scenario concerning Lisa and her 5-year-old daughter needing $2,000 to
escape an abusive situation. Here in Kansas City, there are more than a few high-volume
battered women’s shelters. They are safe and secure, on bus lines, and allow an abused
woman and her children protected housing, food, transit money, and most importantly,
psychological counseling, education, and non-poverty wage job securement to start a safe and healthy
new life. The lender says that under new regulations,
he cannot lend to Lisa because he only knows her family. This is a non sequitur. Lisa and
others like her don’t need a temp loan, predatory or otherwise, that cannot be repaid. They
need far more long-term help, available at a wrap-around service, battered women’s shelter,
not a short-term lender, and that is where any decent human being would refer them. Thank you, Ms. Burroughs. Steven McBride?
Yes. I’m Steve McBride, and I’m actually a customer and stuff. And I do have some problems.
I do have to admit Advance America and Quik Cash are two of the most responsible lenders,
but, like, if we go here, for instance, I had to sign all this documentation. And then
they say, “Here.” They can market to me for me through their affiliates or through their
non-affiliates, which is defined as companies they don’t own. And then with them, they have
40 different names here that they can go by and stuff.
The interest rate is 330.23 percent. I think 200 percent is too high, and, you know, they
could do better than that. And if you look at all the marketing and stuff, the fanciest
card is from King of Kash here. And it says “Money you want. Money you need” here. And
we can do better than that. Why not offer IDAs and stuff? Then people like me would
not have to do a solution like an OHD, which is how the hospital, Do Not Resuscitate order.
Thank you. Think about it, please. Thank you, Mr. McBride. Maria Killian?
Yes. I am Maria Killian with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis area. I live
in rural Missouri, Franklin County. I want you and all the people that work for the payday
loan people to understand giving loans to developmentally disabled people who are not
cognizant of the papers they sign is illegal in this country. I have had to go to those companies and explain
to them to drop the charges immediately or I would have to take them to our lawyer, because—and
what was said to me was, “Well, we can’t discriminate.” Well, I’m sorry. If you can’t understand that
the people you are speaking to do not understand what you are saying, on matter how many pages
you’ve got on there, some of our people are not developmentally disabled but cannot read
in this state. I’m sorry, but you cannot have people signing papers that they don’t understand.
It’s illegal. It’s not a valid contract, and this must cease and desist.
Thank you, Ms. Killian. The other thing—thank you.
The next group includes Reverend Stevie Wakes, Antonio Williams, Molly Fleming, John Miller,
Bill Anderson, and Karen Casey. We’ll start with Reverend Stevie Wakes.
Thank you, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for your presence. I am pastor of the Olivet
Institutional Baptist Church here in Kansas City, but on the Kansas side, and I do know
personally. So when you talk about payday loan users, I have utilized a payday loan.
I have gone to companies, as mentioned before. I have borrowed loans.
Now, my congregation is aware of what I’ve done, and I want the lenders to know what
I’ve done. This practice, like we said, yes, we need small-dollar loans. Yes, there is
a need for the product. However, the product that you provide provides too much exorbitant
interest. We need a product that will protect us from
usury of this sort where it provides over 30 percent interest. This is stupid, 400 and
something percent interest. I had to pay this loan back over a month, which became years.
I had to end up filing bankruptcy for my home because I could not pay the loan back because
my job that I had cut my salary $10,000 because the bank failed that I worked for. And so
the problem continued, and I could not afford to pay it back.
We need a better product in our community. Many of my community members have—
Thank you, Reverend. —left as a result. Thank you so much. Antonio Williams? Molly Fleming?
My name is Molly Fleming with the PICO National Network, and I’m grateful to be here today.
I do work in communities that have been harmed by predatory payday loans, and I work with
the clergy that serve those folks. And I carry the stories of those people on my back everywhere
I go. My Pope says that the rich who profit off
the poor are bloodsuckers, and my Catechism says that usury is a violation of the Fifth
Commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” because it deprives the poor of life. And so bloodsuckers
is right. It’s our life blood that is getting drained from our communities, $26 million
in Kansas City along, every single year. And I beseech you all at the CFPB that you
write the strongest rules possible, that you avoid loopholes, that there is strong understanding.
The ability to repay does not get confused with ability to collect.
I am grateful for you being in my city. This is my blood and my bones here, but we need
you to do everything you can to protect our people. Thank you.
Thank you, Ms. Fleming. John Miller? Bill Anderson?
Hi. I’m Bill Anderson from Wichita, Kansas, and I want to say what that lady just said. I’m here with Sunflower Action Committee—Sunflower
Community Action—I’m sorry—and Occupy Wichita. I got depressed listening to defense
of loans in excess of 400 percent, and I was reminded of a gangster, Arnold Rothstein,
who fixed the World Series. You’ve heard about Chicago Black Sox. Well, he did that. He also
loaned money, and you paid Arnold. You didn’t not pay him.
But, occasionally, people would, would not pay him, and what he did was—he was a smart
businessman, unlike some of the models, I guess, we’ve heard, because he would have
a Jubilee, which meant if you owed him money but couldn’t pay, you didn’t have that debt
anymore. He wanted to continue the relationship he had with you.
I hope that you—first of all, I appreciate your fortitude and patience in listening to
all this today. It’s got to be a really tough job.
We appreciate that you took the time from the work that you do to be here with us today.
I’m retired, thank God. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.
But I really urge you to use your authority to create rules that really truly protect
consumers. This is—”predatory” is even too weak a word for it. Thank you very much for
your time, and there will be an action at one of the payday lenders, I believe, after
the meeting. Thank you, Mr. Anderson. Karen Casey?
We will have that, so look for us. Thank you. Could you tell us your name?
My name is Kia Trotter, and I do appreciate the CFPB being here. One of the things that
I want to say is that this industry has absolutely nothing to do with race or religion. It’s
about the consumer. If this is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we should have
consumers speaking up. We have to be responsible. I am a consumer as well as an employee in
this industry, and so I have responsibility to, one, understand whether or not I have
the ability to repay. Also, I have a moral responsibility that if I sign on the dotted
line, I am responsible. That’s with a mortgage. That’s with a car loan. That’s with any type
of credit that is given to me, and so I think before we make any decisions, we have to go
into the community, speak with the consumers, not people that represent them, but people
that are on both sides of the fence that have a need for the product and they have a distaste
for the product. Thank you. My name is Karen Casey, and I’m from Wichita,
Kansas. But, people, you’ve got to understand. This is mafia. This is mafia, okay? This is—I’m
not saying they are mafia, but I’m saying that it’s run by the mafia. So, first of all,
you got to know who you’re dealing with. Now, I don’t know who your godfather is, but
I know who my godfather is. And she said it has nothing to do with religion, but everything
has something to do with God, okay? So what is happening, you will have to pay for—you
have a Come to Jesus meeting, whether you believe it or not. It might not be today.
It might not be tomorrow, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to pay for this. So,
preferably, I am praying that you hear the people and it not fall on deaf ears. Thank
you. Thank you, Ms. Casey. The next group includes
Rosey Black , Craig Lloyd, Mary Ware, Matthew Quarington , Hugh Espy. We’ll start with Rosey
Black. Craig Lloyd. Mary Ware.
Hi, there. I’m among what sounds like the majority here who didn’t get paid to come.
My friends and I came from Wichita with Sunflower Community Action to urge you to strengthen,
not weaken, the rules. It’s expensive to be poor.
There does need to be a way for poor people to borrow small amounts in emergencies, but
clearly, we do need strong rules that take as good a care of the poor people as it does
the corporations. Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Ware. Matthew Quarington? Hugh Espy?
Hi. Thanks. My name is Hugh Espy. I’m a member of Iowa Clean Energy Incentive Program. We
have about 10 members down here. I disagree with everything that everybody on the right
side of the issue has said so far. Payday is a toxic product. We got to put an end to
it. We’re counting on the CFPB to do something about it.
One other issue for you, Director Cordray, you’ve got to get on board with Fight for
15. We’ve got to raise the wage, and we got to do it across the country like Bernie Sanders
says, everywhere, because that’s part of it. You can use your bully pulpit to help raise
that issue. We got to raise people’s wages, cut back on income inequality, and we’ve got
to stop the debt trap now. Raise the wage; stop the debt trap. Thank you, Mr. Espy. The next group includes
Sherry Hawk , Dr. Tyler Wilson, Lester Firstenberger, Jeff Munzinger, and Jennifer Buthroyd . Sherry
Hawk? Dr. Tyler Wilson?
Hello. Can you hear me? Yes.
Okay. I just wanted to say I heard a lot today about the annual percentage rates, the 400
percent. I want to be clear on that. On $100 loan, you’re actually getting charged $19,
which isn’t really that bad. I only hear about the 400 percent, and it’s like—I want to
make it clear. $19 on $100, that’s less than 20 percent of what you’re actually borrowing.
So whenever you do take out that loan, you’re only actually paying back $19 of that fee.
We’re lending you the $100. What about an NSF fee?
No, there are no NSF fees. Another thing I wanted to bring up about this
whole thing is a lot of people were talking about debt traps and things like that, how
they had to come in and get a payday loan and how they had to do that, no one is forcing
you into the office to do that. It’s your free will. You’re doing it yourself.
Thank you, Dr. Wilson. Lester Firstenberger? Good afternoon. My name is Lester Firstenberger.
I’m an attorney, and I live in Philadelphia. I read quickly this morning, all 1,334 pages
of the proposed rule. I will make more extended remarks in due course. However, I wanted to
express one thing that jumped off the screens to me. Specifically, it’s what appears to
be a false predicate that 36 percent is the appropriate rate for all payday borrowers.
I assume the Bureau is very familiar with the concepts and practices of risk-based pricing.
The proposed rule appears to ignore this practice. I’m not suggesting that I know what the appropriate
rate is. I’m simply suggesting for the typical payday borrower, it is not 36 percent.
For the record, I comment for your consideration this simple math. A $500 payday loan at 36
percent for 2 weeks yields interest income to the lender of 50 cents a day, $7 for the
total loan. I suggest that you consider changing the rate, consider a more appropriate rate,
because no profitable business could operate at those rates. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Firstenberger. Jeff Munzinger? Hi. I’m Jeff Munzinger from Springfield, Missouri,
where I am a member of Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri.
I want to tell a quick story about my wife’s cousin. My wife’s cousin is one of the lucky
ones. She had a payday loan, and she had a cousin, who happens to be my wife, who bailed
her out. Now, I’m not here to speak praise of my wife but just to tell this story. My
wife’s cousin had a medical emergency and needed a $2,000 loan. The terms of her loan
required her to turn over a check to the company and required her to pay $200 every 2 weeks.
They withdraw that from her paycheck. She was about to get in trouble on that, and she
came to my wife. She was emotional. She said, “Can you help me out?” My wife agreed to help
her out, and they agreed to terms of a loan with a moderate interest rate to my wife that
allows her to go from paying $200 every 2 weeks to $60 every 2 weeks, so this can be
done. We need to put a stop to these predatory practices, and for those of us here in Missouri,
please talk to your legislators because we have no—really, we have no interest rate
caps in Missouri. We do, but it’s 1,900 percent, and our legislators—
Thank you, Mr. Munzinger. —need to be told. Thank you. Jennifer Buthroyd? The next group includes Chris Olsen, Mary
Kay Glunt, Dejwan Wash , Tonya Holmes, Stephen Reeves, and Adam Rust.
Good afternoon. I don’t work for a short-term lender, but I do work with some and speak
from that experience. Unlike somebody previously, I do see value in the other side of the argument.
I have agreed with some of what you said. There are tragic stories. There are predatory
lenders, but they are not all predatory. And with a rule like this that’s very encompassing,
it will put some good players out of business. And I appreciate consumer advocacy. I appreciate
faith-based charities. They provide a great service, and I encourage everybody to continue
doing that. But until you can expand that effort, there is still a massive credit gap
that needs to be services. There are consumers that I’ve spoken with
directly who would have lost a job without this product, who would have experienced other
crises without this type of loan product. The answer is not to obliterate it. The answer
is to regulate it, sure, but in a responsible way that still allows a company to make a
profit because, if they don’t, they can’t offer the product.
So I will just simply suggest that we take a more calm approach, recognize that there
are bad apples, but there are good apples, and do it responsibly so that businesses that
offer a service that is needed can survive until the rest of these very vocal charity
groups can actually step up and cover the gap for us. Thanks.
Thank you, Mr. Olsen. Mary Kay Glunt?
I wanted to speak to QC Holdings, but he’s not here. But I wanted to tell you I found
this report. Oh, are you here? Good. I wanted to ask you about it.
Through your website, I found on CFSAA, the Community of Financial Services Association
of America, the Harris Interactive Poll that tells how wonderful payday loans are, how
excited and happy people are, 96 percent, and the cost, 92 percent. But then when you
go down to the information about who you talked to, the little over a thousand people that
were talked to, the lists that were given to Harris Interactive to do this poll were
people who paid off a payday loan within 3 months of the summer of 2013 and had been
paid off for at least 2 weeks before they borrowed again. Hello? The people who were
trapped in the program weren’t asked. The people who couldn’t find a way out weren’t
asked. So this was eschewed, and so, CFPB, if you’ve looked at this survey, I want to
let you know you need to look at who was talked to.
Thank you, Ms. Glunt. Dejwan Wash? Tonya Holmes? Stephen Reeves?
Stephen Reeves with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Thank you, Director Cordray and
CFPB staff. Across the country, people of faith have been
working together for years to reform lending practices they see as immoral and predatory
because the impact they have witnessed firsthand. Churches and pastors and ministries have been
granting benevolence funds, creating alternative lending models, and offering financial education
classes. They’ve also shown up as advocates in city halls, state legislatures, and on
Capitol Hill. They have come together across sincere differences to say enough, enough
praying on our desperate and vulnerable neighbors for profit, enough capitalizing on the shame
of being in need by exploiting those who seek to take responsibility for their problems
and enough selling of product that purports to be a way out of a bind, but for so many
is instead a way into a trap. We don’t tolerate selling defective products
in this country. We recall millions of cars every year on the small probability that someone
could get hurt. Debt trap loans are hurting our fellow Americans, and it is time for a
recall. Thank you, Mr. Reeves. Adam Rust?
Hi. My name is Adam Rust. I am from Reinvestment Partners in Durham, North Carolina. So, North
Carolina, that’s what’s key about what I want to say because we’re a non-authorizing state.
We haven’t had payday lending since 2005. At RP, we see about 6,000 people a year. We
help them. If they have a problem with their mortgage, we help them with free tax prep,
and sometimes we help them to save money for a dream. What’s clear is that they face difficult
circumstances that don’t change. A payday loan might provide relief, very short-term
relief. It won’t solve the fundamental problem at all, and for many of them, it will put
them in a much worse place. We know that most people who have these loans
in North Carolina, they are glad they don’t have access to them anymore. That’s what surveys
have clearly said again and again. Our message today is that we want a rule that will make
sure that North Carolina doesn’t take a step backwards. It’s a complicated moment because
there are clearly people in Missouri who are hurting, who need this help. In North Carolina,
we through our own state effort—we’ve eliminated it, so we want a strong rule. When this rule
is finally published, just having a rule isn’t enough. It has to be a rule that really makes
a difference. Thank you, Mr. Rust. The next group includes Melinda Robinson,
Reverend Phil Snyder, Terrence Wisely, Reference Wallace Sr., Reverend Wallace II, Reverend
Brandon Mims. The next group includes Winifred Jamieson,
Kyla Baylock , Bridget Hughes, Lesia Manning, Reverend Tobias Schlingensiepen, Reverend
Susan McCann, Reverend Lloyd Fields, Reverend Stevie Wakes, Merle Zirkle, Seft Hunter, Larry
Ginter, Tim Thomas, Megell Rodriguez , Amy Jude Keeton .
Hi. My name is Seft Hunter. I’m here representing a local organization, Communities Creating
Opportunity. We’re here to really lift up the pain that families are feeling all across
the region. We’re not saying that payday loan shops should not exist, but what we’re saying
is that it’s immoral and it is unjust to charge individuals 455 percent interest rates.
What happens to folks who get caught into this trap is that it affects their quality
of life and both the length of life, and we are here to take a stand today. We thank the
CFPB for showing up here in Kansas City and listening to the pain, and hopefully, when
you leave today, you are prepared to act on it. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Mr. Hunter. Dorothy Kizer , Elizabeth Glenn, Larry Ginter,
Steve Glorioso, Bishop James Tindall, Reverend George Paul Wood, Andrew Szalay, Jennifer
Trogdon, Tamalu Brothers, Jennifer Simms, Paul Curtman, Deana Beasley , Nadder Moss
, Rodney Bland, Jamaica Collins, Eva Schulte, John Sharp, Alu Kitcher ,
Jamaica Collins. I’m with CCO and PICO and all of them. I want to say that we understand
that payday loan lenders have to mitigate risk. It’s risky to lend to the poor. I get
that. We understand also that people want to keep their jobs. We don’t want to put people
out of business. That’s not why we’re here. What we want is fairness. We want to be lended
to fairly. We want reasonable rates. We don’t want to get rid of the product because we
need it. We do, especially considering redlining and all of that. We need small-dollar lending.
We need it in our community, but we need it with fairness. That’s what we’re asking. We
need it with regulation. We need it with stronger rules because the rules that are in place
aren’t helping. They’re hurting. So I’m asking you on behalf of everyone in
my community and my church, please regular strongly. Thank you.
Thank you, Ms. Collins. Hi. I’m Eva Schulte. I already spoke, but
I am here for Winifred who was just called. This is her testimony.
Twelve years ago, my husband was deported, leaving me a single mother of three. Our home
was foreclosed, my car repossessed, and eventually my student loans went into default. I was
left with my husband’s car we bought at an auction. At the time, I was an investigator
for the State of Missouri Public Defender, and having a working vehicle was a condition
of employment. My car broke down needing $800 worth of repairs. I was faced with a decision
to take out multiple payday loans to pay for the repairs or lose my job.
Nine years latera, I’ve paid the initial loans tenfold—tenfold. Yet because I eventually
defaulted, I can no longer have a bank account, a normal bank account, or a credit union account.
In a matter of 24 hours, my checking account went into the negative, over $1,000. It was
eventually closed by the bank, and I never recovered. And just this day, as I was escorting
these brave men and women into the building, I got a call from the credit agency holding
one of my payday loan accounts, 9 years later. This one moment in my time still haunts my
life. Thank you.
Testimony from Winifred Jamieson. Thank you. John Sharp, Alu Kitcher, Teresa
Kirkwood. Hi. I’m Teresa Kirkwood, and I work for an
honest company. We help people. I see a lot of regulations here today speaking on behalf
of the community. Where were you at when the community needed the light bill paid? Where
were you at when the community needed to provide their kids a Christmas? If you close our doors,
it will be no more of that. These people will be sick, and they will have nowhere to turn
to. Thank you, Ms. Kirkwood. Pat Dudjikovich , Pedro Zamora , Samuel Chu,
Claudette Humphrey, Reverend Clinton, Martha Huffman, Jamie Turner, Reverend Dr. Jim Hill.
Hi. Thank you for being here. I am Jamie Turner, the heckler that’s sitting right here. Thank
you for being here, and I appreciate the regulations that you have installed. I wish we could get
our legislation together so we can get our usury laws back where they were intact when
I was a real estate agent. I want to say that, again, like my daughter, Jamaica, said, we
need the product, and we are here so that we can get a decent product, a fair product.
Stop gouging us with these interest rates. That’s what hurts us. These overpriced interest
rates are ridiculous. We can’t live like this. Now, I have eight good credit cards in my
wallet, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, but they already too high. I just had a sister
killed by the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department. It was a tragic answer, but I
needed $1,000 to bury her, to finish burying her. So I went to a title loan because I couldn’t
go to my bank. My credit cards were over. We need better product. You’re not giving
us good product. These rules will help us, and I want them to be strong also. They will
help us so we can get over the hump that our big-time lenders don’t want to deal with us.
Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Turner. Tom Faulkner, Dr. Vernon
Howard, David Wilkinson, Judy Hetzell, Shatome Luster , Jude Hunt, Ken Hutcherson , Sharon
Hannah, Father Rafael Garcia, Amy McClard, May Graham, Sarah Stannis, Terry Lawson, Nadine
Stallbaumer, Ben White, Antonio Williams, John Miller, Rosey Black, Craig Lloyd, Matthew
Quarington, Sherry Hawk, Jennifer Buthroyd, Dejwan Wash, Tonya Holmes.
Hi. I’m not actually Tonya Holmes. My name is Katie Stevenson. I work, for Revival Management
Company. I have been in this industry for over 11 years, and I have seen the ups and
downs, the ebbs and flows, and people get put out of business because they’re not abiding
by the regulations that already are in place. We have regulations that we have to abide
by every single day that regulate what we can loan to, who we can loan to, what state
we can loan to, all those good things. Also, people come to us because if you’re negative
in your bank account, you get a $34 charge every single time a transaction comes through.
Our interest rates are lower than 30 percent, which saves you that $34, fifteen times over
a weekend, so thank you. Thank you, Ms. Stevenson. At this time, I
would like to invite anyone that we may have missed.
My name is Alice Kitchen. I am with Jobs as Justice, the worker rights’ board. I am here
on behalf of a young woman who someone may have called a customer. I would call her a
vulnerable person. I met her in graduate school. She was my student. She graduated with a master’s
degree. She can’t be here today because she’s working. She finally got a job that pays,
and she can’t afford to take off. She left graduate school with $80,000 of debt, some
student loan and much of it payday loan. She was the guardian of her grandfather. She had
minimal ability to pay any of her cost, and she had no car. And she had a coffee shop
job. So for our young people, the future, this
is not a future. We can do better. We need you to have strong regulation that are in
force swiftly and the consequences are proportional to the harm that is done.
Thank you. Hi. My name is Carolyn Moore. I’m with Senternex
, and I decided that I did want to speak today because when you look at a payday loan, you’re
looking at it to get you to your payday, but for some reason, our consumer is using it
as an income base instead of just having a job. They are using it as income now, and
that’s why we have this big situation where they’re seen as a debt trap. They have trapped
their self into this debt because a payday loan with me, if I were going to get a payday
loan, it’s because a bill is due on the 25th and I get paid on the 30th. And then on the
30th, I’m going to pay it back because it’s a payday loan. It’s not a source of income. Thank you. We have one final comment.
Yeah. My name is Jeannie Scalise. I am a co-chair of the Eastern Jackson County Justice Coalition,
and I would like to talk to you back in the corners over there. We are not trying to put
a payday loan industry out of business. I do not want you to lose your job. I work for
social justice. If anything, I want a better paying job for you. I want to see your wage
increase. All we want is just like fairness. 450 percent, paying back a $500 loan, is way
too much. I mean, if you didn’t have that in your bank account and you’re borrowing
it, you’re going to struggle to pay it back. 455 percent. In the State of Missouri, they
can charge as much as 1,950 percent. That is not fair. I wouldn’t do that to you at
all. I want you to have a job, and like I said, we don’t want to put the industry out
of business. Thank you for your comments.
We just want fairness. Thank you. We have two more, and these will be the last
two. Hi. My name is Courtney Angel, and I am with
this group back here in the corner, as some people so eloquently put. Again, it is a choice
to be here. We’re technically paid, but we chose to be here instead of at work.
If we’re sharing testimonials, I would just like to share one of a mother who called in
last week, and she had come home from her birthday dinner to find her home broken into.
And the door was kicked in, and she feared for her and her daughter’s safety, and the
insurance check wouldn’t come in for another 2 weeks. So I provided her with a $600 loan,
which was at a 30 percent interest rate, not 455. I’d just like to point that out. And
she was able to pay it back because I extended her due date another 2 weeks from the 2-week
payday. So she had a full month to receive that insurance check and pay the loan back
and ensure safety for her and her daughter and peace of mind while they slept at night. Thank you.
Hi. My name is Tamika Thurmond, and I’m with also the group back here. I’m speaking just
from experience. I’m not speaking as an employee. I’m speaking as a consumer. I’ve been so many
payday loans, and I’ve realized that their interest rate was high, but then again, it’s
my responsibility to say, “Hmm. Can I pay that? Nope, don’t think so, so I’m not going
to take the loan.” But if I know that I can and it’s going to get me to my next payday
and I know that check will cover this loan, I’m going to take it out.”
So I say all this to say you can’t put rules and regulations on something that a consumer
is willing to do. They are 18 and over, meaning they’re grown, so they’re reading, and if
they’re not reading, they need to read of the interest rate, so they know what they’re
getting into, because if not, they’re going to be debt trap. But I don’t call it debt
trap. I call it suicide trap because you’re setting your own self up for failure, so—
Thank you, Ms. Tamika. I want to thank everyone who took the time
to provide thoughtful testimony today. I want to thank the audience, the panelists, all
those watching via live stream at consumerfinance.gov. This concludes the CFPB’s field hearing in
Kansas City, Missouri. Have a great afternoon.

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