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Public Forum Considers Payday Loans

By Maria Carter

Kansas City, MO – Right now, new payday loan businesses in Kansas City, Missouri are prevented from opening. The moratorium is temporary, but the city council is looking at whether to place permanent restrictions on the businesses. KCUR's Maria Carter attended a public forum last night and has this report.

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Councilwoman Jan Marcason organized the forum held in a church at 35th and Campbell to get public input before the payday loan moratorium ends in September. Many community activists say they are concerned that the loans prey on the elderly and poor. Catholic Charities Janelle D'Aggata-Lynch says she sees people who get caught in a cycle of payday loans.

Janelle D'Aggata-Lynch: "So they will go to another lender and they'll take another loan to pay off the first. And I think the fact that they are so close together and they're right on the corner and people know them makes it very easy for them to go in and do this. And the ease of doing it is unfortunately preying on their vulnerability."

Payday loan companies say they are providing a needed service. The state is in charge of regulating the industry, so there is nothing the city can do about interest rates or fees. Some options for the city include restrictions on where payday loan buinesses can locate and licensing fees.

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