LETTER: Payday loan column unfairly demonized industry

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | 7:12 p.m. CST; updated 9:24 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 26, 2010

Brian Jarvis’ recent column (“We don’t need another payday loan business in Columbia,” 11/27) brazenly misrepresented payday lenders and their customers and displayed a startling misunderstanding about short-term credit.

He asserted that lenders list interest rates in “fine print.” Not true.

We post our rates and fees prominently on the walls of all our stores and our agreement documents fully outline the terms of the transaction. Customers tell us that they choose payday loans, in part, because they are simple, reliable and transparent.

Of our customers, Mr. Jarvis alleged that “nearly all felt misled or abused.” Wrong.

A recent study from the George Washington University School of Business concluded that payday-advance borrowers make informed choices. About half of those surveyed had considered other credit alternatives — such as bank or credit card services or personal loans — before taking out a payday advance. Many (over 80 percent) chose a payday advance to avoid expensive checking account overdraft fees and nearly all (90 percent) said they were satisfied with their transactions.

He suggested that lenders “can charge whatever they want, wherever they want, as many times as they want.” False.

Customers appreciate the service we provide, not only because it’s cost competitive, but because it’s highly regulated. Our company has taken a leadership role in working with legislators, regulators and consumer groups to develop regulations that provide consumers with meaningful safeguards. In Missouri, the legislature has instituted limits on fees and loan amounts and repayment periods. In addition, Advance America works closely with any customer who needs more time to repay – and at no additional cost.

Mr. Jarvis seemed to be advocating for policy solutions by sensationalizing issues, demeaning legitimate businesses and simply seeking to scare readers. Consumers should be smart about their money and savings, and any form of credit can be abused. But it is important to understand that payday advances can be an effective short-term option for many people.

Jamie Fulmer is the director of public affairs for Advance America, Cash Advance Centers Inc., which includes 87 different locations in Missouri, including Columbia. He is based out of South Carolina.



Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Patrick Sweet December 16, 2009 | 11:52 p.m.

I believe the comments on Jarvis's column made this letter a little unnecessary. The gist of the article was that we don't need ANOTHER payday loan business, not that they are wholly evil, seen as an indication of a poor area, or something of that sort.

I think many folks would agree that the market for payday loan businesses in Columbia is pretty well saturated.

(Report Comment)
Ryan Harris December 18, 2009 | 8:51 a.m.

Mr. Sweet,

Consumer demand dictates saturation or over saturation. Customers determine in any city how many restaurants, retailers, banks and payday loan stores there are. If a legally regulated businesses has the customer base to sustain itself, then why should an industry be limited?

(Report Comment)
Jess B December 21, 2009 | 11:47 p.m.

I must agree with Mr. Harris. It makes no sense to decide to limit the number of businesses that an industry may have. The market is the best indicator. I'm sure that several have closed down during the recession like every other industry.

(Report Comment)
Lani K December 28, 2009 | 12:58 p.m.

Falsely reporting information and stating completely untrue claims in order to make a point certainly doesn't validate the arguments of Brian Jarvis. However, it's been a trend in the behavior of those who oppose the short-term lending industry.

(Report Comment)
Alice Rigney February 15, 2010 | 10:26 a.m.

The market is the best indicator. I believe that some have been closed during the recession and other industries. Customers decide how many other cities, restaurants, retailers, banks and payday loan companies. If a legal norm has a customer base of enterprises in order to maintain their own, why do you want to restrict trade?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 15, 2010 | 1:23 p.m.

("Alice Rigney:
The market is the best indicator.")

I agree. I am also compelled to say that it would be nice if Churches or nonprofits were able to afford a means where those who have steady paychecks were able to secure loans at less interest.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the Interfaith Group of Churches, here in Columbia, were able to provide such a service?

(Report Comment)
Gabe Rodriguez March 15, 2010 | 6:31 p.m.


I'd be surprised to see it! I always hear mention of it, but to date I've only seen churches that operate primarily like a business. That being said, I don't think they would lower the rate MUCH. Churches would probably find a way to get around real licensing (heck, they don't even pay TAXES, yet weigh in on legislation frequently!!) and could reduce costs there, but once they saw the default %ages.....

(Report Comment)
Anderson Richie May 13, 2010 | 7:02 p.m.

Payday loans are a great way to get out of a tight situation.And they are much better than bank loans.
Need cash before payday ?
We're accepting almost 100% of applicants this month for loans under £750. Get some breathing space with a payday loan from PaydayLendersUK today. Same day, No credit check, responsible lending.
<a href=""></a>

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.