Monday, August 20, 2007

Title Loans: Tommy Moore's "Benefits for Working Families"

When the man who used to be South Carolina's next governor resigned his Aiken County Senate seat, he told us this about his new employer:

"I’ve been impressed with the great strides they have taken to educate consumers about responsible use of the service. Payday advance customers appreciate this service, however, payday lending remains misunderstood by those unfamiliar with its benefits to working families. I look forward to dispelling misperceptions about the service and furthering CFSA’s efforts to promote responsible regulation. Compromise and bipartisanship have been the cornerstones of my career in pubic service and will be instrumental in helping the payday advance industry navigate its legislative challenges."

Misunderstood? What exactly is there to misunderstand? The predatory lending industry takes advantage of the desperation of "working families" and ensnares them in its web of usurious interest rates and and never-ending cycles of debt and refinancing. Moore may have learned irresponsible spending habits during his time in the Senate, but it's really hard to call it a "benefit" for "working families."

But, hey, maybe I'm being too hard on them. Consider the accompanying loan document from North American Title Loans of Walterboro. They loaned someone from a "working family" $1515 at the amazingly competitive rate of 304% for three years. The total payments on the loan would be $9534.25, some $8119.25 of which is interest charges. Some benefit.

Why can't our General Assembly see this for what it is: thievery by another name? Could it be that they have taken one too many donations from Tommy Moore's slimy employer?


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