Today, the Roanoke Times has a good editorial against payday lenders. They argue that the predatory practices of payday and car title lenders - in my mind, our contemporary Temple money-changers - need to be cast out. The Virginia legislature tried to "reform" this industry last year, but lenders found loopholes in the bill to further prey on the financially desperate and insecure. 220South has a scathing analysis on these "reforms." In economically distressed times, people are more likely to make irrational decisions in order to keep their lights on and food on their tables, not thinking through the fact that they further endanger their economic livelihoods with these loans. And because of ungodly interest rates and roll-over fees, when these loans are taken out, a cycle of increased and perpetual indebtedness ensues. That is the very definition of predatory. Why Virginia hasn't barred this industry is beyond me.
In a two mile stretch on Rt. 220 in Collinsville - the town connected to Martinsville - there are over a dozen payday and car title lenders. I never figured out how there can be such a market for that many shops in one geographically concise area. On the same note, in Virginia, I'm told, there are more payday lenders than there are McDonalds and Burger King's combined. Absolutely sickening.