Springfield City Council asking feds to better regulate payday loans

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The City of Springfield is expressing it's official concern over payday loan companies.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was formed to regulate payday lending practices. Monday night, the Springfield City Council passed a resolution stating the proposed federal guidelines won't go far enough.

Payday loans are often criticized for charging people interest rates up to 300% and higher. Some say such lending practices make it difficult, if not impossible, for some people to get out of debt.

Several people from the faith community spoke about the number of people they've seen hurt by taking out too many loans. Mark Struckhoff, Executive Director of Council of Churches of the Ozarks, said one four of the clients served by the Crosslines outreach program has at least one payday loan out.

"By the way, there are more payday loan stores in Missouri than there are Starbucks, McDonalds, and Walmart combined," Struckhoff said.

Jennifer Trogdon, a Springfield resident, explained her recent debts tied to payday loans.

"Keeping up with every day bills and being able to pay off the payday loans was just hard," she said. "It is not that we were not clear. We thought we would be able to do it and then another emergency popped up. You never expect it."

Nobody from the payday loan industry showed up to speak at the council meeting.

The final vote paves the way for the city council to send a letter to the CFPB to do more to protect consumers.

"The victims of predatory lending, most of whom are working at low income jobs, come to us for assistance...seeking food because they cannot feed their children or themselves," stated Struckhoff. "The charitable services we provide to our neighbors in need are all offered in love for our neighbors. But, I am here to tell you, charity is not enough."

Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky cast the one dissenting vote. She said she didn't want to vote on regulations for private industry without talking to local members of that industry first.