Seniors often pay hefty price for relying on payday loans

(This is the third story in a series about the payday loan industry in Las Vegas.)

Don Miller has heard the same story many times: Seniors on a fixed income have an emergency come up — be it a medical bill or car problem — or when money runs tight and the fear of not having enough food takes over, they turn to their last resort, a payday loan.

“For the most part, our seniors get about $700, maybe $900, of income per month to pay rent and utilities,” said Miller, the seniors program manager for HopeLink, 178 Westminster Way, which provides assistance and resources to low-income people and families in Henderson and parts of Las Vegas.

“So when a crisis happens, they will take out $150 to buy food,” he said. “They don’t realize they might be paying on that for the next year or two.”

Miller joins a list of critics of payday lenders who argue that companies are targeting vulnerable communities, such as seniors. AJ Buhay, a field director for Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said it’s also true for communities of color.

“They target low-income families and communities,” he said. “You see more payday lenders set up in those communities. As a result, they are siphoning money out of communities of color.”

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, roughly 12 million Americans use payday loans each year. Each borrower takes out an average of eight loans of $375 per year and spends about $520 on interest.

“We are seeing interest rates as high as 400 percent,” Buhay added. “When you’re unable to pay off the first loan, you take out another one. It puts you in a debt cycle.”

People without a college degree and those with incomes below $40,000 have a higher likelihood of taking out payday loans, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts, which also said blacks are more likely to take out loans than other races.

The Pew Charitable Trusts also looked at average ages for lenders. The highest rate of users is between 25 and 29. The percentage gets smaller over time. About 4 percent of people between 60 and 64 and 3 percent of people between 65 and 69 use payday lenders, according to the organization.

However, Miller has still seen a lot of the population he works with go into debt.

“I see about 80 to 100 seniors per week,” he said. “At least half have taken out a payday loan.”

Miller said HopeLink has helped seniors with food assistance, including delivering fresh fruit throughout the month. Even with assistance, he said emergencies happen and seniors don’t always know where to turn. When they meet with a payday lender, they don’t always realize the high interest rates that come attached to a loan.

Miller added that many end up defaulting on loans, which sometimes leads to harassing phone calls.

“These people are 80 years old, and they get someone calling them, threatening to send lawyers to their door,” he said.

While HopeLink can’t get them out of debt to a lender, the organization might try to find other ways to assist a senior.

“We try to catch (seniors) before they turn to payday lenders,” Miller said.

But he added that many feel they have no other choice, so they take out the loan anyway.

Organizations such as PLAN are collecting stories from people who have had bad experiences with payday loans. Visit the Center for Responsible Lending at responsiblelending.org to share stories. The organizations will be sharing stories with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to encourage the organization to make changes to the payday loan industry.

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like