Skip to Content

Coalition Asks City, State Gov. To Regulate Pay Day Loans

The signs for title loan companies are all over Pocatello: “Quick cash,” “Pay day loans,” “No credit? No problem.” One local group, the Homeless and Housing Coalition, is saying, the businesses behind those signs need stronger regulations.

Coalition member Brenda Pollard says local, low income people have gotten trapped in a high-interest cycle of borrowing more money to pay for the first loan they got out to pay for something originally legitimate that now they can’t even begin to afford because of renewal fees and up to 400 percent interest rates. The problem is as dizzying as the stores are numerous.

And it gets worse, she says.

“The problem was that the bottom line on their financial statement was that they could not even qualify for government grants or other options we had available, because they had so many loans out with pay day lenders. It was horrible,” Pollard says.

So the coalition went to the Pocatello City Council study session on Thursday to request that the city regulate the stores. Council Member Jim Johnston was shocked to hear the facts, but says he’s taking a stand.

“These people are predators. These are predatory loans. Now they may be small, but these are the same types of things that got so many people into difficulty just a few years ago,” Johnston says.

He says Planning and Zoning may be able to look at restricting how many loan stores can be in one area, because Pocatello has a lot of them. Drive from Oak Street to the I-86 interchange, and Johnston says you’ll see 17 of the stores. In the entire city of Pocatello, there are 75 of them, he says.

Pollard, who also works for Habitat for Humanity, said the loans keep people away from more sustainable forms of help.

“The truly heartbreaking part of it is when I get a call Sunday night that says, ‘Aid for Friends only has one more bed and there are two families waiting for it,’ and on a night like tonight, you wonder who’s outside,” Pollard said.

The coalition has prompted a state response, too. On Thursday, a draft document of possible legislation was leaked to the public, and co-sponsor Rep. Elaine Smith says, the draft sponsors did not know that was happening and did not want it to happen. A real bill could be very different, she says. However, state legislators are definitely working on a solution to the problem, Smith says.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content