Will City Councilmen Let Moratorium on Payday Loan Stores Expire?


By Ashley Thompson

The moratorium on payday loan stores has been in effect since last September. Next week city councilmen are supposed to vote on whether or not to lift it.

So, what have they learned during this time and has a ban on this type of business been positive for Montgomery?

Some residents tell us they believe there's too many payday loan stores in Montgomery.

"Like every corner you go to, it's a payday loan," says resident Stephen Vandiver.

And two more payday loan are in the works because paperwork on them was started before the moratorium was put in place. A Speedy Cash is being built on Ann Street and an Easy Money on Eastern Blvd in the old Ruby Tuesdays building.

"They have one right here," says Chauntedra McBride. "You don't need another one right there. Why can't they change it into another restaurant?"

For the past six months, city councilmen have been discussing whether payday loan stores have a negative impact on the city. Councilman Tracy Larkin says they haven't learned anything new.

"We already knew that they were growing at too fast a pace and there's pretty much a general consensus that they're not the most productive businesses that we can attract to the city."

If they were to let the moratorium expire, councilmen have proposed regulations for payday loan stores, banning any two stores from being within 2500 feet of each other or within 250 feet of a resident church, school or public park.

But some say it's not just the location, it's the business itself.

"They drive down property values, they're associated with crime and they trap people in a cycle of debt," says Stephen Stetson with Alabama Arise.

Stetson says he's working with lawmakers to completely reform how payday loan stores operate and cites 17 states that have completely gotten rid of payday lenders.

"What they find is that people become more in the financial mainstream," he says. "They go to banks and credit unions and they borrow from family and friends and other lenders crop up."

Those who support payday loan stores argue that government shouldn't be telling people how to run their business.