Victims of Payday Lending: Anita Monti
Paying on time: Anita Monti’s story
Raleigh, North Carolina
Occupation: computer assembly technician
Paid $120 in rollover fees every two-week payday
Paid $1780 in fees for $700 cash received
Anita Monti was not one to neglect paying her bills.
In fact, she went to great lengths to pay the fees on her payday loans every payday, motivated no doubt in part because of the consequences should she miss a payment - bounced check fees? bad credit? legal action?
So she worked out a routine. Anita worked the night shift, but every payday for four months, she got up early and headed to the Advance America store on the other side of town. She wrote out a personal check and handed it over to the clerk, who then tore up the check Anita had written the previous payday, and issued her a new Advance America check for the loan she had floating, minus the fee she paid each payday. So every payday, Anita was paying a $45 to keep the same $300 loan outstanding.
Her next stop was a bank she found that would cash her Advance America check. With that cash, she headed to Check 'n Go, another payday lending company, and paid a $75 fee to keep Check n' Go from cashing the check she had given them as collateral for a $400 loan.
It would have cost her $820 to pay off the two loans in full and get out of the trap - money Anita just didn't have. So with the payday companies held off, at a cost of $120 every two weeks, she used what was left in her checking account to pay her bills. After four months, she had paid almost $1000 in fees, and still owed the $820.
"I felt like I was in a stranglehold each payday. After awhile, I though, I'm never going to get off this merry-go-round. During this time, I got a promotion and a raise, but I never saw any of that money," said Anita, who is a computer assembly technician. "It all went to pay their fees. I got behind on rent and had to pay late fees."
Anita finally went to her church to get help paying the rent. A consumer credit counseling agency in Raleigh helped her extricate herself from the payday companies, negotiating a payment plan with the payday companies. It would take Anita nine months to complete these payments. By the end, she will have paid $1780 ($960 fees plus $820 in principal) for $700 cash received.
How did this all start for Anita? Christmas gifts.
Already behind on her electric bill, Anita was worried about disappointing her grandchildren on Christmas. When she overheard a co-worker describing a payday loan, she thought she'd check it out and see if she qualified.
Her grandkids got their gifts, but Anita paid dearly for her decision to walk into a payday lending store.