New Car-Title Lender in Chesapeake Draws Protest

August 16, 2011
Virginian-Pilot 
car title lending news

Consumer advocates took their campaign against car title lending to Great Bridge, Va., on Aug. 15, waving placards warning "Predators at Work" and "Don't Drown in Debt." The 10 protesters, shouting "Go home TitleMax," brought attention to a one-story outlet that opened earlier this month. The Virginia Poverty Law Center convened the demonstration out of concern that TitleMax and other title firms are opening stores close to the state line to attract borrowers living outside of Virginia, said Dana Wiggins, a spokesperson for the Richmond-based group. The state's General Assembly restricted the rate and terms of title loans in 2010, but earlier this year sanctioned them to service borrowers whose vehicles are registered in nearby states. After speaking with demonstrators at this week's protest, Chesapeake City Councilor C.E. Hayes Jr. said he would offer a proposal requiring title lenders to obtain conditional-use permits from the city before setting up shop. Title lenders sell high-interest loans to struggling individuals who use their personal vehicles as collateral. If borrowers neglect to repay the loans, they risk losing their transportation. The Virginia Poverty Law Center and other consumer advocacy organizations have long argued that borrowers are frequently snared by the interest payments on these loans and that some lose vehicles they need for their jobs.
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