In Michigan, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is opposing an Approved Cash Advance store that wants to set up shop in the city. He wants to keep payday lending out of the area, saying the short-term, high-interest product damages communities and “enslaves people to these predatory lenders.” Heartwell says he is now exploring how to prohibit or restrict the businesses.
In Grand Rapids, cash stores require a special land-use permit to operate. The city’s planning commission will consider such a permit for Approved Cash Advance to open in a strip mall, relocating an existing store.
Sue Ortiz, director of housing and family services for the Inner City Christian Federation, says the agency is considering a pilot program as an alternative to payday loans. The federation also is developing a cash-advance loan program with lower interest rates. Rev. Dallas Lenear, executive pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, is working with Heartwell and The Micah Center on possible legislation to cap the number of cash stores in Grand Rapids.