Finance Experts Want You to Turn Away from Pay Day Loans

    Officials say 43-percent of Wichita Falls residents have sub-prime credit, and in following a nationwide trend, those residents are turning away from formal financial institutions and instead are using alternative financial service providers.
    Joseph Caterine, financial stability coordinator for the United Way, says, "That includes check cashing outlets, pay day lenders, and pawn shops."
    Officials say about one-third of the city's population uses these cash outlets because they either don't have a bank or they're under-banked.
    These businesses advertise "fast cash" methods.
    So what's the problem with that?
    "These are associated with extremely high interest," Caterine says.  "The average interest rate in Texas is about 309-percent, and they charge about $25 for every $100 of a loan."
    North Texas Area United Way representatives are asking local banks to join together to lower barriers that keep people from opening accounts by participating in their program called Bank On.
    "It's main insight and its main strategy is to develop a low-cost banking product with a low security deposit and no monthly fees, overdraft forgiveness," Caterine says.
    Tracey Denson, a State Farm agent who attended the Bank On informational session, says, "This kind of program gives them the opportunity to give them a second chance or a head start in trying to change their practices."
    Officials plan to meet again to decide if this program is a viable option for the community.
    But until then, if a pay day loan is your last option, experts say it's best to shop around and look for the best deal before you agree to the terms of the loan.
    We tried to talk to representatives at pay day loan companies about the benefits they offer their customers.
    Each declined to interview with us.

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