WICHITA, Kansas (KAKE) – More than a dozen Kansasers gathered at the Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center in Wichita on Monday for a town hall payday loan.
Organizers of the event included the Wichita Black Alliance and Topeka Jump groups. Organizers told KAKE News that the purpose of the event is to educate Kansans and allow them to share their stories about the dangers of payday loans.
Some people present said that they themselves had been victims of the loans or at least knew someone who had been victimized.
“I did not have any information,” said one victim. “They haven’t sent me any notices.”
Organizers said payday loans often put people in a position where they borrow money only to have to pay back up to twice that amount with interest rates of 300%.
“They are falling behind, they can lose their jobs,” Wichita lawyer Tijuana Hardwell said. “They can lose their transportation. Get a title loan against their vehicle. These are people who lose their way to work.”
Hardwell said she was working with leaders present at mayoralty, such as Wichita deputy mayor Brandon Johnson and Kansas senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau to make changes.
Hardwell also helped organize a peaceful protest in November 2020 outside of a new securities lending business.
Organizers said they hoped to continue working with Senator Faust-Goudeau to make changes at state house. They said they are currently focusing on capping interest rates, requiring installment plans and limiting paycheck foreclosures.
“We don’t need this industry to fill the void,” said Senator Faust-Goudeau. “But we don’t need them to steal from us blind.”
Faust-Goudeau encourages Kansans to use their voice to let lawmakers know if they are unhappy with payday loans in Kansas while other solutions are discussed.
Wichita Deputy Mayor Brandon Johnson said he was looking at the resources available to Kansans who have been victimized by payday lenders.