BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - More than 950 payday loan businesses operate throughout Louisiana. Within Baton Rouge's city limits, it seems like one is on every corner. It's that frequency that has many city officials worried.
"It does have a negative impact on the economic vitality of an urban community," said Baton Rouge councilwoman Tara Wicker.
The Metro Council considered a new ordinance that would set a minimum distance between lenders and restrict business hours. The measure, proposed by Councilwomen Ronnie Edwards and Donna Collins-Lewis follows failed attempts from state lawmakers to cap interest rates. The issue remains heated.
"They're concentrated in poor communities. They cater to customers who can't afford the sky-high fees and interest rates," said Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project.
"We are the only industry that has put an extended payment plan together for ourselves," said Danny Ford with the Louisiana Payday Loan Association in defense of the industry.
The Council was also split during Wednesday's meeting. The ordinance failed to gain a majority vote and was deferred for two weeks.