Religion and payday loans collide at La. State Capitol during session

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Religion and expensive payday loans collided with each other Tuesday at the Louisiana State Capitol.

The fight to reform payday loans is shaping out to be a real struggle. A rally was held Tuesday on the steps of the Capitol by religious and legislative leaders.

Penny Fisher and others were amongst those who spoke at the rally. She told her tale of woe about dealing with the payday industry. Penny talked about how it cost her $4,980.50 to borrow $300. She said it took her years to get out of debt.

"I do this because I don't want anybody else to get caught in this trap, because it is a trap. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done a lot of things differently," said Penny.

Industry leaders say the information being sent out is really dis-information and simply not true.

Payday loan business owner Troy McCullen is said to be the largest payday loaner in the state. He attended the rally.

"Our fees are 20 percent of what you borrow. [A] Flat fee - 20 percent of what you borrow. [If] you borrow $100, the fee on that is $20 and by law you cannot take out another loan until that loan is paid off," he said.

"You can always do a better job. There are probably some things that could be tweaked, but to throw out an entire industry is just a bit extreme to me," he added.

Not so says the author of the legislation reform.

Senator Ben Nevers, (D) Bogalusa, says intense lobbying is taking place on the industry side. He pointed out the "horror stories our people in the state" spoke about. "We certainly want lending opportunities for our people in our state, but we do not want people to prey upon people who are less fortunate than you and I are," he said.

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