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Michigan Payday Loan Laws and Legislation
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F Flint Fort Gratiot. M Marshall Monroe Muskegon. Loan terms and availability may vary by location. How Much Can I Get? There was an unexpected error saving your information. Please try again later. In Michigan, though, Locke and every other payday lender operated via regulatory loopholes. State regulators looked the other way, and Michigan lenders were free to charge what they wanted.
They found a friendly legislator to introduce the bill in the state Senate in They tried again in They already had a lobbyist on retainer, but the extra money allowed them to add five more, including the firms of former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley and an ex-speaker of the House, and hire a PR firm to help them hone their message. Lenders could still make money in Florida on loans earning more than percent interest — and maybe even quell a growing backlash among consumer groups.
For Webster, a 20 percent drop in revenue would be the cost of doing business in Michigan. The smaller local players, however, felt betrayed, none seemingly more than Locke. The lower rate would translate into lost jobs, Locke complained in sit-downs with legislators. It would mean more boarded-up storefronts around a state that already had too many of them. The ensuing battle, which took place in the second half of , was like Godzilla versus King Kong. Night after night, Locke claims he watched as the CFSA picked up the tab at yet another fancy restaurant in Lansing for any legislator wanting to eat and drink.
Locke tried to fight back. He told me one of his lobbyists set up a dinner with an influential legislator from Detroit. During the meal, it became obvious that his guest had already sided with the CFSA.
Predictably, the legislature backed the slightly more consumer friendly CFSA bill, which Granholm signed into law at the end of Soon thereafter, Locke stepped down as head of his statewide association. Despite his dire warnings, Locke and his partners continued to thrive in Michigan. The case eventually settled, but other suits followed. Through it all, Locke blamed his woes on Granholm, who had refused to sign the bill he had worked so hard to pass.
He decided to become a whistleblower — a former insider who goes rogue to let the world know that rather than helping people, he was peddling a toxic product that left most of them decidedly worse off. Locke not only abandoned the business, but he also sold most of his possessions, including his house and most of the jewelry. Locke wrote to Oprah Winfrey. He contacted the Today Show and stressed his Flint roots when trying to contact fellow native Michael Moore.
He flew to Hollywood in the hopes that someone would want to turn his life story into a movie or television show. But rather than fame and attention, he got a taste of life as a public-interest advocate. Locke wrote a short book he called Greed: The Dark Side of Predatory Lending that no one read.
He had imagined regular trips to Washington, D. He had contacted more than two dozen members of Congress, but only one agreed to meet with him: But the ad, Locke said, failed to elicit a single phone call or email message.
He spent several thousand dollars attending the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, only to be ignored. Spending time with Locke in Michigan often meant listening to long rants about the lack of gratitude among the partners he had brought into the payday business, despite all the money he had made them. People who begged me to get them into the business — screwing me over. Rise and fall in the estimated number of payday stores across the United States as select states have fought back against these higher-priced loans.
The payday lenders have turned to Congress for relief, as have the banks, subprime auto lenders, and other financial players now in the sights of the CFPB. Every year, more bills are introduced in Congress that either would weaken the bureau or thwart one of its rulings. The focus now, however, is on the proposed CFPB rules and the comment period. Between now and then, both the payday lenders and their opponents will share their disappointment.
At the end of , more than a year after dramatically switching sides in the fight over payday, Locke got back into the business. His wife missed the trappings of their old life.
He was a working-class kid from Flint who had dropped out after a semester or two of college. He had only so much money in the bank and two young children. What else was someone like him supposed to do? And — despite his harsh words about the industry — it turned out he had been hedging his bets all along: I had to return home. Email list managed by MailChimp. Money for Nothing Confessions of a Payday Lender: Courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press. Center for Responsible Lending. Billy Webster, co-founder of Advance America.