Letter: Trapping Desperate People
To the Editor:
Thank you for your reporting about auto title loans, which prey on working people in tight spots. In this tough economy, with little job growth and flat wages, many of our neighbors struggle to meet regular expenses. When something urgent and unexpected hits us — a doctor’s visit, medication, car repair, a high electric or gas bill — there is nothing left to cover it. People need cash, need it immediately and have few places to turn.
Auto title loan companies present themselves as the answer, with few qualifying requirements and immediate cash. Tragically, they often trap people in a cycle of extended loans and outrageous interest payments. Instead of being helped out of a cash flow crunch, people get deeper and deeper into debt and very often lose the cars they need to get to work.
In your July 14 article, Roy Hutcheson, the founder of Title Cash of N.H., admits that 75 percent of his company’s loans fail. Three out of every four people who take a loan from Title Cash cannot repay it, meaning that they lose the money they have paid in principal and interest, and then lose their cars as well. Three out of four people. The title loan people offer up to half the value of your car, but usually end up with everything.
They are right about one thing, though. There is a serious need that is not being met by traditional banks, credit unions and loan companies here. There are towns where people have a better choice and can get the cash they need at reasonable rates. I hope that our community will rally around the service agencies and advocacy groups now working to bring these better options to West Lebanon.