A group of Lake Highlands neighbors think there are too many "payday lenders" in the neighborhood. The usually bright red and yellow quick cash loan places do seem to be multiplying like Gremlins in LH. I have heard more commercials for them on the radio, too — commercials that make the businesses sound innocent and sensible, when the truth is that by the time you end up at "payday loans", something has likely gone terribly wrong in your financial world and they are there, in many cases to take advantage of that.

The Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association yesterday called for collective action against the quick-cash establishments which they say “attract an unsavory element and prey on those least able to help themselves, and with current economic distress, we are worried that they will continue to increase in our community, making it less appealing to restaurants and other quality retailers we would like to attract.” 

We aren’t the only community worried about this type of lender.

The city of Irving a couple weeks ago began researching whether state law would allow them to cap interest rates charged by such lenders, and other cities such as Mesquite, Sachse and Richardson have started using zoning laws to limit how and where quick cash businesses can operate.  One Sachse official called them “legal loan sharks”.

According to this article it could be tough to regulate or place interest caps on these places — bills introduced to the state legislature last session reportedly fell to the efforts of lobbyists hired by the payday lending companies.

The LHAIA recognizes the uphill battle stating,

“Banks, credit unions, and other official lenders are some of the most regulated businesses in America today, yet these payday lenders operate with virtually no regulation or oversight, at least in Texas. They charge exorbitant fees and interest to their customers, which has helped them rack up record profits and no doubt led to their ever-increasing numbers. They continue to fend off efforts to rein them in, thanks in no small part to very active lobbyists in Austin, as well as their ability to funnel some of those record profits into sizable campaign donations to the very legislators deciding whether they should be regulated.”

LHAIA reps urge the community to contact legislators representing the LH area and let them know your thoughts.

Below are contacts for said legislators:

State Rep. Will Hartnett; State Rep. Carol Kent; State Rep. Allen Vaught; State Senator John Corona.