In 2003, Elliott Clark‘s wife fell and broke her ankle, and his job as a security guard wouldn’t cover the bills. So, he turned to payday loans to make up the difference, and that decision coast him over $50,000 in interest for just a $2,500 loan.
“Oh, I’ve been called stupid, and they say I should have read the fine print,” Clark said. “But they’ve not walked in my shoes. What choice did I have? I needed money.”
Clark had taken out five loans of $500 each in order to help pay for his wife’s medical costs, because he couldn’t get a bank loan with his credit score. Every two weeks, he would repay one loan of $500 with an additional $95 in interest, but he would often simply turn around and take out another loan of $500 and go to the next place until all five were paid off, because he could not afford to fully pay down the debt.
This cycle continued until he received disability payments from Veterans Affairs and Social Security, and he was bale to pay off the debt entirely.
Now, Clark is telling his story at the Moral Economy Summit at Rockhurst University, sponsored by Communities Creating Opportunities, and calling out predatory loan companies who prey on people who have nowhere else to go.
“I’ve got no problem with businesses making a profit, but don’t take advantage of someone on their last legs,” he said.
“We are our brother’s keeper. We are all family.”