When folks are strapped for cash and have bills to pay, some will look to payday loan providers for cash advances.
At least 14 providers are open in San Angelo and exist to provide immediate cash. However, they often charge very high interest rates -- the Federal Trade Commission says rates of 390 percent and more are common -- that opponents say trap borrowers in an endless cycle of debt because they cause them to consistently pay interest and never pay off principal.
Several faith leaders from the San Angelo community petitioned city council Tuesday to consider regulation and interest rate caps.
"The entire industry is set up based on the assumption that people will fail at fulfilling their obligations," Pastor Tim Davenport-Herbst said. "The industry wins when the people lose.
"What we see is the people who are the 'least of these' in our community being taken advantage of."
The San Angelo City Council unanimously requested more information on the industry and research into how possible ordinances could read. Several members voiced support for more oversight during discussion, though there were concerns that the issue is not within the realm of the city government to regulate.
We reached out to several different payday loan providers in San Angelo and all declined to comment.