Payday loans: Like a cab ride to Phoenix
The Freedom Loans Team, standing from left, Jeff Anderson, Mike Mullens, Pam Umstead and David Umstead. Representing Broadway Bank are Bob Waller, Sandra Ramirez and Cheli Bargo (seated).
Special Business Article | The Kerrville Daily Times |Saturday March 12, 2016
Few of us would embark on a taxi cab trip to Phoenix without considering the extraordinary costs of paying for this
ultra long-distance cab ride. Yet, we e k l y, we e n c o u n t e r p e o p l embarking on a borrower’s equivalet of a cab ride from Kerrville to Phoenix. Just as a taxi is expensive for long distance travel, payday loans and their hidden costs are poor solutions for budget shortfalls.
Payday loans are expensive regardless of their duration and are intended to be r e p a i d i n we e k s n o t mo n t h s .
Borrowers, using a $500 payday loan six months out of a year, may experience borrowing costs exceeding $1,500. What begins as a weekly financial solution becomes a nightmare for entrapped borrowers on limited budgets.
The allure of easy money blinds borrowers from seeing that payday loans are hazardous to pocketbooks, like taxi cabs to Phoenix.
A local nonprofit, SERV Kerrville, a Servant Ministry focused on mobilizing faith into action, led by, Pastor Jeff Anderson, has developed a solution for payday-challenged borrowers. The program, named Freedom Loans, seeks to rescue borrowers trapped in a continuing cycle of repaying payday loans. Broadway Bank in Kerrville was excited to learn of Freedom Loans’ mission to help borrowers build bridges from payday debt to financial freedom. This month, Freedom Loans is introducing
this financial rescue product in Kerr County, and Broadway Bank is pleased to serve as their loan administration partner in this one-of-a-kind nonprofit service to our community.Freedom Loans has assembled a volunteer management team of successful business executives to lead their program. Mike Mullens will lead operations. He is the former executive vice president of U.S. Risk and program manager for Lloyds of London. Pam and David Umstead, successful entrepreneurs, will lead the financial education and guidance aspect of Freedom Loans. Together we plan to forge relationships with referring organizations such as Christian Assistance Ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, local churches and others who will refer potential borrowers. Once a prospective borrower is identified, they will be assigned a Freedom Guide to assist them in
completing an application to replace their payday debt with a very low-cost,multi-month loan from Broadway Bank. During their Freedom Loan repayment term, each borrower will receive Freedom guidance through a 15 step financial education mentoring program. Kerr County borrowers will benefit from a free threefold services solution:
• The conversion of their debt to lowcost, multi-month term debt
• An ongoing relationship with a Freedom Guide who deeply cares about providing life-changing advice
• The development of a personal banking relationship to help them improve credit scores.
Freedom Loans encourages all of Kerr County’s banking community to join the program as guides, community reinvestment funder's and referral sources. There are opportunities for individuals to participate as guides and donors, and for businesses to
participate as well.Kerr County is fortunate to have this innovative program originate in our community. Thankfully, the providence of God was expressed through local pastors John Standridge and David Danielson, who brought this need to
the attention of SERV Ministries.
Beginning Monday, Freedom Loans will offer Kerr County’s income-challenged families a viable alternative to replace
the outlandish costs of payday loans and the added benefit of educational guidance to help borrowers move toward financial freedom.