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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – State Employees CU of N.C. CEO Jim Blaine didn’t get much time on a segment on payday lending on last Wednesday night’s 60 Minutes program, but it was enough to get in some typical colorful Blaine quotes. Blaine said payday lenders are the worst option for consumers needing fast cash. “Any other choice on the planet is better. A credit card at 18%, a finance company at 36% is better. Borrow from your mom, your uncle,” said Blaine. When asked if he would compare payday lenders to loan sharks, Blaine said, “I wouldn’t insult the loan sharks.” He said loan sharks only charge 150%, so why would a consumer choose a payday lender at 400%. The segment highlighted a very articulate woman (a teacher and disc jockey) from Wilmington, N.C. who borrowed $2,510 from a payday lender after her husband lost his job as a chef – it cost her $10,000 in fees to repay the loan. According to the report, payday lenders now number over 22,000 – more than the number of McDonald’s in the country – and represent a $40 billion industry. Willie Green, a former wide receiver with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers who now owns three payday stores and is a board member for payday lenders’ national trade association, defended payday lenders saying they are the only option for many consumers in a tight spot. He is lobbying in North Carolina to make payday lending legal and cap the number of loans a consumer can take in a year at 12. The report also blamed the FDIC, pointing out that even though many states have caps on rates, payday lenders get around it by partnering with an out-of-state bank that has higher or no caps. The North Carolina attorney general said the FDIC has the authority to end this loophole, but hasn’t yet. The program failed to mention what Blaine’s CU is doing to combat payday lending. The CU launched its own payday lending product that caps out at 12%. Incidentally, the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes has been cancelled for next season. [email protected]

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