Payday Lending Demonstrators March In Harrisonburg

Brent Finnegan -- November 30th, 2007

Here’s some video I shot with a little digital still camera on Carlton Street about an hour ago.

A few organizers from the Virginia Organizing Project and CAP America came to Harrisonburg today, and were joined by several local activists to hold signs, inform borrowers of their rights, and encourage passers-by to contact Senator Obenshain and Delegate Lohr and tell them to put a 36 percent cap on payday loan interest rates.

Here’s an archive of what I’ve written about payday lending on hburgnews before.

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94 Responses to “Payday Lending Demonstrators March In Harrisonburg”

  1. David Miller says:

    I’m sorry Myron, you are correct in that I should not have called you sexist because it does not add to this dialogue. It’s just that I still have your “Gotta have a MAN in the Clerk’s office to keep all those women off of each other’s throats” comment you made running in my head. Nothing personal or trashy. See you on

  2. republitarian says:

    “Gotta have a MAN in the Clerk’s office to keep all those women off of each other’s throats”

    I never made that comment. I now know that you are basically trying to attribute things to me I never said….but that’s okay.

    In FACT, I mentioned specifically in several posts that I thought Cindy Fitzwater and Sarah Jones were extremely qualified and I would have strongly considered voting for them had I not run. In FACT, I actually encouraged Sarah Jones AND Dianne Fulk to run.

    I also want to note that you asked me for facts to back up my opinion….which I did.

  3. republitarian says:

    Kyle, I agree 100%.

    It needs to be that the politicians aren’t in control of so much money and can use it to manipulate people.

    Medicare and SS is a great example. If a person begins to reform medicare or SS I can garauntee you the AARP will be against them.

  4. David Miller says:

    No myron, no. You cannot say things and then deny them. If you don’t remember, fine. I really don’t care if you can’t remember saying it or not. I really don’t care either way. I didn’t request that you back up your info with propaganda. I said “You have strayed off topic. I have no interest in hearing your diatribe during our attempts to better understand one another’s perspectives.”. I meant it. Again, sorry for the name calling. I didn’t mean to stray from Constructive.

  5. republitarian says:

    Umm…no, I did not make that comment.

    Can you prove I did? It certainly is easy for you to lie about something I wrote. Do you feel good about that?

  6. JGFitzgerald says:


    Maybe we could look for that comment on the site that had so much about the clerk’s race … oh, never mind, somebody deleted it.

    Sorry. Just trying to help.

  7. Seth says:

    you guys make me sad

  8. David Miller says:

    You’ve called me a liar for quoting something from the Taratsa that everyone heard. I’m done with you.

  9. David Miller says:

    Lowell, JG and everyone else interested in discussion. Have you seen the Congressional interviews with persons victimized by Credit Card companies? The testimonies are from person whose interest rates were hiked because of their credit score changes. NOt because of missed payments or any other factor other than FICO scores (which were affected by that very same lender extending further credit).

  10. David Miller says:

    Lowell, thanks for the link. The point the author made about the legalize being changed to “fees” instead of interest to bypass the existing consumer protection laws is great. Let’s bypass existing consumer protection laws and call it good for the consumer. Wait….I know this tactic. I’ve heard this one before.

  11. whackette says:

    I wish I could say I’m surprised by the condescending rudeness found here, but I can’t.

    I had hoped to be able to participate now that the election is over, however I believe I’m just as done as David is.

  12. republitarian says:

    I am about 99.9% sure you have the wrong candidate. I believe you were the one who asked what the clerk actually does and after Benny pounded the table and gave his bit I corrected some items and Dianne Fulk then added some I had left out.

    I have never said that because I’ve never fely that way.

    Did anyone else hear me say this…or just you?

  13. If you want to know the truth, I remember who said it. I’m NOT taking up for Myron, but it was not him that said it. If you want to know David, e-mail me. I have the whole site copied. I won’t drag all that trash here to hburgnews.
    You can’t take Myron’s sexist comments seriously. He just wants you all to think that. Ask his wife…Megan would not put up with that for long. He’s just blowing wind.

  14. JGFitzgerald says:

    No bailout or protection for the payday borrower, but a deal worked out by the treasury secretary that … wait for it … bails out the mortgage holder more than the mortgage payer. Countrywide: propped up. Already had your house foreclosed: screwed. Renting: screwed. Behind on credit cards: screwed.

    At this rate, lenders will wind up with a greater subsidy than dairy farmers.

  15. JGFitzgerald says:


    I assume by your reference to condescending rudeness that you mean my and other posters’ responses to the blogger commonly known as Republitarian. Please keep in mind that this is someone who had his own blog until recently when he destroyed it to devote the URL exclusively to sycophancy. One of his final posts, you may recall, was a fairly despicable piece of homophobia that he seemed to present with the smirk you’d see on the face of a schoolboy whizzing where girls can see him. Now this same blogger brings a number of negatives to this blog. Did-not, did-too arguments about the details of his failed political adventure. Barely relevant comments borrowed without attribution. And, last but not least, displaying the sort of manners that were welcomed on the blog he destroyed, but that many of us manage to avoid here until we’re responding to him or Briggman.

    So long as the blogger in question owns the URL he’s posting on, he has a right, although little moral or ethical justification, to change it like a teenage girl trying on new clothes. But when he brings the habits of that sandbox to another blog, specifically this one, I for one am not going to pretend he’s making a serious, thoughtful contribution.

    Is that condescending? Maybe. Maybe it’s also patronizing, smug and elitist. But for every adjective along those lines that can be applied to my responses to said blogger, I can think of two or three describing the destroyed blog’s tabloid tendency toward the gutter.

  16. republitarian says:

    Oh yeah…..but he started it.

  17. Lowell Fulk says:

    69 comments, the discussion continues on, and fewer and fewer remarks are about the topic that began the thread: payday lending; an issue that is a poison to the future wellbeing of our citizens and communities, and the discussion has been sidetracked to the point of meaninglessness. This must be, has to be, an ever stronger message to me, from God, to stay the f#$k away from blogging.
    Bye, have a Merry Christmas.

  18. MAW says:

    Just trying to lighten things up a little bit:

    Think about a time when you were having a conversation with someone. You start out on one subject and somehow end up on something totally different with a bunch of other subjects stuck in between. It just happens.

    I may be wrong, but I didn’t think you could get a loan from a bank for $500 or less. I think a lot of people don’t borrow enough at one time to use a bank. They just borrow enough to get them through ’til the next payday. I know someone who used the Payday loan. It really surprised me because they both had excellent paying jobs, and excellent credit. I think they were just a little short on a down payment on land.

  19. You’re right Maw, subjects do change in the blogosphere…is that that you call it? At least that is what I have observed. You just go with it, move on and not take it so seriously. It is what it is. An internet chat room.

  20. David Miller says:

    Since this has gotten very much out of hand let me do the following.

    Myron, if you never said that, then I do sincerely apologize. I never meant to slander you, nor did I ever get joy from this conversation with you. My apologies. Please, please let me welcome you to debate this topic of Payday Lending with you. I welcome it.

    Whackette (Megan right?), I wish that you didn’t feel that my remarks were condescending, I was pissed off because I feel like the debate had strayed, intentionally. Sarcasm is hard to read via text, Myron’s comments may have been in jest. I don’t know and frankly I just don’t care. I wanted to discuss this topic with people that didn’t share my views on Pay Day Lending. This to better understand those views. That’s why I blog. I have no interest in quibbling your husband or you over anything but the topics that are posed on Hburg. This is the reason why I blog here. Please accept my apologies for the role I played in this downslope of debate.

  21. Seth says:

    so i’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to relate a personal account of how payday lending has screwed up their life (or that of someone they know). there are a select few folks on here who seem to have direct experience and their comments hardly paint the payday lenders as the bastards that so many are certain need to be wiped off the map. looks suspiciously like specious dogooding to me. it’s not that i don’t believe people get themselves in trouble with this sort of thing. i know they do. a friend of mine works for one of these places. his boss left recently (after a number of years) because the people who got themselves in trouble were starting to get her depressed. but i gaurantee that if you get down on the ground and talk to the individuals who are using payday lenders, you’ll find that they fill an important role in our community. that’s been my experience at any rate.

  22. David Miller says:


    I have no doubt that this type of institution meets a basic need of the community (otherwise they would be out of business by now). I do however believe that they have no right to charge an APR of over 36%. Do you?

  23. cook says:

    “I do however believe that they have no right to charge an APR of over 36%. Do you?”

    All these numbers are arbitrary, David. Why doesn’t morality demand a 37% cap? 39%? 300%? 3%? Morality is good at general principles (“do unto others . . .”) but sometimes poor at drawing precise lines. The market is good at drawing lines but sometimes poor at establishing morality.

    I’m no economist, but it strikes me that using the APR makes sense for purposes of comparing long term loans, but for the purpose of comparing fees on short term loans the APR seems like a less appropriate indicator. Could a solution be found in talking about fees on short term loans as a percentage of the principal, and considering APR when rolling the initial short term loan into a long term loan?

  24. David Miller says:

    I see your point. I’m going to do some research on the 36% cap tonight to see what the history is behind it. Personally I think that the limit is set by saying that anything higher would be exhorbitant and immoral. The problem is that I used the two words exhorbitant and immoral instead of reasons, these are value judgements. I’m going to get back to you on this one.

  25. David Miller says:

    “The Defense Department called payday lending practices “predatory”, and military officers cited concerns that payday lending exacerbated soldiers’ financial challenges, jeopardized security clearances, and even interfered with deployment schedules to Iraq. ” source:

    That’s a start. I’ll get back to this subject when I get home.

    So even the defense department refers to it as predatory lending.

  26. Lowell Fulk says:

    Seth and Cook,
    Both of you are waiting for someone else to do your homework for you. If you want the answer to your question, go do some research. Then come back and argue from a basis of knowledge and understanding.

    What was the cap before it was removed? Don’t know? Look it up. Read the reasoning behind 36%.

    You call it arbitrary. Why? Justify your opinion please.

    Just because you haven’t considered something doesn’t mean others haven’t. ALL banks loan based on APR. When you go to your lending institution for a 30, 60, 90, or 180 day unsecured note, they figure it based on an annual percentage rate. What do you think the prime rate is figured on? That is how money policy is conducted.

    So, whether you call it a “fee” a “surcharge” or “interest” is really beside the point. If it costs you $15.00 to borrow $100.00 for one week, you then are paying 15% per week for your loan.

    To figure the annual percentage rate at which you are borrowing money, you multiply by the number of weeks in a year. This is how it works…

    If the person who takes a payday loan for $100.00 for one week with a “lending fee” of $15.00 decides for what ever reason that they cannot pay the $115.00 that they agreed to pay for the use of $100.00 five days ahead of when they were to receive their paycheck, then the lender will “roll over” or extend the loan for another week for an additional $15.00.

    So now it will have cost the hapless and judgmentally challenged individual $130.00 to spend $100.00 for whatever he thought was so important at the moment he decided he just had to have that certain something.

    If this continues for seven weeks, then Mr. “Use this valuable tool that the 2002 general assembly provided for his disposal” has paid over twice as much for what ever he thought he had to have in such an emergency than the original cost. Not even two months….

    Have I seen this in action? Have I seen this cause real damage? To people on the ground that I really know? To people I care about?

    You bet I have.

    But sir, until you are willing to do some homework of your own to better your own understanding of the situation of which you wish to discuss, I do not choose to be your teacher anymore than I have already attempted. You sir have a responsibility to understand any issue which you wish to argue.

    Mr. Miller, you do not have to run yourself ragged to answer questions that these gentlemen have the responsibility to find answers to on their own. If you choose to do so for your own enlightenment, and to better educate yourself then go forward. But do not let people put you in the position of having to answer the endless arguments of those who have already made up their minds no matter what factual evidence you present.

    Seth and Cook, to what category do you find yourselves members? Do you wish honest information toward finding the truth? Or is your goal to merely poke holes in that which makes you uncomfortable?

  27. David Miller says:

    Lowell, good point. I respect Seth (I don’t know Cook, or at least I don’t think that I do but still he’s been courteous) so I don’t mind passing along knowledge (or delusion:)) as long as the conversation is mutually respectful. What I’d still love to discuss are the campaign contributions that our lawmakers took from these organizations. I’ve never been a politician and I know its par for the political course but how shady. Taking money from the very organization that benefited from your vote. I’m sick and tired of this situation. How can anyone believe that the process works (ie benefits us, the voter) as long as it works in this manner?

  28. cook says:

    I have no agenda here, Lowell; both sides have appealing arguments, and this is a great forum for learning from others. I have never dealt with payday lenders, but I have had some professional “run-ins” shall we say with their “cousins” in the the rent-to-own industry.

    As it turns out, last night a few hours before my friend Lowell was posting, I was reading Virginia’s Payday Loan Act in Title 6.1 of the Code. I was surprised to find that, among other things, a licensed payday lender “shall not refinance, renew or extend any loan . . . shall not cause a borrower to be obligated upon more than one loan at any time for the purpose of increasing charges payable by the borrower . . . shall not require or accept a post-dated check as security for, or in payment of, a loan.”

    And there are both civil and criminal remedies available to consumers where these “shall nots” have been violated.

    I have not yet read any case law construing these statutes, but at first glance it seems that if local payday lenders are rolling loans over, then (a) the second and subsequent contracts may be void or voidable and (b) we can enforce these provisions in court. I’d be happy to work with someone on this issue.

    Perhaps the GA isn’t so evil after all. Perhaps. Or perhaps I’m missing something.

    (David, I’ve paid for plenty of field trips to YMI, but maybe I’ll introduce myself next time.)

  29. Seth says:

    so i understand that whoever the paper talked to about payday lending is the polished pr rep for advance america, but it really does sound like a stretch to call it an immoral and predatory industry that should be dismantled. kind of like equating the current national socialist movement to that of the late 30’s. good for effect. maybe not so firmly grounded in reality

  30. Bryan says:

    Seth was too busy prancing around in a toga and making love to his beer bong when his self-righteous WahooVA lit. professor went over analogies.

  31. Seth says:

    thanks bryan!
    you’re right, there was actually not a direct comparison being made in the form of simile or metaphor.
    here’s what it should have said:

    ….kind of like invoking the national socialism of the 1930’s when trying to inflame passions against the current movement….

    i appreciate you keeping me honest.

  32. finnegan says:

    Hmm. I’m thinking inside jokes and wink-nudge sibling rivalries don’t translate well onto the Internet.

  33. David Miller says:

    Sorry, I posted this in the wrong spot
    The PayDay lender spokesman was quoted as saying About 95 percent of those working people pay their loan back in full “on or about they day they are due,” according to the company report.”. So let’s take their word for it and assume that 95% of their customers do pay back the loans within the time and let’s assume (unnecessarily drastic but the best way to assume) that the other 5% defaulted completely. This means that if a payday institution loans out $100,000 annually they would make $14,250. That’s the most modest estimate of revenue for this business scheme. Now ponder what really happens to the 5% default, do they completely default or are they revolving debtors? What’s the business’s projected lending volume for the year (the reason I ask this is because the argument has been made that they would go out of business at the 36% rate, so let’s prove it). The above figures constituted 1,000 customers a year with a $100 loan apiece. If I had 1,000 customers a year, I’d go out of business too.

    The DNR quoted the statistic at this “434,000” loans worth “$1.3 billion”. Let’s do the math. At 391% APR, that’s a killing, even at the claimed rate of15% its $154,500,000. Divided between the 800 estimated stores open in VA, that’s $193,125 profit (pre tax and expenses) But that 15% is not 15% as Heather Bowser reported, so what is their rake.

    Generally Accepted Accounting Principals for APR are as follows.

    “Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is an expression of the effective interest rate that the borrower will pay on a loan, taking into account one-time fees and standardizing the way the rate is expressed. In other words the APR is the total cost of credit to the consumer, expressed as an annual percentage of the amount of credit granted. APR is intended to make it easier to compare lenders and loan options.”

    The reason I make this argument is not to put this industry out of business. I am a very passionate free enterprise supporter. Everyday I deal with the hassles and headaches of bureaucracy. I do believe that corporations allowed to exist uninhibited will operate in any way necessary for maximum stockholder benefit and are very dangerous to society. So let’s take the argument from that stance. Tax returns for publicly traded companies are public, maybe a reporter who wanted to report could find out some of the answers (like what do you make a year off of VA’s poor because yes I do believe that a household of two making $40,000 a year are poor) instead of simply repeating the “We’d go out of business” mantra that they use against these obvious Communists who want to make lending fair and equitable, Kind of like the Fair Lending Practices

  34. David Miller says:


    I’m still interested in what you found with the statutes but haven’t had time to look it up. Do you have a link?

  35. Bryan says:

    dodo bird!

  36. David Miller says:

    What Bryan?

  37. Bryan says:

    it’s an inside wink-nudge.

  38. Lowell Fulk says:

    I went with my wife Dianne to church this morning. This is something I really should do more often, if not on a regular basis.
    I thought about the conversation of this thread, which I found to be a good conversation.
    I was struck by the verse written in this morning’s program.
    I find myself on an ever increasing basis learning from my Mother who passed away in 1998. She taught me so much more than I may ever truly appreciate.
    Thank you Mother.
    This morning’s lesson:
    Psalm 15:
    Lord, who may enter your Holy tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
    Only that who are innocent and who do what is right.
    Such people speak the truth from their hearts and do not tell lies about others.
    The do no wrong to their neighbors and do not gossip. They do not respect hateful people but honor those who honor the LORD.
    They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts. They do not charge interest on money they lend and do not take money to hurt innocent people.
    Whoever does all these things will never be destroyed.
    I hope to one day possibly live up to this ideal. To some small fraction of the degree my Mother did…
    I have so much to learn…

  39. David Miller says:


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