Your Sunday long read is the latest financial sector scam to exploit the poor with low credit and destroy families and neighborhoods through usury: title loans.
For many borrowers, title loans, also sometimes known as motor-vehicle equity lines of credit or title pawns, are having ruinous financial consequences, causing owners to lose their vehicles and plunging them further into debt.
A review by The New York Times of more than three dozen loan agreements found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from nearly 80 percent to over 500 percent. While some loans come with terms of 30 days, many borrowers, unable to pay the full loan and interest payments, say that they are forced to renew the loans at the end of each month, incurring a new round of fees.
Customers of TitleMax, for example, typically renewed their loans eight times, a former president of the company disclosed in a 2009 deposition.
And because many lenders make the loan based on an assessment of a used car’s resale value, not on a borrower’s ability to repay that money, many people find that they are struggling to keep up almost as soon as they drive off with the cash.
As a result, roughly one in every six title-loan borrowers will have the car repossessed, according to an analysis of 561 title loans by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit in Durham, N.C.
Subprime loans wiped out minority home ownership. The median black household net worth has dropped to under $4,000, and most of that is in the last thing black households own: a car. Now those are being repossessed because banks will no longer do business in minority communities.
It's targeted elimination.