by Ashley Phosphate
Myrtle Beach – Stung by predatory lending criticisms, South Carolina’s payday lenders organized at a meeting in Horry County yesterday and laid plans to hire the state’s homeless. The new organization, Predatory Lender’s Council (PLC) aims to change the image of the industry.
“We’re all about helping the less fortunate,” said J.P. Ballingpie, PLC’s president. “And the best way to do that is to get all the homeless out of the libraries and off the street corners and behind a predatory lending desk,” he said.
Phase I of the plan calls for thousands of homeless to be bussed daily from alleys and public parks to various payday lenders. There the homeless will be washed down and then trained to answer phones and to aid the poor fill out applications for predatory loans.
Phase II, planned for the fall, will actually use the homeless to prowl the streets looking for drug users and other down-on-their-luck types to begin actively soliciting predatory loans from desperate people, Ballingpie said.
“I’m looking forward to this banking business,” said Joe a homeless veteran in Aiken (who wouldn’t give his last name). “Banking seems a way out for a whole lot of people. Everyone needs money for beer or vodka or homes or cigarettes or whatever so I think I already know the target market, you know?” Joe said.