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<div class="navigation breadcrumb"> <a href="">Home</a> > <a href="">Opinion Blog</a> </div> <article id="post-20391" class="post-20391 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-tod_robberson"> <header class="entry-header"> <h1 class="entry-title">Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders</h1> <div class="ArticleSocialTools"> <span class="ArticleSocialToolsIcons_print" id="top" onclick="window.print(); return false;" st_processed="no" style="float:left"></span> <span class="st_email" st_title="Pete Sessions and

Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" st_url=" e-sessions-and-the-explosion-of-payday-lenders-arounddallas.html/" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left"></span> <span style="padding:5px 0px 17px 5px; border-left:1px solid #CCCCCC;"></span> <span class="st_facebook_hcount" st_title="Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" st_url=" e-sessions-and-the-explosion-of-payday-lenders-arounddallas.html/" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left;"></span> <span class="st_twitter_hcount" st_title="Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" st_url=" e-sessions-and-the-explosion-of-payday-lenders-arounddallas.html/" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left;" st_via="dallasnews"></span> <span class="st_plusone_hcount" st_title="Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" st_url=" e-sessions-and-the-explosion-of-payday-lenders-arounddallas.html/" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left;"></span> <span style="padding:5px 0px 17px 5px; border-left:1px solid #CCCCCC;"></span> <span class="st_sharethis" st_title="Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" st_url=" e-sessions-and-the-explosion-of-payday-lenders-arounddallas.html/" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left"></span> <span style="float:right;"><a href="#commentzone">comments (<fb:comments-count href=></fb:comments-count>)</a></span> </div> <div class="entry-meta"> <div style="float:left; margin-right:10px;"><img alt='' src=' e2?s=52&amp; %2Fimages%2Fdmn.jpg%3Fs%3D52&amp;r=G' class='avatar avatar-52 photo' height='52' width='52' /></div><div style="float:left;"><span class="sep">By </span><span class="byauthor"><span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href=" rson/" title="View all posts by Tod Robberson / Editorial Writer" rel="author">Tod Robberson / Editorial

Writer</a></span></span><br><span class="author email"><a href=mailto:""> m</a></span><br><span class="sep"></span><a href="" title="12:42 pm" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="2012-10-03T12:42:38+00:00" pubdate>12:42 pm on October 3, 2012 </time></a><span class="sep"> | </span><span class="author permalink"><a href="">Permalink</a></span></div> </div><!-.entry-meta --> </header><!-- .entry-header --> <div class="entry-content"> <p>When Ron Washington stands before you on the TV screen wearing his Rangers uniform, talking about how wonderful Ace Cash Express is, it&#8217;s easy to believe him. I mean, heck, it&#8217;s Ron Washington. And when you drive down the street and see an Ace Cash Express or CashAmerica or PL$ payday loan shop open in an otherwise downtrodden strip mall, all the colorful awnings and open-for-business signs make the neighborhood look vibrant again.</p> <p>Don&#8217;t be fooled. When those businesses come to your neighborhood, there&#8217;s trouble right around the corner. Payday lenders, pawn shops and title-loan companies are all signs that your neighborhood is in deep financial distress. The sites are chosen to serve their immediate surroundings because people who have to get title loans and payday loans tend not to have the means to drive far away to get them. When these lenders come to your neighborhood, it means there&#8217;s a high concentration of people living on the financial edge or rapidly descending into insolvency and poverty. Typical of the neighborhoods where they set up shop are the following factors:</p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: small;">High ratios of rental as opposed to owner-occupied housing</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">High rates of unemployment or underemployment</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Low rates of educational attainment</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">Low rates of English fluency</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small;">High rates of crime</span></li>

</ul> <p>I can prove this statistically. <a title="Payday lenders, pawn shops in Dallas County" href=" /Dist32.pdf">Take a look at this map for starters.</a> Nearly half of all of the pawn, payday and title loan shops in Dallas County are inside or within a mile of GOP Rep. Pete Sessions&#8217; 32nd Congressional District. Of the district&#8217;s over-25 population, 59.1 percent graduated from high school and attended some college, and 37.4 percent of adults speak English. But in the neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of payday lenders, the education and Englishspeaking rates drop significantly. Two of the highest concentrations of payday loan shops are northwest of Love Field and in central Oak Cliff. In those areas, post-high-school education rates are less than 30 percent. English-speaking rates are 15 to 29.8 percent.</p> <p>There is a predatory nature to the locations these companies choose for their loan shops. Sessions doesn&#8217;t think that&#8217;s a problem. Nor does he seem to think the crime problem associated with these locations is an issue, even though the chief of the Dallas Police Department has a big problem with them.</p> <p>Sessions was in our offices on Sept. 25 for a candidates interview. We asked Sessions to fill out a candidates questionnaire and, surprisingly, he declined to answer one question on the form: Who are your major campaign donors? But there&#8217;s a good reason for that.</p> <p>According to, which monitors campaign donations and the effect they have on the voting record of members of Congress, the No. 1 top contributor to Pete Sessions&#8217; congressional campaign is CashAmerica. I asked Sessions to explain how CashAmerica and other payday lenders and pawn shops help his district, given our previous reporting about the heavy presence of these operations inside Dallas&#8217;s 27 crime hotspots.</p> <p>His answer was quite similar to the explanation that CashAmerica and other payday lenders give for why they offer very-high-interest loans to people in desperation. Some excerpts of Sessions&#8217; response:</p> <p>&#8220;My point is that, as people have tough times and go from paycheck to paycheck or needs to needs there need to be lenders who are available. &#8230; [He refers to an annual percentage rate of 36 percent for payday lenders. The actual rate posted inside these stores is often closer to 200 or 300 percent.] &#8230; Maybe you needed to have a telephone for your job. Maybe you have electricity that you have to have cut off

and put back on. It may be cold, it might be hot. But you can go get a loan and pay $9 to get your loan because theres certainly cheaper than having your phone cut off and your electricity cut off, even though it may be a minimum fee of $25 to come in and apply to get the $200 or $300. But people tend to look at the APR on this, rather than what the actual effect was. What I got this loan, first of all there was somebody who was available to me. You have to be a credit union member to get a credit union loan. You have to be at a bank to get credit. But you can generally walk into these places and say, ve got a job, I work over here, and I need to borrow $300.s a processing fee that gets floated in the APR.&#8221;</p> <p>He added: &#8220;All Is a marketplace answer that a lot of people want and need. I represented the 5<sup>th</sup> District of Texas for a long period of time. I saw firsthand how people could come and bring in whatt know, itd like for you to hold this ring. I donll hold this as collateral. I think this is an honest and legitimate way to be able to have people who do business maybe differently than, necessarily, the five of us in this room. &#8230;</p> <p><em>&#8220;Ire there for a reason. People cans a cheaper way, not a more expensive way to do business.&#8221;</em></p> <p>Okay, I added the italics. Sessions is almost certain to be re-elected. But his constituents owe it to themselves to question where he sets his priorities and whether, in fact, this &#8220;cheaper&#8221; way to do business is, in fact, cheaper in terms of the degradation that tends to accompany their arrival. And they should ask whether CashAmerica really has their best interests in mind when they set up shop in the neighborhood and when they pay big bucks into Sessions&#8217; re-election campaign. And they should question their congressman&#8217;s priorities, given his unwavering support of payday lenders &#8212; not to mention his very close &#8220;I love you and believe in you&#8221; bromance with convicted Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="ArticleSocialTools"><span class="ArticleSocialToolsIcons_print" id="top" onclick="window.print(); return false;" st_processed="no" style="float:left"></span><span class="st_email" st_title="" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left"></span><span style="padding:5px 0px 17px 5px; border-left:1px solid #CCCCCC;"></span><span class="st_facebook_hcount" st_title="" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left;"></span><span class="st_twitter_hcount" st_title="" st_via="dallasnews" id="top" displayText="" style="float:left;"></span><span class="st_plusone_hcount" st_title="" id="top" displayText=""

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</div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> This entry was posted in <a href=" robberson/" title="View all posts in Tod Robberson" rel="category tag">Tod Robberson</a> by <a href=" rson/">Tod Robberson / Editorial Writer</a>. Bookmark the <a href="" title="Permalink to Pete Sessions and Dallas&#8217; explosion of payday lenders" rel="bookmark">permalink</a>. </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </article><!-- #post-20391 -->

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