For Anaiah,* everything seemed to cave in following the death of several close family members. Emotionally drained, she struggled to keep up with bills and other family obligations. On top of all that, her poor credit score made accessing affordable financing options difficult.
In a moment of heightened vulnerability, she turned to a payday lender. When thinking of herself and other payday loan borrowers, she reflects on how “It’s not like we’re bad people. We just don’t have anybody that can help us. So we turn to bad places…”
Anaiah was told by these lenders, “Oh, you’ll pay it off really fast… don’t worry about it.” Yet, she found herself paying twice what she borrowed and still owing more.
While she spent months caught in the payday loan debt trap, she realized that these products aren’t designed to help people. “If you really care about people, why would you want them to suffer even more? You don’t hurt people you are trying to help!” It became clear to Anaiah that there was nothing positive about lenders who focused on making big profits off of people who don’t have anything.
Feeling frustrated with her payday loan experience, she turned to God for guidance.
Seeing that Exodus Lending existed to help Minnesotans like her escape this immoral cycle was like an answered prayer. As a deeply religious person, Anaiah felt connected right away to our faith-based origins and human-centered values. “I think whoever came up with [Exodus Lending] has a heart… It’s a powerful name if you’re spiritual.”
Thanks to our interest-free refinancing program, Anaiah got through the storm. After working with Anna Li, our program coordinator, she now feels confident and relieved. “[Anna] listened, helped me through it, gave me some incentive that I was able to be rewarded” and “encouraged to stick with it.” She’s growing personally and feels grateful for our program because it is understandable and supportive.
Exodus Lending helped Anaiah look at things differently. Anaiah is free from payday loan debt and is now focusing on tackling her other debts. Although she regrets her payday loans, she feels empowered to tell people to avoid them or to refer them to our program if they need help like she once did. “I see now what I didn’t see before… if you don’t experience and learn from it, it serves no purpose.”
*Name has been changed for confidentiality